A Christian Writes

A Christian commenter writes –

…there is only one issue of primary importantance. That is is Jesus the Son of Man and the Son of God and my/your Savior. If so, every other issue pales.

Neil, you and many other atheists seem to think Christianity is broken up into a multitude of pieces that do not agree and do not get along because of disagreements on doctrine and practice. That is actually untrue. When it gets right down to it, only the one issue is important. And that means there are billions of Christians in fellowship. That is the church.

If you missed that in your time as a Christian, I wonder if you really were or whether you were merely religious. Now, among the religious there are significant differences and divisions. Religious Roman Catholics disagree with religious Baptists, and Pentecostals with Greek Orthodox and so on. But that is religion. Christians in all those denominations agree and can have wonderful fellowship when it is about Jesus.

And I respond –

This is nothing more than the No True Scotsman fallacy: ‘those who don’t practise Christianity in the way I (or my sect/church) approves of are not true Christians; they’re merely ‘religious’.’ Having thus discounted those who ‘disprove’ the rule, the rule now gives every impression of working. Brilliant!

You assert that ‘only one issue is important… is Jesus… my/your Savior?’ No, he’s not. He’s nobody’s. Just because Paul and those who came after him decided he was doesn’t mean he is. He’s long gone. Dead. Even so, he doesn’t claim in the synoptic gospels that he came to be anyone’s personal Savior. For synoptic Jesus the only thing of ‘importantance’ was working towards the Kingdom of God on Earth. ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and his righteousness, and all these other things shall be added unto you.’ For some in the early church, the ‘only issue of importance’ was obeying Jesus’ commands, including, presumably, seeking first the Kingdom on Earth (1 John 2:3-6).

The evidence shows, however, that Christians have never managed to do this (not even after discounting those they disagree with). Just look at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. The church has been an unholy mess since the very beginning. It continues to be to this day: take a look at Christian Research Network, which denounces fellow Jesus-lovers on a daily basis.

You delude yourself if you think the ‘true’ church, then as now, is in complete harmony, enjoying blissful love-ins with Jesus while everything else, differences in doctrine and practice included, conveniently fade away. But then, you’ve already bought into one of the most perfidious delusions ever foisted on human beings so I don’t suppose another one matters all that much.

 

132 thoughts on “A Christian Writes

  1. The “Christian” writes … But that is religion. And of all the things h/she wrote, those words totally sum things up. Religion. The bane of today’s world.

    Further, the purest –and ONLY– goal that Yeshua (the JEW) hoped to achieve: was the establishment of the Kingdom of God on EARTH.

    Since FEW Christians ever read their bible, let alone the Old Testament, and instead rely on their church leaders for the “truth,” they are totally unaware that Paul “reworked” Yeshua’s TRUE goals to satisfy the Gentiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know if Neil will allow my last reply to him, but he and you both have it wrong. The kingdom of God was Jesus’ message. Yes. But it was received not imposed. It is received by our turning to God and receiving the reconciliation he provided in Jesus. That has always been true and is illustrated in the proto-gospel of Genesis 3.

      The mission Jesus gave his disciples was to preach the kingdom and to make disciples. That is what Paul and the other Apostles were doing.

      There is no question that religion has been a bane. Jesus would agree entirely. Religion has always replaced God with something else.

      Like

    • I have read the Old Testament, and it is clear that the kingdom of God is larger than the Jewish nation. See Psalm 72.
      “May his name endure forever;
      may it continue as long as the sun”.
      Then all nations will be blessed through him,
      and they will call him blessed.

      […]
      Praise be to his glorious name forever;
      may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
      Amen and Amen. (verses 17, 19)

      Sounds to me like this includes the Gentiles.

      In Isaiah 66:

      18 “And I, because of what they have planned and done, am about to come and gather the people of all nations and languages, and they will come and see my glory.”

      The “they” are the Jews who turned away from Giod to idols. The people of all nations and languages are gentiles. They will come and see God’s glory while the Jews who rebelled will “meet their end together with the ones they follow.” They willl not see God’s glory.

      As I read Paul, he did not rework anything. Her developed the promise God made to the nations in the Old Testament.

      Like

      • Either way, none of this Jewish wishful thinking ever happened. If you’re going to claim that the presence of Christians in the world means it is, as a result, full of God’s glory, you really are deluded, Don.

        Like

  2. Neil, you are doom scrolling when it come to Christians. You see all the warts and none of the beauty. There are two facts. 1) THERE ARE WARTS. The Corinthian church was a good example. Yet even the Corinthian church was at its core founded and living on the truth that Jesus is Lord. 2) THERE IS BEAUTY. The Thessalonian church was a good example. They loved each other and it showed.

    The kingdom of God was Jesus’ message. Yes. But that was and is living in harmony with God and his purposes. One can do that only when the enmity toward God is resolved by our acknowledging that we are the problem. It is resolved by our repentance and healed by God’s mercy and forgiveness. (This is beautifully pictured in Genesis 3.) When we are reconciled to God, the kingdom rule of God can begin to be wonderfully experienced in our lives. And the goodness of his rule overflows in our lives and in the world.

    If you read Genesis 3 that happens when we are covered by the sacrifice, which we come to see in the NT is the sacrifice of Jesus. Whose name BTW is Yeshua, Savior. Yes, in the synoptics as well.

    The great fear that I sense in you and others is that God or Christians will impose the kingdom of God on those who reuse it. That is simply not true. Religion may do that, but not God. The kingdom of God is received, not imposed. But there is no doubt that in the end – as in Revelation – that God will eventually deal with all who refuse him and his rule by judgment. In the present we Christians are to invite not to rule.

    Like

    • ‘When we are reconciled to God, the kingdom rule of God can begin to be wonderfully experienced in our lives. And the goodness of his rule overflows in our lives and in the world.’

      Really? This is a distorted reinterpretation of what both Jesus and Paul taught and meant by the Kingdom of God coming to the Earth. Where is the general resurrection they thought would precede the kingdom’s arrival? Where the Son of Man coming though the clouds? Where the rising up through the air? The judgment? The reversal of the social order? Jesus (or his scriptwriters) and Paul were sure these things were going to happen very soon and the world, not just a few individuals, would be completely transformed.

      What a problem this created for later Christians! In the absence of any of these events happening, they had to alter the message radically, reshaping it as the ‘it’s all in the mind, wonderful experience’ of which you speak.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was speaking of the present time before the second coming and the establishment of the eternal kingdom. You know, don’t you, that Jesus spoke of the kingdom as present in those who belong to the kingdom and also coming.

        Like

      • The present time isn’t before the second coming. The Bible doesn’t even talk about a ‘second coming’ but of the arrival of the Son of Man, and that 2,000 years ago. Your religion is well past its sell-by date.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Matthew 24:3 “Tell us,”they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

        “Coming” there is parousia which means coming and presence as king.
        3952 parousía (from parōn, “be present, arrive to enter into a situation”) – properly, coming, especially the arrival of the owner who alone can deal with a situation (cf. LS). 3952 (parousía) is a “technical term with reference to the visit of a king or some other official, ‘a royal visit’ ” (Souter) – “hence, in the NT, specifically of the Advent or Parousia of Christ” (A-S).

        Ther study of prophecy in the Old and New Testaments reveals that fulfillment is often spread out over a period time. There are two (at least) elements to the coming of the Messiah. One is as the suffering servant – Isaiah 52-53. The other is as the ultimate son of David – described in Psalm 72 and originating in the prophecy of Nathan to David about his son. 1 Chronicles 17:14 ” I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.’”

        The prophecy was immediately related to Solomon, but in verse 14 points to a greater fulfillment. It is this prophecy that the Jews of Jesus day expected to be fulfilled by the Anointed One, Messiah, at his coming. (You are making that assumption as well.) It was not, but Isaiah 53 was. That leaves the second part to the future.

        BTW the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 is also spread out over time. There is the first defeat of Satan the serpent at the cross of Jesus. (This is the climax of the story plot from which the direction of the plot tuns.) There is the final resolution of the remaining conflicts in Revelation 19. (This is the denouement where all remaining conflicts are resolved, including judgment in chapter 20. From that point the story moves on to the end, which is actually a new beginning in Revelation 21, 22.

        Like

      • “Second coming” is simply a way of acknowledging that Jesus was present (first coming) even when he spoke these words in Matthew 24.

        The disciples were expecting the Psalm 72 king and were asking when Jesus would assume the throne, and it seemed to them he had the opportunity. The background of Matthew 24 was that the people of Jerusalem were willing to receive him as king. So. “when” was their question.

        The disciples did not realize yet that Jesus was present to be the Isaiah 53 Servant before he would become the Psalm 72 king, but that required his death when “the Lord [would lay] on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) So, in a sense you are right. The “second coming” is not mentioned because there is only one presence (coming) though in two parts, Servant first then king.

        Like

      • Just twist it this way and if that doesn’t work, twist it that way instead. And again this other way, and maybe stretch it a different way again. Surely, with all this twisting and bending and stretching it can be made to fit. If not, we can always take a hammer to it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I have no fear of God imposing anything, Don. He was, it’s true, going to impose his kingdom 2,000 years ago but then he didn’t for some reason. Oh yes, that’s it: he doesn’t exist.

      Here’s an old post about how Christians have attempted to reinterpret Jesus’ central message, that the Kingdom was just around the corner:
      https://rejectingjesus.com/2020/06/04/the-many-and-varied-spirit-inspired-interpretations-of-the-kingdom-of-god/

      Liked by 1 person

      • You might consider that the kingdom of God, represented by followers of Jesus both gentile and Jew who own Jesus as king, is the largest kingdom on earth and is represented in every nation on earth, including in some of the least likely such as China where Christians outnumber those who are members of the Communist party. If numbers count for anything, that is impressive.

        That may well be the unspoken background of the coming conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the world. Why would the kingdom of Satan be worried otherwise? WHY ARE YOU WORRIED OTHERWISE?

        Like

      • I’M NOT WORRIED about any aspect of your fantasy, Don. There is no looming conflict between the forces of God and the forces of Satan. We’re not living in the final series of Game of Thrones.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don sez: “The kingdom of God is received, not imposed. But there is no doubt that in the end – as in Revelation – that God will eventually deal with all who refuse him and his rule by judgment. In the present we Christians are to invite not to rule.”

      Welcome to the neighborhood! This is a good town and a good neighborhood. Your new neighbors are all salt of the Earth types. You couldn’t ask for better. And don’t you worry about Jeb there at the end of the street. He ain’t tortured anyone to death in months. And he’s not going to torture anyone to death for the present. He won’t do that ’til his judgement comes – and it’s coming in minute now. But not yet. Not for the present. You’ll be okay as long as you just do whatever Jeb says.

      Like

      • Salvation i8s about being reconciled to God

        The break in our relationship with God is because of our choosing to live life apart from him and because of the destruction that happens because we have chosen to do life on our own. The destruction we cause is to ourselves, others, and the world. Much of it is obvious to all. Just look.

        Because we are God’s creation as well as is the world, we are accountable to him for the destruction we cause.

        But God loves us and makes a way for us to be reconciled to him and to live by his help and wisdom in a non-destructive fashion, doing good rather than harm. He calls all to be reconciled. But he allows for free will. We may choose to refuse reconciliation and continue in our destructive ways. That is the neighborhood. It isn’t quite as good as you have painted it. Nor is any neighborhood anywhere on earth. Just listen to the nightly news.

        If we refuse to be reconciled to God and to continue in our destructive ways, we will be called to account. That is judgment. It is just and appropriate to the destruction we have caused. We will also be given what we chose; we will have God out of our lives. That may sound great if you think God is a meany. When you realize that all good comes from him and apart from him there is no good, things may look different. Choosing to reject God’s wise and kind rule is to choose anarchy and chaos.

        You complain because God is just. But where there is no justice there is only chaos. Anarchy sounds good in theory, but living it is not so great. The fact is justice is the one thing that provides stability and hope. Justice, by the way, is satisfied by God forgiveness and mercy in Jesus his Son. If we would accept it.

        Like

      • Don says: ‘You should study the Bible a bit more and come to the same conclusions as me. After all, they’re all I’ve got to counter your very reasonable points. Also, I’m going to split hairs about the word ‘appeasement’. I prefer to call it ‘reconciliation’. I’m well aware this amounts to the same thing, but I much prefer Christian-speak because it lets me bring in not-so-subtle threats of judgment and also allows me to proselytise a little lot.

        Also, you really should study the Bible more so that you can reach the same conclusions as me. Did I say that already?’

        Liked by 1 person

  3. If only Jesus was the only thing that mattered. We’d see a very different world than what we see.

    We’re actually in strange period in Christian history with a relatively low level of sectarian violence and hatred, at least in industrialized nations. They’ve seem to have set aside many of their difference to fight the common enemy of secularism. I certainly don’t expect that this peace will last, especially as Christian nationalism rises in the US. Wherever there is power, and where one sect has more than some other sect, there will be violence and oppression. Jesus be damned because Jesus was never the most important thing to Christians. Working to make sure that their particular sect is privileged has always been the first priority of their earthly works.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Are you speaking as an insider, Herald? I do speak as an insider and as such I decry the christian nationalism you speak of. I think it is a cult. And to be honest, it scares me.

      But that is not the church I know. There are, of course, people of various political persuasions in the church I know. As there is in America. But no one has guns and no one is threatening to take over America by force. Nor are thy interested in imposing Christian values or rules on those who are not willing to accept them.

      Yes. We do see secularism as the enemy of not merely Christians but civil society. We believe that God’s design for individuals and for society is by far the best. But we realize that these values cannot be imposed; they must be received. So we hope and pray for more to receive the Lord’s rule in their lives.

      There will be no power play by the true church in the united States or elsewhere.

      i

      Like

  4. Thank God we didn’t fall for Don’s “I’m a real Christian” line. Cuz we now have a really truly real Christian here to save us!

    Jesus really needs to crack down on all the fake Christians out there. It’s getting difficult to tell them from the real ones.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Don sez: “By their works you shall know them.”

        deepity
        noun
        A superficial equivocation which only seems to be profound.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is a quote from Jesus. Matthew 7:17. It means that our lives will demonstrate whether we are a Christian or not. Do we look like Jesus? If we do in some measure (we are all works in process.) then we may be considered Christians.

        You know I hope that the word Christian was in fact a way of saying little Christs.

        Since much of the recent conversation has been about the Christian nationalist movement, I have a great deal of difficulty seeing Jesus doing that. He said his kingdom is not of this world, so why would he be involved in making it of the world? I certainly cannot see him taking up weapons of any kind and storming the US Capitol with a bunch of manic “patriots.” So, you guys may just as well chill out. Christians will not do that. Religionists may, but that is another thing.

        Like

      • Okay, Don. I have a few minutes so I’ll explain why your response was unsatisfying.

        I pointed out that all the Christians out there think they are the Real Christians™ and the other Christians aren’t.

        To which you replied: “By their works you shall know them.”

        Obviously, what you mean to say by this verse is that it is the works-based religions that are the True Christians™. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, and similar works-based religions are where the True Christ™ and the True Christians™ who follow him.

        I do wish that you’d have given us more direction than that. It’s a pretty wide spread. But if you’ve been a secret Mormon his whole time I can understand your wanting to keep it secret.

        Or, that’s not what you meant by quoting this verse at us?

        And therein lies the problem. This verse says absolutely nothing. It gives less than no information.

        You might as well’ve replied, “Christians who believe what I believe are the True Christians™.” It’s what you were trying to say and it would have been vastly more honest.

        Yes, Don. You think you’ve got Christianity right. Every Christian I’ve ever met thinks they go Christianity right. When I was a Christian I was sure I had the right one and other Christians got it wrong (poor saps).

        Once again, Don, you fail to even try to answer the question placed to you. (In this case it was implied: How can which Christian is teaching True Christianity™?)

        Is there any wonder we don’t/can’t take you seriously?

        Like

  5. Koseighty: “I pointed out that all the Christians out there think they are the Real Christians™ and the other Christians aren’t.”

    No surprise. There have been phonies from the beginning. Jesus warned his disciples to beware of them.

    Koseighty: “Obviously, what you mean to say by this verse is that it is the works-based religions that are the True Christian”

    Nope not saying that at all. But I am saying that true Christians will produce good works. My goodness, read Titus. Read Eph 2:8-10. Words do not save us, but they do indicate a change of heart that is the result of the Holy Spirit changing us to be like Jesus.

    Read the context of the verse in Matthew 7:15-20.

    Koseighty: “You might as well’ve replied, “Christians who believe what I believe are the True Christians”

    I don’t think so. Truly believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior means much much more than intellectual agreement with a doctrinal or theological statement. (I think that may be one of the more serious disconnects you all have with Christian faith.) It means believing to the point of surrendering our lives to the living Lord and by his power at work within us endeavoring to live as he lived.

    Koseighty: “When I was a Christian I was sure I had the right one and other Christians got it wrong (poor saps).”

    If that is what you thought, you had no idea what it actually mean to be a Christian. Sorry, but what you had was religion of some sectarian sort.

    Koseighty: ” you fail to even try to answer the question placed to you.”

    If you did not identify the quote and understand the context, I wonder if you were ever taught Christianity at all. Did you ever read the Bible as a Christian? How did you miss that passage? When I became a Christian as a teen, I bought a bible and began to read. Matthew is the first Gospel, so it was natural to start there. What did you do when you became a Christian? If you waited to be spoon fed by a teacher or pastor, it might take a lifetime to get what then Bible says.

    You could go back and start at the beginning and read for yourself.

    Like

    • Well done, Don. Once again you’ve proved my point all the while thinking you’ve somehow won all the Jesus points. You remain the king of self-delusion!

      I’ll repeat my point. In the verse you quote the word “works” is completely subjective. Every Christian is going to interpret the word to mean what they want it to mean. Just as you have done here.

      I’m not going to get into other Christian interpretations and who is right. First, because I don’t give a fuck. Second, because it’s for you Christians to fight it out among yourselves. It’s not my fight.

      I do want to point out, again, your ridiculously bad reading comprehension. You claim, “you did not identify the quote and understand the context.” In my reply I referred to “this verse,” “quoting this verse at us,” and “this verse says.” My recognition of the verse in question should have been obvious. You quoted it without quote marks or citation. Why should I be required to provide them when you did not? Oh, yes! You need us to be ignorant so you can make sense of educated Christians leaving the faith. You must maintain your false narrative at all costs. That’s what Christianity is all about.

      Have a blessed day. A self-deluded blessed day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Koseighty: “it’s for you Christians to fight it out among yourselves.”

        Actually, it is not. It is for us to take it to heart and make sure we are following Jesus.

        If you were seriously interested – as a Christian should be – you would take the time and use the study tools to determine just what Jesus meant. It is not a secret.

        I am not sure educated Christians leave the faith. A Christian educated in spiritual things has taken the time and made the effort to understand his/her faith. They may have a period of uncertainty, as I did and as some of my friends have had, but there are answers and perspective which if you take the time can be sorted out. I think leaving the faith is more about will than knowledge. But you don’t give a f____ so, why make the effort?

        Like

      • This is something that is often mentioned by believers … you would take the time and use the study tools to determine just what Jesus meant. And it puzzles me.

        If “God” is all that you and others claim “him” to be, why is it necessary to study/interpret/argue over what “he” supposedly wrote? Some have used the excuse that humans were the actual writers so there are bound to be mistakes/flaws/hiccups. Actually, I agree with that but that’s my point. If the ALL POWERFUL “God” can’t ensure that his secretaries write “his” words/desires/promises in such a way that they are CRYSTAL CLEAR, then it stands to reason that maybe, just maybe, it’s all a made-up story. After all, there are MANY such stories throughout the world. And why might this be so? Because from earliest times, humans have attempted to use “religion” to control others.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nan: “If “God” is all that you and others claim “him” to be, why is it necessary to study/interpret/argue over what “he” supposedly wrote? ”

        That is a fair question, but it is too broad to answer in a short reply. One explanation is found in 1 Corinthians 2. I’ll quote a small piece, but the entire chapter is significant.

        12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

        Paul says that he (and others who wrote what God impressed upon them) spoke/wrote words that revealed God’s wisdom. He contrasts that with human wisdom.

        Human wisdom focuses on facts and interprets them according to the normal methods used in history or philosophy or science. But the “person with the Spirit” interprets them by the Spirit. That means human wisdom is entirely insufficient.

        So, I must dumb down the wisdom of God for you all and express it in in the terms of human wisdom. It doesn’t make sense to you, I know, but I keep trying.

        I must say, as well, that not all Christians read according to the Spirit but read as you do according to human wisdom, as the first verse in chapter 3 indicates. They, too, try to make sense out of God’s message and often mess it up. They read as if God’s message is a list of rules rather than a message addressed to the heart. It does not work as a list of rules. (That is the problem addressed in 1 Corinthians.) But it is possible to read and understand by the Spirit of God.

        Like

      • Oh … Give. Me. A. Break. Don! This is all *crap*. I would say more, but it’s apparent your reasoning powers are too embedded with indoctrination.

        I do try to stay “civil” in my discussions with believers, but when they write stuff like you just did … well, what can I say?

        Liked by 1 person

      • How condescending of you, Don. Thank you so much for dumbing down your infinitely superior wisdom, provided you by your resident friendly ghost.

        You’re right about one thing: none of what you say makes sense, though not for the barmy, self-serving reasons you suggest.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m just wondering, Don. Does this ever work? Have you ever once taught a Sunday school lesson really hard at an online atheist and had that atheist say, “Gee I didn’t know that! Sign me up as a Christian!”?

        Everyone here knows the Bible. Everyone here has heard the Sunday school lessons. Hell, some of us have taught those lessons for years. Do you really think all we need is the Great Don Camp to come and teach them at us really hard to turn us to Christ?

        Liked by 1 person

    • No. Biblically literate means actually knowing what the Bible says.

      There was a time when we in the West knew the Bible. In fact, the Bible was so interwoven with the literature of our culture that one could not be considered literate if they could not pick up on the allusions. You cannot read Shakespeare if you do not know the Bible. You cannot read American literature of the 1800s without knowing the Bible. But no more. We have forgotten our heritage.

      I suppose we have you to thank for that.

      Like

      • Don sez: “Biblically literate means actually knowing what the Bible says.”

        You are equivocating with the word “says,” Don. You bounce deftly between what the words in the text are and your interpretation of them.

        I’ve been reading your comments for years. And the words in the Bible are literal when you want them to be literal. They are allegorical when you want them to be allegorical. And your interpretation of at least the exodus story is beyond interpretation and enters the realm of fan fiction.

        So, again, I don’t give a flying fuck what your book says until you can provide a repeatable, reliable, consistent method for testing supernatural claims. Until then, your book of fairy tales is just a book of fairy tales that only occasionally has something interesting to say.

        Step up, Don. Show us how to discover this magical world you imagine you live in.

        Like

      • Koseighty: You are equivocating with the word “says,” Don. You bounce deftly between what the words in the text are and your interpretation of them.

        I refer you to my recent reply to Nan.

        Like

      • Don sez: “There was a time when we in the West knew the Bible.”

        Yes, Don. There was a time when the church ran all the schools and could and would burn you alive for heresy. Such an exciting time of group think and complete indoctrination. We may get those wonderful, god-filled days back if the dominionists have their way. Wouldn’t that be nice?

        Like

      • I will stand with you and with most Christians in opposition to Dominionists. Burning heretics has never been the character true Christianity.

        Like

      • Don sez: “Burning heretics has never been the character true Christianity.”

        Have you read the book, Don? God’s one and only reaction to people who don’t worship him in the right way is to kill them. Maybe by flood, maybe by sending marauding Hebrews at them. His final solution to life, the universe and everything is to throw everybody who didn’t worship him in the right way into an eternal fire.

        Sorry, Don. Burning heretics is the most god-like thing ever.

        Liked by 1 person

      • But only God has that right. (Dare I quote without quotes?) From dust you are and to dust you will return.

        We do not have that right.

        If you are angry at God about justice, think what the world would be like without justice.

        Like

      • Don sez (concerning the burning of heretics): “But only God has that right. (Dare I quote without quotes?) From dust you are and to dust you will return.”

        Your dusty old verse doesn’t say people don’t have the right to kill heretics. In fact, God commands the Hebrews to slaughter people with other gods ALL THE TIME.

        Seems someone or some organization could be moved on by the Holy Casper to burn heretics. It would probably count as one of those “works” that prove they are Real Christians™.

        Like

      • Don sez: “If you are angry at God . . . ”

        Again you fail to grasp the very basic feature of atheism. I don’t believe God is a thing. I can’t be angry and something that doesn’t exist.

        I am often angry at those who claim to follow this god who then try to force others to do so as well.

        And, of course, as an outsider I can see that the God character in the book is the villain of the story. Evil to the core.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don sez: “If you are angry at God about justice, think what the world would be like without justice.”

        There is no justice in the God character anywhere in the Bible.

        He punishes all of humanity for something a couple of ignorant humans did thousands of years ago. Unjust and immoral.

        He uses disease, famine, drought, and war to punish people that he never appears to to give direction and council. Unjust and immoral.

        He issues eternal punishment for finite crimes. Unjust and immoral.

        EVERYTHING God does in the book, or promises to do in the future is unjust and immoral.

        Western civilization and the world would be infinitely better off if it had never encountered the vile, evil god of the Bible.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Koseighty: “He punishes all of humanity for something a couple of ignorant humans did thousands of years ago. Unjust and immoral.”

        You’re kidding, right. That is the old and worn-out excuse a famous comedian of the 60s used “The Devilade me do it.” He meant it in jest, by the way. We are not punished by God for what our ancestors did. Period. We are accountable for what we do right now.

        Koseighty: “He issues eternal punishment for finite crimes. Unjust and immoral.”

        Sorry, wrong again. He issues punishment that fits the crime. We will be judged on our works. (Look it up.) Hell is eternal because we have chosen to reject God and his offer of forgiveness. We get what we choose. And even that is just since God has given us the freedom to make that choice and the opportunity to choose otherwise.

        Koseighty: “He uses disease, famine, drought, and war to punish people that he never appears to to give direction and council. Unjust and immoral.”

        The direction and council has been there from the beginning. But most of the disease, famine, etc. is not punishment. It is life. The rain falls equally on the just as on the unjust. (look it up.)

        There are times he does punish sin with calamity, but it is most often not to destroy us. It is to move us to repentance. BTW God was just as strongly just with his people Israel as with any others. In fact, they may well have suffered more than others, but then they were more accountable.

        There are also times when God ordered Israel to punish those who had been adamantly and violently opposed to them and to God. That was just. He did this to protect his people and the nation that was Israel. I don’t believe that happens today because the people of God are not represented in a earthly kingdom. We have no nation or land to defend.

        God is also kind beyond what we deserve and should expect. That too is purposed to draw us to him. (You could look up that statement in Romans 2.)

        Use google with these phrases. It will take you to the passages.

        Like

      • I am not kidding.

        You don’t believe any of this. You don’t believe in Adam and Eve, even as an allegory that has any grounding in reality. You don’t believe in a Paradice that was lost. You don’t believe in the theology that developed from that story (I am speaking of Paul’s in Romans 5.) So, this is pretty much arguing for the sake of arguing. Still, you would like to blame God for it all. Or so it seems to me.

        What is the point of that?

        And you do this while ignoring the theological statements that make sense (make logically and theologically cohesive) the story (which you don’t believe) and write your own theology (about a God you don’t think exists). That is pretty much arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It is pointless.

        Nevertheless, those statements are pretty plain.

        “6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[ (Romans 2:6)

        “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

        “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;” 1 Peter 1:17

        “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” (Rev. 20:12)

        God holds us accountable for what WE do, not for what someone else did. And that is what makes the story cohesive. You cannot get to the end in Revelation 20:12 where all are judged according to THEIR works if all are really judged according to Adam’s works.

        Like

      • Don writes … We are not punished by God for what our ancestors did. So if this were true, where did “sin” come from? Wait! Let me answer that! It came because a couple of individuals disobeyed their creator when “he” said … “Thou shalt not.”

        Even your Leader Paul agrees: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12 KJV)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don also sent another very long comment, a response to Nan, on free will and death as punishment/not punishment (or something). I’m not inclined to post it as it’s long-winded, condescending and preachy but I’ll do so if Nan wants a chance to reply.

        Like

      • Don axed: “What do you do with the passages I quoted saying that we are judged on the basis of our works?”

        One of your most “endearing” traits, Don, — and I think I speak for every online atheist you’ve ever interacted with — is your complete inability to ever learn anything about the people you speak with. We can explain, at length, multiple times, and every time you will return to putting us in your predetermined pigeonholes.

        So, again, I will explain what I do with everything you say and every verse you quote. I think, “Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” I’m still waiting for someone, anyone, to provide an objective way to test supernatural claims. Until then, I hold your opinions on scripture equal to Paul, Joseph Smith, and the lunatic yelling at people in the subway.

        Like

      • Speaking of Joseph Smith. I don’t think he gets fair credit as a theologian. He took many disparate views of Christianity and wove them together into a coherent whole. He also “restored” many doctrines found only in a single obscure Bible verse.

        Joe’s Christianity has salvation by grace and by works as well as universal salvation.

        Judaism had one heaven and no hell. Christianity one heaven, one hell, and some had purgatory. And yet Paul took a day trip to the third heaven. What’s up with that?

        Joe took that and created a three-level heaven. The top and best heaven is for people who accept Christ AND perform all the rites, ordinances, and rituals of Mormonism. This is where God (Elohim), Jesus (Jehovah), and the Holy Spirit (Holy Casper) live.

        The mid-level heaven is for the good people of the world, regardless of religion. God and Jesus don’t ever come here, but the Holy Spirit visits and is felt here.

        The lower-level heaven is for unrepentant sinners. After some time in hell, they all end up in this heaven. Smith said that if we could see this worst of all heavens we’d all kill ourselves to get there. God and Jesus don’t ever come here, but the Holy Spirit visits and is felt here.

        For Smith grace makes universal salvation possible in one of three heavens. Repentance and good works combined with grace make the mid-level heaven possible. And Mormon works – the rites of Mormonism – combined with grace make the top and bestest heaven available to Mormons.

        He also has election where some, but very few, are pre-elected by God for the bestest heaven. These are generally the prophets throughout history — Adam, Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist and, of course, Joseph Smith.

        He recognized that the Trinity was not biblical and made God, Jesus, and Casper three distinct gods.

        He read an obscure verse in Deuteronomy and made Jehovah (Jesus) and Satan both sons of God and thus brothers.

        He read an obscure verse by Paul and instituted baptism for the dead.

        And on and on.

        Joe was a brilliant theologian and charismatic speaker who’s not recognized by the world at large just because he also happened to be a skirt chaser and a conman.

        I think Paul was a similar character. A theologian, charismatic, and a conman. But I think he chased trouser rather than skirt. But there’s no way to know.

        Like

      • What’s fascinating is all the effort that Christians have to put forth to “explain” their religion. If “God” were all that believers say “he” is, surely all of his creations would be of one mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I do know why you’d say Paul’s make-believe is not the same as Joe Smith’s. Because you give anything and everything in the Bible a free pass, while failing to recognise it is no different from other ‘revelations’ either before or since; all of them are of (crank/ignorant/deceitful/deluded – take you pick) human origin.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nope. It is because of the principle of multiple witnesses.

        If all we had was Paul, we might, and we probably should dismiss him as a crank. Even if what he wrote was true, there is no confirmation of its truth. But we don’t; we have a whole bunch of witnesses stretching back to very close to what I’d call the beginning of human history. We have 66 books in the Bible of which Paul wrote only 13. And most important, the testimonies of all 66 agree.

        Smith had one witness.

        BTW we can say the same of Muhamed.

        Like

      • You’re self-deluded, Don. The Bible is none of the things you say (see https://rejectingjesus.com/2017/04/11/ken-hams-five-evidences-that-the-bible-is-true/). There aren’t ‘a whole bunch of witnesses’ (any more than there are for Joe Smith’s fantasy); Paul certainly isn’t a witness to anything that might have happened in the real world. Nor do the 66 books ‘agree’ with each other. I’m not going to reiterate why they don’t; read the older post. Not that you’ll concede any of its points when you’ve convinced yourself, contrary to the evidence, that the Bible is ‘special’.

        Liked by 2 people

      • You are missing my point. But perhaps that is my fault. I am not talking so much about people as about ideas and about unity. God, for example, is the same throughout all 66 books. He is the Creator of all things. He is good. He is forgiving. He is just. And so on without variance. Man is the same throughout all 66 books. He is a sinner. He is special in that he bears the image of God. He is redeemable. He is a free moral agent. And so on, without variance. And there are many more constants.

        Just as a comparison, God is not the same throughout the two books Mormons claim is scripture, the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Jesus is not the same in those two books either. (The Jesus of the BoM is more like the Gnostic gospels.) That would be enough to conclude that whoever wrote the BoM was not tracking with the former book, which he did claim was scripture. But more importantly, it would be sufficient to conclude that the BoM is not inspired scripture…

        Like

      • I’ve edited your very long comment, Don.

        I didn’t miss your point. God is not the same throughout the 66 books. Most are about a God, I’ll grant you, but any book that is an anthology on one subject is going to be… about that subject. In the Bible, God’s personality, purposes and manifestations change from book to book. Compare the anthropomorphic God of Genesis I to the vindictive, vicious YHWH to Jesus’ loving ‘Father’. These are very different fictional characters (and there are still others.) That’s not all that changes: conceptions of the after-life, the means of salvation and the covenants (‘testaments’) with God vary significantly. Even Jesus changes, between the gospels (especially between the synoptic gospels and John) and again between those and Revelation.

        You mistakenly assume I and Koiseighty are promoting the book of Mormon. We are not. We are making comparisons between it and the Bible. They are more similar than you’re prepared to admit.

        You impose the consistency on the Bible it doesn’t really have (largely by cherry picking). You generate the warm and fuzzy feelings you credit to the Holy Spirit. You make the ideas of an ancient discredited cult make more sense than they actually do. Why can’t you see this?

        Liked by 2 people

      • I will, of course, disagree. But there are too many to respond to, so let me focus on the means of salvation. In Genesis 3 salvation is pictured in eating from the tree of life. That assumes forgiveness,, which is pictured in the clothing of Adam and Eve in the skins of animals (a sacrifice) but forgiveness is not equal salvation. Salvation is dependent upon looking to God and his provision of Life pictured in the tree of life.

        That is true throughout the Bible. Sacrifice and forgiveness are necessary, but they do not equal salvation. Salvation requires owning the sacrifice and faith in the God’s mercy.

        In the New Testament it is the same. Salvation is made possible by forgiveness and a sacrifice but that is not fully what salvation is. It requires looking to God in faith, which is exactly what Paul says. So, salvation in both the first and the last description is the same. It is by God’s mercy and faith in his mercy pictured and provided for by forgiveness and a sacrifice that covers guilt. That is consistent throughout, though at times oner or another of the components is featured.

        Like

      • Of course sacrifice and forgiveness are running themes throughout the Bible, just as they are in most other ancient religions (See https://www.britannica.com/topic/sacrifice-religion/Sacrifice-in-the-religions-of-the-world)
        The belief that the gods needed to be appeased (to bring about growth and prosperity, a bountiful harvest, victory over one’s enemies, etc) is a prominent feature of most pre-scientific thinking. Far from making the Bible ‘special’, its emphasis on appeasement, sacrifice and forgiveness merely situate it with the other religions of the period, all of which, I’m sure you’ll agree, are nothing more than the products of a primitive and all too human mindset.

        Liked by 2 people

      • You probably should look closer at the place of sacrifice in ancient religions and in Israel.

        Nowhere in the Bible is sacrifice appeasement. Here’s a definition of appeasement: pacify or placate (someone) by acceding to their demands.

        In the Bible, sacrifice is the covering over of our sin BY GOD and by a sacrifice he provides. (See Genesis 3) And it is symbolic of transferring of the guilt to another, as when the sinner placed his hand on the head of the animal sacrificed.

        Yes, there were offerings of another nature. There were thank offerings and grain offerings, for example. But those should not be confused with sin offerings.

        My point was not that the sacrifices in the Bible were different; it was that they are CONSISTENT in meaning through the Bible until the point of the sacrifice of Christ, of which they are prototypes.

        Like

      • Paul took Judaism and mangled it with Greek and Roman philosophy. Paul was taken up to the third heaven. That’s not a Hebrew idea. That’s Roman cosmology – 7 heavens, perfect circles, one above the other, above the Earth.

        Of course, the Jews had been incorporating Greek and Roman philosophy into their own since the Persian period. “The Word” was Greek philosophy brought into Judaism by at least Philo of Alexandrea and then brought into Christianity by “John.”

        And of course the Jews also borrowed ideas from Zoroastrianism – heaven and hell, and a super being nearly as powerful as God only evil.

        Religion isn’t revealed from on high. It evolves as people and cultures change and interact.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh! And end times, a final battle between the good god and the bad god after which the good would rule and reign and everything would be good after that. That’s a Zoroastrian idea brought into Christianity (maybe Judaism too, IDK).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don sez: “There was a time when we in the West knew the Bible.”

        When civilization was in its infancy, it spake as a child, it understood as a child, it thought as a child: but when it grew up, it put away childish things.

        See, we can still make biblical allusions! The Bible ain’t dead yet!

        Like

    • Koseighty: “Everyone here knows the Bible.”

      You didn’t. If you did. you would know where the quote came from. If you read the passage in 1 Corinthians 3 I referenced for Nan, you’ll note that one can be a Christian but not be living by the Spirit. I have no doubt that many teach Sunday school as “worldly” Christians. I did. I have no doubt that there are some who teach Sunday school who are not Christians in any sense except by church affiliation.

      Yes. I would like to turn you to Christ. But that is beyond my pay grade. It is the Holy Spirit who does that. But he can do so. There is a point of no return, however, beyond that, God ceases to speak and allows you to continue to harden your heart toward him. (If you need a reference, see Esau in Genesis.)

      Like

      • There comes a point where Don gives up and ceases to speak? Please, please, Don, tell us we’ve reached that point.

        Like

      • But … but … but … if he stops, we’ll have to go elsewhere to find such great entertainment. I mean, really! He’s (almost😛) one of a kind!

        Like

  6. My point, Neil, is that Paul was not the author of Christianity. God was. Paul was one man whose mission given him by God was to the gentiles. Others of the Apostles had missions to the Jews. Both Jews and gentiles are included in God’s family. To assume otherwise is to distort the Old Testament promises and the mission Jesus gave the Apostles to go and make disciples of all nations. (Matt. 28:19)

    In Isaiah 49:6 Isaiah says that it was God’s purpose for Israel to be a light to the gentiles.

    “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
    I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

    The Apostles, who were to a man Jews, took up that mission. BTW Paul was a Jew as well.

    I really think the Paul issue is a fake designed to simply give opportunity to complain.

    Like

  7. Again and again, Don brings up the “accepted” biblical response to whatever atheistic challenge is put before him. The thing that he –and others– are simply unable to accept is that those of us who challenge him simply don’t put any credence or value in scripture. So, any “evidence” presented is simply moot.

    Liked by 1 person

      • We long ago reached the point where we knew we did not ‘need’ the scriptures. You don’t get much more ‘personal’ than that, Don.

        Debating you gets us nowhere, whereas abstract reasoning has led us into a more truthful, honest way of living. You should try it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • And you mine. Abstract debate is like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Koseighty cannot prove he exists using the criteria he demands I use to prove God exists. The only way he can prove he exists is to show up on my doorstep. The same is true of God. Until he shows up on your doorstep, he is an idea to be discussed over a cold beer. And his reality will be forever undetermined. Just as Koseighty would be.

        But when God shows up, he is no longer abstract. And further proof is not needed. So with Koseighty. when he shows up, no more debate is necessary.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don sez: ”It is the scripture you and others need, . . .“

        Until you prove the reality of the supposed god behind the Christian scripture, the scripture is irrelevant. I don’t give a rat’s ass about Christian salvation until you prove the Christian god. You’ve got your cart before your ass.

        Like

    • Yes, Don, before quoting scripture at us please:

      1 – Prove your god actually exists
      2 – Prove your god actually inspired the scripture you are referring to
      3 – Prove the author of the scripture accurately relayed that inspired word of that god,
      4 – Prove the scripture you are referring to has come down to us unaltered, and
      5 – Prove the translation you are using conveys the meaning of the original unaltered.

      Until then, your scripture is just more bullshit committed to paper.

      So, start with number 1. Prove your god. Don’t argue for your god. An argument can only show we might have reason to suspect a god. We need real, objective, reliable, repeatable evidence of this god thingy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Here’s a little easier challenge. Prove to ME that you exist using those criteria. I am of the opinion that you are a chatbot.

        You see the difficulty. Now if you were standing before me, that would be different, wouldn’t it. All your criteria could easily be met. Maybe the same applies to God.

        Like

      • Oh no, Don, you don’t get to meet a challenge by turning it round and firing it back. It’s you who keeps bombarding us with God-twaddle (I’m not approving your latest essay/comment on the atonement as it is nothing more than proselytising) so the burden of proof rests with you. Do as Koseighty asks and prove, or at least demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt, that your God exists, inspired scripture etc.

        You can’t do it, can you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • My point in “turning it around” was to see if he could use the same criteria to prove he exists. I doubt he can. If not (we’ll see how he does) then the challenge he has often tossed at me and I assume others is meaningless and amounts to dodging the evidence that is there.

        Like

      • I have referred you to the evidence many times.

        I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the Mona Lisa. But if you have, would you accept the explanation for that painting being the fortuitous and improbable natural arrangement of simple elements?

        Probably not. You would expect there to be an artist. So too of yourself. Are you the fortuitous and improbable natural arrangement of simple elements? To think so is as crazy an idea as a Mona Lisa without an artist.

        Like

      • Don sez: “… if you’ve ever seen the Mona Lisa …”

        Don uses his personal ignorance and incredulity here to create a god of the gaps. Don doesn’t think it could happen, therefore a god (actually HIS god) had to do it.

        Of course, when it comes to paintings we’ve seen how they are done and know of no natural process (without a painter: human, elephant, chimp, etc.) that produces paintings.

        On the other hand, when it comes to natural processes we see them happen all the time without the need for a god.

        This is why arguments aren’t evidence. Don argues from his incredulity without ever showing a single god driving a single natural process.

        Like

      • Actually, your argument is from incredulity as well. You can’t believe the universe and the design we see could happen otherwise than by natural means, though you have no real evidence that it did come into being by natural means or could. That is the real issue, not that natural processes are not evident but that natural processes are incapable to creating a universe of design and complexity – unless those processes are under the control of a mind.

        Pretty much. from what scientists know, the universe and we ourselves are mostly nothing. Tiny particles with immense nothing between. We may discover even that is not accurate. We may discover that it is all energy. But at the moment, nothing is primarily what we are made of. The particles are organized and controlled by the fundamental forces. But where did those come from? My answer, because they act like something a mind controls being virtually perfectly balanced, they are more likely the creation of a mind than something that happened by chance.

        The same with the Mona Lisa. We see Mona Lisas being painted all the time BY ARTISTS. No one has ever seen one painted by chance actions of natural forces or elements, even though the Mosa Lisa is totally made up of natural elements.

        But let’s go back to your challenge. Prove to me you exist and are not a chatbot. Use the criteria you listed.

        Like

      • I am told, by people who assure me they know what they are talking about, the following concerning YahwehJesusGhost:

        1 – It is all-knowing.
        2 – It is all-powerful.
        3 – I must believe in it to be saved.
        4 – It wants me to be saved.
        5 – It wants to have a personal relationship with it.

        Yet, I’m closing in on 60 years on the planet and this god thingy has yet to make itself unambiguously known to me. It certainly hasn’t initiated any kind of relationship with me.

        P1 – The entity described above could make itself know to me, if it chose to do so.
        P2 – Being known is necessary to be believed in and to have a personal relationship.
        P3 – Said entity has not made itself unambiguously known to me (and countless others on the planet).

        C1 – Therefore, one or more of the claims by the YahwehJesusGhost proponents is false.
        C2 – YahwehJesusGhost does not exist as described.
        C3 – Proponents of YahwehJesusGhost are not reliable sources concerning the god thingy.

        The fact that no proponent of YahwehJesusGhost has provided any evidence whatever of said entity, let alone simply produced said entity itself in reality, further supports the above conclusions.

        YahwehJesusGhost needs a better PR team.

        Like

      • Don is trying to compare a REAL, TANGIBLE being with a disembodied spirit that is perceptible only to him (and other “believers”). Of course he KNOWS it’s REAL because … he can feel it in his heart.

        Oh … and that 2,000+ year old book also tells him so. And who could possibly doubt such an authentic source?

        Liked by 1 person

      • The 2000 year-old book is a record of the experiences of men. People continue to have those experiences of God. Ask someone who has. Find a real person so that you avoid the chatbots. 🙂 Seriously ask what their experience of God is. Listen before you argue.

        Like

      • ‘Listen before you argue.’ Just like you do, Don?
        As ever from you, it’s ‘do as I say, not as I do.’

        Like

      • The Mona Lisa definitely had a creator. I definitely had a creator. In my case it was my parents. Before them, my grandparents and before them, my great grandparents. Ultimately, of course, it was nature, through natural selection and the process of evolution. This wasn’t, as you imply, random but, in terms of creating specific individuals, such as you and me, was highly improbable. Yet here we are. Amazing yet mundane at the same time. No God required.

        Like

      • Don sez: “Here’s a little easier challenge. Prove to ME that you exist using those criteria.”

        To what end, Don? Your eternal salvation doesn’t rest on you believing in me. However, you claim my eternal salvation does rest on believing in a god for which I have seen no evidence.

        Doz sez: “I am of the opinion that you are a chatbot.

        Possible. I could be a human typing at you. Or a chatbot. Thing is we have billions of examples of humans existing and hundreds of thousands of examples of chatbots. But not a single example of a god. Not one.

        Don sez: “Now if you were standing before me, that would be different, wouldn’t it. All your criteria could easily be met. Maybe the same applies to God.”

        Well, Don. I seem to remember asking you several times to send Jesus round to my house so he and I could have a nice chat over dinner. Yet Jesus has never showed up. Not for taco night. Not for Sunday roast. Not for steaks on the grill. Not for mac and cheese. Not once has Jesus stopped by despite this standing invitation.

        Once again we see you have nothing, Don. All you do is dodge any request to provide actual evidence. I thought you wanted us to convert. You aren’t doing anything to effect that.

        Like

      • He doesn’t need to. Now, where’s your evidence God exists? Answer Koseighty’s questions instead of this constant evasion. I’ll post no more of your comments until you do.

        Like

      • I actually did, Neil – with the Mona Lisa analogy. And I have done much more at other times. But really, Neil, if this is a conversation, Koseighty has to enter in not just as a provocateur but a participant.

        Like

      • Okay, last time, Don. Your analogy didn’t really demonstrate the existence of your God any more than it demonstrated that of Allah or Erebus & Nyx or any other mythical god. It could equally have been an analogy for evolution, which is how we really did come about, as I demonstrated in my response to you.

        Koseighty is a participant in the discussion. He challenges your assertions, it’s true, but that is perfectly legitimate; if you’re going to make unsupported statements about your God and how he operates then it’s entirely reasonable for others to ask you how you know these things. You consistently fail, or refuse, to provide this evidence.

        Give answering Koseighty’s questions a go. It’ll benefit you if you can. If you can’t, then that will tell you something about the foundation of your beliefs.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Is God real?

        Koseighty’s “criteria” is foolish. It might work for determining the reality of a rock in your hand, but it is totally inadequate to determine the reality of a rock in the Rocky Mountains or of Koseighty himself at a distance. It is even less able to determine the reality of God, unless God is a plastic statue on your dashboard. Some other kind of evidence is necessary.

        1. W. V. Quine describes “confirmation holism:” we should expect there will be many intertwined pieces of evidence and theories for any larger proposition such as “God is real.” One piece is the fact that there is something rather than nothing.
        https://biblicalmusing.blogspot.com/2019/03/if-god-is-real-prove-it.html?view=timeslide

        2. The second piece is purpose in the universe. And purpose implies a Purposer.
        https://biblicalmusing.blogspot.com/2019/04/does-universe-have-purpose.html?view=timeslide

        3. But that leaves us with God, yes, but which God?

        For the twelve disciples and others who knew Jesus, he was the proof that God exists and
        the answer to the question to your question, Neil: which God?
        https://biblicalmusing.blogspot.com/2019/06/which-god-is-real-god.html?view=timeslide

        I don’t really expect you or Koseighty to read these blogs, but you asked so I am providing the answer.

        Now, Koseighty, prove me wrong by proving you exist by exclusively using the criteria you yourself listed.

        Like

      • Don, you know I read your blog occasionally. I’ve even commented, when it would allow me to (it won’t now).

        At least you’ve finally got round to attempting to demonstrate your God’s existence.

        ‘Something rather than nothing’ isn’t strong evidence, given it’s philosophical rather than empirical. Nor does it prove that a super-being created the something, because if it did then there wasn’t ever nothing, there was always something: https://rejectingjesus.com/2017/09/08/why-god-could-not-possibly-have-created-the-universe-pt-3/ However, it’s a start.

        ‘The universe has purpose’ we’ve discussed before (https://rejectingjesus.com/2022/05/25/christians-favourite-delusions-36-the-universe-is-fine-tuned-for-life/ Evidently it hasn’t, not unless you think creating black holes and giant gas clouds qualifies as ‘purpose’.

        As for Jesus being the proof God exists, I’ve written before about how he does just the opposite (https://rejectingjesus.com/2018/01/28/jesus-demonstrates-that-god-doesnt-exist/) so that one doesn’t wash either.

        You think koseighty’s criteria are foolish only because you’re unable to provide evidence for them, Don. In fact God should be easier to prove than a rock in the Grand Canyon, given he’s the ultimate being, omnipresent and whatnot. But no, he has to be argued for, by people who conjure him up only in their own imaginations. Strange that. https://rejectingjesus.com/2016/03/17/arguing-for-god/

        Liked by 1 person

      • In fact God should be easier to prove than a rock in the Grand Canyon, given he’s the ultimate being, omnipresent and whatnot.

        AMEN/AWOMEN!!! Yet still … after several thousands of years … the “proof” is still “floating in the wind.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • I* like that Nan. The proof is indeed floating in the wind – of the Holy Spirit. Final and sufficient proof is found in personal experience rather than in abstract logic.

        Like

      • Personal experience like this, maybe? “I was visited by extraterrestrial creatures last night! And I can tell you for sure and without a doubt … they were real as you and me!”

        Liked by 1 person

      • I always appreciate your replies, Neil. Sorry about my blog not accepting comments. It must be something new with blogger. It appears that one must be a member of blogger to comment.

        Re: Evidence. Actually, the vast majority of humanity over all our history found sufficient evidence for God to believe in him. He is easier to prove than a rock.

        My challenge to Koseighty was simply to push him to realize that his criteria is totally inadequate to prove anything but a rock in your hand. He cannot even use it to prove he exists if he is not right before me. And then the evidence is really personal experience not scientific proof.

        Re: giant gas clouds, et al. They do not contradict purpose any more than an appendix contradicts purpose in human anatomy. It turns out as we have investigated further the appendix had and has a purpose even though when we knew less it appeared to have no purpose.

        Re: Jesus. I read your blog and would comment on it but probably have already dealt with each of your points. One deserves restatement, however, because it illustrates the weaknesses of all: prayer.

        The condition for answered prayer is “in Jesus name.” That is more than a tag line to be added to a prayer. It is not a magic formula. My pastor friend reminds me that reading the Bible is a cross-cultural experience. And so in the culture of Jesus’ day, in the king’s name meant according to his wishes and with his authority. We Christians, and others, pray for a lot of things that are not in Jesus’ name even though we add the tag. God does not answer those prayers. He often does, however, change our praying if we listen to him to the place where we do pray according to Jesus’ name. Those prayer he answers.

        When moving a mountain is according to God’s purpose, that prayer will be answered. We should not expect it to be answered simply for our amusement. Meanwhile he answers many prayers including many for protection. Many people have enjoyed God’s protection from snakes and all manner of other dangers. Think synecdoche. Which brings me to the main observation.

        Knowing literature as you do and how people use literary tropes regularly in even ordinary conversation, you should be able to recognize Jesus’ use of literary tropes. Instead, you read them like a manual for putting together a baby buggy. Nothing Jesus said falls into the category of technical or scientific writing. Reading Jesus demands we read through the lens of highly literary and poetic language.

        Like

      • Of course the fact that ‘Jesus’ speaks in literary tropes tells us that the gospels are literary creations not accurate historical accounts. They tell us that Jesus’ speeches were invented by the authors of the gospels. They tell us we cannot know what Jesus really said when his words had to be created for him by those writing 40 to 70 years after he supposedly lived.

        You can see why some scholars now think he didn’t. If he was so marvellously wise and erudite, why did his script have to be (re)written for him, using literary tropes, decades after he ‘lived’?

        You open a can of worms here, Don, with your insistence that we shouldn’t take Jesus’ commands literally when they’re actually literary tropes expressed in poetic language – the kind we find only in stories. Are you sure you want to go down this route?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Neil: the fact that ‘Jesus’ speaks in literary tropes tells us that the gospels are literary creations not accurate historical accounts.

        Does it? Or maybe that Jesus was intentionally speaking in literary tropes when he was teaching.

        See the prophetic idiom and the ordinary idiom in the same passage in Matthew 13 where he spoke in parables to the crowds and in an ordinary idiom to his disciples. And that is only one of many examples of his speaking in an ordinary idiom. There are actually more than when he spoke in the prophetic idiom.

        Read through the OT prophets. In large part they too spoke in an idiom very heavy in literary tropes when they were speaking in their office as prophets.

        What it tells me is that Jesus knew what he was doing.

        Like

      • And as we’ve said before, who is arbiter of which idiom he’s using at any one time? You determine he’s speaking in metaphor and literary tropes when what he says is demanding of you. Of course we can’t have that.

        A character who goes around speaking in literary tropes is a literary creation. They are most emphatically not a real person.

        Like

      • Neil: Who decides which idiom Jesus is using?

        That is the same as asking if he is using figures of speech.

        Again, Neil, I would think that someone trained in literature would be able to do that without much difficulty. It is the fundamentalists who think literally who have the greatest difficulty. But maybe that is your Christian background.

        Here is what I taught my literature students: When a literal understanding of the phrase is obviously NOT what is meant because it is too extreme or too unreal-world, think about what might be meant if it is taken as hyperbole or personification or metaphor. or parable. et al. In other words, try it out as a figure of speech.

        At one point Jesus said if your eye offends you, pluck it out. But would that really solve the problem of our looking at something that will cause us to stumble in following of the Lord? No. That is really a problem of the heart (meant metaphorically). So, he probably meant it as hyperbole.

        When Jesus said “I am the bread of life.” Did he mean that by literally eating him we would live? (Some actually got that idea.) No, he meant it metaphorically. Eating him literally, is too extreme and too magical to be what Jesus meant. He meant that we should attend to him and to his teaching for in them is life.

        When Jesus told the young ruler to sell all he had and give to the poor and come and follow him, did he mean that literally or figuratively? Well, that is possible and practical, so he probably did. But it was spoken to one man who had a serious case of the love of money. That probably means that it isn’t a command for everyone, but it is a lesson to be taken seriously. And it is reinforced elsewhere when Jesus said that you cannot serve both God and money.

        When Jesus said that if you say to this mountain be removed and cast into the sea and have faith, it will be done. Is that a practical or even a necessary thing? No. So, he probably was using
        figurative language. What he meant was that there is nothing too hard for God and that when we need a hard thing done, ask and trust God.

        Why would Jesus use these figures of speech rather than speak plainly? He himself explained at the end of then Sower and the Seed parable in Matthew 13. It is both to conceal the truth in the parable from those who will not hear and take it to heart (a metaphor) even if he spoke plainly. AND to pique the curiosity of those who wish to know and do the truth, which in this case were the disciples. The point of the parable is to be the good ground

        As that works out in my life and yours, I read Jesus’ words and ask how I might apply these things to my life. And what do you ask?

        Like

      • Condescending, supercilious and sanctimonious. How I look forward to your comments. You choose the instances where Jesus is clearly using metaphor and avoid statements such as: go the extra mile, ask for anything (his word) and it will be given to you, give to all who ask and love your enemies. Are those metaphor? There’s nothing to suggest they are, yet still you Christians ignore them.

        When I read these statements, I ask, ‘why did this fraud say such things?’ and also, what excuses will Don make for him this time?

        Liked by 1 person

      • **Don:**
        ‘Koseighty’s “criteria” is foolish. It might work for determining the reality of a rock in your hand, but it is totally inadequate to determine the reality of a rock in the Rocky Mountains or of Koseighty himself at a distance.’

        You don’t visit reality often, do you Don?

        Our criteria for determining the reality of rocks is the same whether the rock is in your hand, in the road, in a field in the Rocky Mountains, in the Grand Canyon, in the asteroid belt, or even another solar system. The tools may be different but the criteria are the same.

        I’m beginning to think your affinity for the god thingy is a result of you misunderstanding reality so very badly.

        **Don:**
        ‘It is even less able to determine the reality of God, unless God is a plastic statue on your dashboard. Some other kind of evidence is necessary.’

        Yes, Don. This is why I leave it to the theist/apologist to come up with the evidence and the method used to evaluate it. All I ask is that it is at least as reliable as the tests we put reality to: repeatable, consistent, objective.

        As we’ve seen, the Holy Spirit is none of these things. And sadly, the Holy Spirit is the only thing I’ve ever seen offered that even attempts to answer the challenge.

        **Don:**
        ‘One piece is the fact that there is something rather than nothing.’

        This is stupid, Don. Truly, mind numbingly stupid.

        It’s not your fault. People have been repeating this nonsense since the ancient Greek philosophers. Sadly, a lot of Greek philosophy was based on Aristotelian physics. Which, while a good first try, turned out to be bullshit.

        Nothing is a topic in theoretical physics these days. And while not settled science, a consensus seems to be forming around the idea that nothing isn’t possible.

        So, “why is there something rather than nothing” is a nonsensical question. It presupposes nothing to be the natural state and something to somehow be unnatural. This presupposition is unfounded.

        **Don:**
        ‘The second piece is purpose in the universe. And purpose implies a Purposer.’

        You go from stupid to stupider in two easy steps.

        The universe has no apparent purpose. Our universe began as a very compressed speck of all the energy that ever was. As the universe expanded the energy cooled forming matter. Matter interacted forming the elements we know and love today. The whole existence of the universe is the constant expansion resulting in ever more cooling. Eventually, all energy will be converted to matter, all motion of matter will cease, and eventually all matter will be reduced to subatomic particles spread too far apart to ever interact.

        Everything that ever existed from the Big Bang to the Heat Death will be destroyed as if it never had been.

        Again, you have no evidence of a purpose to the universe. You presuppose a purpose to justify your presupposed “Purposer” – capitalized to emphasize it is your personal god-thingy.

        **Don:**
        ‘But that leaves us with God…’

        No, Don. It really doesn’t. You’ve presupposed all your conclusions. Made shitty “arguments” that circle back to your presupposition. You’ve not proven god/God. You’ve not even provided a reason to suspect one. You’ve just highlighted your ignorance. But I suspect that ignorance is your god, created in your image, after your likeness.

        **Don:**
        ‘For the twelve disciples and others who knew Jesus…’

        And it always comes back to your story book. The one you can’t prove is true.

        **Don:**
        ‘I don’t really expect you or Koseighty to read these blogs…’

        Don, I’ve tried. I really have tried reading some of your blog posts. But they all are just like this comment – they start from bullshit assumptions, add very bad logic, and circle round to your presupposed conclusions. They are boring, predictable, and irritating.

        **Don:**
        ‘Now, Koseighty, prove me wrong by proving you exist by exclusively using the criteria you yourself listed.’

        I’ve interacted with hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in my life. They’ve all accepted my reality the same way they accept the reality of all the other people they’d ever met. My existence doesn’t depend on some unique or unusual criteria. In fact, they are much the same criteria as the rock we talked about earlier.

        But, yet again, your response to what should be a simple ask is not to produce your god thingy, but to deflect, divert, and dissemble. Almost as if you know in your heart of hearts your god-thingy isn’t real.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Koseighty: This is why I leave it to the theist/apologist to come up with the evidence and the method used to evaluate it.

        But you didn’t.

        Koseighty: the Holy Spirit is the only thing I’ve ever seen offered that even attempts to answer the challenge.

        I think I offered Jesus as an answer to your challenge. Like John said in 1 John, he saw him, heard him, touched him and after three or so years with him concluded that he was “the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.” And that was pretty much the conclusion of the others who were with Jesus through those years.

        Koseighty: I’ve interacted with hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in my life. They’ve all accepted my reality the same way they accept the reality of all the other people they’d ever met.

        And they could no doubt affirm your reality. And I would most likely accept their testimony. But when it comes to Jesus or to God the testimony of those who know is disregarded. Yet Jesus was real in the same way you are, flesh and blood seeable. touchable, hearable, even capable of dying. Yet the testimony of those who knew him best and concluded that he was also God in the flesh is dismissed. Go figure.

        God is of a different substance. He is not seeable, or touchable, granted. But he is knowable, and those who know him have been telling about the God they know for millennia. Yet you dismiss their testimony. And why? Because you have not had that experience. That is my guess. But think. If one of your friends tells me you are real, why should I doubt them? Just because I haven’t met you?

        As I said before, whoever has ears to hear, let him hear. Hearin g God speak is more a matter of our listening than his speaking. He speaks, and he speaks in everything.

        Like

      • I’ll leave Kos to respond to you if he wants to, but really, Don, is this the best you can do? An invisible spirit and ‘God is of a different substance’? This is your evidence?

        Liked by 1 person

      • No. It is not my evidence. But it is the parameter of any investigation and proof.

        BTW I suggested, as well, that Jesus is an evidence.

        Like

      • It is not your evidence but it is your proof? Are you using metaphor here or talking absolute drivel?

        I know you previously said Jesus was an evidence (odd use of grammar there, Don). I replied to you and referred you to my post where I demonstrate he isn’t. Pleased you bothered to read it.

        Like

      • Don:
        “I think I offered Jesus as an answer to your challenge.”

        But you didn’t. You offered stories of Jesus, not Jesus. That you don’t seem to know the difference is more than a little telling.

        Okay. So we have what you claim to be evidence. That is only part of the challenge. And the easy part at that.

        I readily admit that I have no way of evaluating supernatural claims. Whether the stories are of Osiris, Ares, Ba’al, Apsu, or Jesus, I have to treat them all the same.

        So, I keep asking for a supernatural method with which to evaluate claims. But all I get from apologists is “If I agree with it it’s true, if I disagree with it it’s false.” We’ve seen you time and time again just declare The Truth™ without evidence or method as if we’re supposed to take you at your word.

        The method can’t be the “Holy Spirit” as we’ve seen it will witness to whatever someone wants – Mormonism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, that guy on YouTube who claims to be the second coming of Jesus. They’re all 100% certified by the Holy Spirit. So the Spirit is a way to truth so much as a way to confirmation bias.

        I’m still waiting, Don. Give me a repeatable, consistent, objective way to evaluate your stories of Jesus evidence.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don sez: “You haven’t proved you exist yet.”

        Proving someone exists in the 21st Century is such a trivial exercise I though you were kidding. Kidding or not, I’m not bothering with your red herring. The name of the blog is Rejecting Jesus, not Rejecting Kos.

        Of course, if the reality (or not) of my existence keeps you up at night feel free to ask Jesus. He knows if I’m a bot or not and I’m sure he’ll fill you in.

        Liked by 1 person

    • If I may … to italicize, put this coding at the beginning of the word “” (without the quotes) — at the end of the word use the same coding, but add an / before the letter “i” (If I actually do it in this comment, it will italicize the words and you won’t get the lesson. You can also use instead of “i”.)

      To BOLD, you do the same but change the “i” to a “b”

      (Neil may have a better and clearer explanation.)

      Like

      • Well CRAP! That didn’t work! It italicized my comment anyway!! The main thing is to use the symbols around the letter “i” or “b” and then close using the / symbol.

        Like

      • Nan:
        ‘The main thing is to use the symbols around the letter “i” or “b” and then close using the / symbol.’

        The symbol didn’t show. But I’m assuming it’s the angle brackets.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It worked! I thought I’d tried that before without results. Must have been another site.

        Thanks for your help, Nan!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry I didn’t get to this earlier, Kos, though it looks like you and Nan cracked it anyway.

      I use em inside those pointy brackets immediately before the phrase I want to italicise and /em – again in the brackets – immediately after it.

      Liked by 1 person

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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.