Contending for the Faith: Refuting “The Ledge” Movie

the_ledge
The plot of the film entitled “The Ledge” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1535970/) centers around an openly atheist hero (Gavin) and a Christian villain (Joe). At a particular point during the film, the conservative Christian husband engages in some interesting dialogue with the atheist man trying to seduce his wife. It is most of this dialogue that this blog concerns itself with. The film’s director is an outspoken atheist named Matthew Chapman, who also happens to be the great-great grandson of Charles Darwin. He claims that he didn’t make the film for atheists, but anyone who watches this movie may come away with a different opinion. Either way, not much appears on the web in the way of critiquing what must be characterized as an utterly irrational attempt at dispelling the Christian worldview. So I decided to provide a rational response to a particular section of the contrived dialogue that comprises the crux of the film’s aim. Specifically, I have identified at least 20 errors in reasoning that occur during the dialogue that the listener may or may not have picked up on.
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So I mistook an unbelieving Jew for an Atheist (but I’m still not sure that I was wrong)! – Part 2

This is a continuation of: So I mistook an unbelieving Jew for an Atheist (but I’m still not sure that I was wrong)!

Flewellyn:
“A true believer would not criticize the bible”, huh? Spoken like someone who has NO IDEA what Judaism is about. We do it all the time, and consider it part of our core worship: prayer and study. Study includes critique. I suggest you just shut up now.

James:
Yes, it was rude for you to tell me to shut up; but, I urge you to consider that since the Tanakh (i.e. Torah + Nevi’im + Ketuvim) is the most authoritative reference for what Judaism SHOULD be about, and the Tanakh does not mention or reflect that critique is part of worship, prayer, study or obligation, and also since study does not necessitate critique, then it follows by good and necessary consequence that your estimation that Judaism should involve critiquing God (which as mentioned earlier is also illogical) is ultimately baseless. Besides, there is no precedent in the Tanakh where a person is seen questioning or critiquing God (at least not without being rebuked in response).

One of my best friends is a Jewish unbeliever so I am familiar with the notion of associating Judaism with the right to question God (howbeit unpleasant to God’s ears); however, just because you are accustomed to doing something doesn’t mean that what you are doing is right!

Flewellyn:
Also, Jews don’t recognize Romans, or any of the rest of the so-called “New” Testament, as scripture. You should certainly know that.
So you citing it as a counterargument to anything I say is just massive fail.

James:
I don’t accept as valid the argument that Jews don’t recognize Romans, or any of the rest of the so-called “New” Testament as scripture. I know of many Jews that accept Romans and the rest of the New Testament as scripture. For instance, the Jews that are members of JewsForJesus.com or Dr. Michael Brown of http://www.RealMessiah.com or Pastor Lon Solomon of http://www.mcleanbible.org are just a couple of Jews that acknowledge the New Testament.

Perhaps what you meant to say was that SOME (so-called) Jews don’t recognize Romans, or any of the rest of the so-called “New” Testament, as scripture.

After all, you do not have a monopoly on who is and is not a valid Jew; only scripture can determine that. However, for the sake of argument, even if I were to postulate that only the Tanakh is in bounds, you must still address the verses from the OT that I provided in my previous post in addition to these verses below that parallel and corroborate the verses in Romans:

  1. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. (Jeremiah 4:4)
  2. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart. (Jeremiah 9:25-26)

These verses (like Romans 2:25-29 which you do not accept) espouse the idea that fleshly circumcision is only beneficial if it is reinforced by circumcision of the heart which is defined in Deuteronomy 30:6 as “lov[ing] the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.” Of course, if you loved God this way you would not have called Him a liar (i.e. by critiquing God’s words despite His claim of perfection in Proverbs 30:5-6).

Flewellyn:
We are not continuing this conversation. Take your attempts to proselytize and your high dudgeon elsewhere.

James:
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
Galatians 4:16

Flewellyn:
You don’t tell any truth. You repeat nonsense from your made-up book.

James:
So let me get it straight; the most important book to Judaism (which apparently you now refer to as a “made-up book” since my most recent arguments emanated from it) namely, the Tanakh, condemns you as a liar for trying to challenge the perfection of YOUR own God (Proverbs 30:5-6) and instead of a rational response or any counter argument from the Tanakh all you can do is throw a fit (i.e. telling me to shut up, telling me to take my “attempts to proselytize and [my] high dudgeon elsewhere”, and calling the Tanakh and/or the bible a “made-up book”)?

Who or What has convinced you that you are the arbiter of truth?

Flewellyn:
You’re right, I shouldn’t be getting angry with you.

James:
Yet, after your admission that I was right about your unnecessary anger you still proceed to engage in more of the same (i.e. calling me an idiot worthy of ridicule, claiming that I’m spouting idiocy and using unnecessary phrases like “hell ass balls” etc). On the one hand, I’m encouraged that (against your earlier threat to disengage) you choose to continue our dialogue because I was hoping that you would eventually take into consideration the compelling arguments that I’ve presented to you; on the other hand, I’m discouraged because you have left most of my rebuttals and questions unanswered and have instead choose to engage in what amounts to intellectual laziness and unsubstantiated conjecture. I will elaborate on this later.

Flewellyn:
I should be RIDICULING you, for being an idiot that thinks the Bible is meant to be taken literally (it’s not),

James:
In every one of your responses so far you have resorted to using logical fallacies. A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning; when one communicates using logical fallacies it makes their presentation ineffective due to the irrational nature of the arguments being presented. One of the reasons that people communicate using logical fallacies is because they do not have any compelling arguments to present for their position. Another reason why persons resort to using logical fallacies is simply because in the past they have met no resistance when using logical fallacies so they assume that no resistance = sound argument. In this case, the logical fallacy that you have employed is commonly known as the “question-begging Epithet.” The question-begging epithet, a fallacy of presumption, is depicted by the use of biased (often defamatory or abusive) language to support a conclusion that is logically unproved. You have merely stated that the Bible is not meant to be taken literally, you haven’t demonstrated why this is to be the case. In addition, your use of words like “idiot” and “ridiculing” qualifies your phrase as an epithet. I, on the other hand, have very good reasons for believing that at least parts of the Bible should be taken literally. For example, in Exodus 20:11 God is seen taking the Genesis narrative of creation literally. If God takes the bible literally, then it follows that I should also take it literally since, after all, He is my Creator. Such examples could of course be multiplied. Incidentally, not all of the bible contains literal language; the bible also employs poetry, symbolism, typology etc.

Flewellyn:
or that it’s all the direct word of God (clearly not the case),

James:
This is an example of a another (related) logical fallacy called “begging the question”; when someone begs the question, they merely assume what they are trying to prove without presenting any reasons why their argument should be taken seriously. Your argument rephrased basically asserts that the bible can’t all be the direct word of God because it is clearly the case that it isn’t all the direct word of God. Without more information your claim is rather arbitrary; all arbitrary claims are reversible – meaning, for every arbitrary claim there is an equal and opposite arbitrary claim. Suppose I were to merely respond by claiming that all of the bible IS the direct word of God because it IS clearly the case. Such a response would be equally legitimate (and useless) as your argument since it is presented as a mere arbitrary assumption. Why shouldn’t people believe that the scriptures are the words of God? If the case is “clear” then you should be able to easily present some reasons why this is to be the case. Instead, you argue irrationally as if your intent were to insult me rather than inform me. This is what I mean by the claim that you resort to unsubstantiated conjecture.

Flewellyn:
or that God is meant to be perfect (nope, plenty of counterexamples),

James:
This is another example of the “begging the question” fallacy; I have presented reasons (in a past response) why God “is meant to be perfect”; while you, on the other hand, merely state that God is imperfect without providing an explanation why this so.

Flewellyn:
or that you have any kind of understanding of Judaism (you clearly do not),

James:
This is another example of the “begging the question” fallacy; I have presented rebuttals (in a past response) that demonstrate my understanding of Judaism; while you, on the other hand, merely state that I haven’t “any kind of understanding of Judaism” without providing an explanation why this so.

Flewellyn:
or that the cosmos is all about you (it’s not, thankfully).

James:
This is a Straw-man fallacy. The straw man is a `red herring’ type of logical fallacy. As the “straw man” metaphor suggests, the counterfeit position attacked in a Straw Man argument (in this case, the lie or misapprehension that I said the cosmos is all about me) is typically weaker than the opponent’s actual position (i.e. that your entire response is a glaring contradiction), just as a straw man is easier to defeat than a flesh-and-blood one. Of course, this is no accident, but is part of what makes the Straw man fallacy tempting to commit, especially to a desperate debater who is losing an argument.

Flewellyn:
I mean, “Circumcision of the heart”? What the hell ass balls is that? No, I haven’t had any parts of my heart surgically removed. Were you trying to make some kind of metaphor here? Because nobody Jewish talks like that, I assure you.

James:
This is an example of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. This fallacy is committed by defining a term (i.e. Jewish) in a biased and unwarranted way (i.e. people that don’t talk using the phrase “Circumcision of the heart”) thereby protecting the claim from a counter-argument. Who gave you the right to limit the semantic range of the word “Jewish?” That the author of Deuteronomy (i.e. Moses) was clearly Jewish makes it painfully obvious that Jewish persons do talk using the phrase you implied was un-jewish. Also, and as I mentioned in my last response “Circumcision of the heart” is defined in the Tanakh (Deuteronomy 30:6) as “”lov[ing] the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.” Perhaps if you spent more time actually reading and digesting my responses (and less time crafting nifty insults) you would not have such trouble recollecting the obvious. Certainly you can now see why I have accused you of intellectual laziness.

Flewellyn:
Also, you spouted idiocy like “In fact, there is no word in the dictionary that has a basis outside of the biblical God.” That alone disqualifies you from being taken seriously. I mean, really? REALLY? Find a mention of penguins in the Bible. I’ll wait here.

James:
The reason why words do not have a basis outside of the biblical God (as I’ve mentioned before) is because words (e.g. the words in the dictionary) are only possible because of distinction.  If every word had the same meaning then all words would be meaningless; likewise, if everything in the universe was black then the word black would be meaningless. Distinction, then, is only possible because it is reinforced by the three rudimentary laws of Aristotelian logic (i.e. The law of identity, The law of excluded middle, The law of non-contradiction) and is thus only possible because of logic. Moreover, logic is impossible without the Biblical God since logic is a reflection of the way that the biblical God thinks (Isaiah 1:18, 1 Corinthians 2:16); therefore, without the biblical God, words have no basis. This conclusion is a good and necessary consequence of the revealed words of God. More specifically, we have the mind of God revealed in the bible from which we are able to deduce the laws of logic; therefore, we must conclude that to be logical is (at least) an attribute of God. Man is made in the image of God (which means he has the capability of rationality) and thus has a propensity (howbeit fickle and subject to corruption) to operate in a logical fashion. This is why bible believers can have confidence that every departure from scripture will ultimately lead to a transgression of logic (i.e. contradictions); the only question really is how many contradictions will be discovered in the unbeliever’s worldview.
Incidentally, God does not have to specifically mention “penguins” in the bible in order for my assertion to be considered valid since my argument has less to do with the etymology of particular words and more to do with a person’s epistemic warrant for using words in general. Nevertheless, since in the book of Genesis (Genesis 1:21) it is mentioned that God created all of the birds, then one must necessarily deduce that God mentions penguins as well, howbeit indirectly.

Flewellyn:
So, now I shall point and laugh. HA HA!

James:
Those that believe in God’s words have a moral obligation to be rational; that is, to think in the same way that God does. Apparently you do not consider it important to employ rationality; yet, you laugh at those who attempt to do so in order to please God.

So I mistook an unbelieving Jew for an Atheist (but I’m still not sure that I was wrong)!

Still shopping for a compact, large-print KJV bible on Amazon.com. I ran into this write-up and was intrigued by this reviewer’s naivety so I dared to respond. Below is our dialogue:

Flewellyn (wrote this Amazon.com review about the King James Bible):
The language is rather lovely, and poetic, although portions of the book do appear to resort to excessive synopsis. The third and fourth chapters, in particular, are guilty of this, with the third being a drab list of rules and regulations presented without elaboration, in a sort of authorial filibuster, and the fourth being a litany of tedious revenge fantasies. Some of the later chapters are quite interesting, and there’s a lovely romantic interlude, but the tendency towards authorial filibuster doesn’t completely disappear.

Also, the main character is a bit inconsistent, sometimes appearing kind and loving, while other times wrathful and vengeful. This dichotomy could be an interesting plot device, but alas the book never goes into detail about why the disparity exists. We are simply left to wonder at it, or just figure “that’s how it is”. Frustrating.

The book does suffer a bit from uneven editing, as well. For instance, there’s a fascinating tale about a golden bull statue, which is unaccountably buried in between two tedious and nearly identical descriptions of carpentry. What’s the deal? I admit that editing such a large work can be trying, but surely such duplication should be easy to avoid!

Overall, though, it’s not bad. I am rather disappointed that the publishers chose to bundle the inferior and hackneyed sequel with the groundbreaking and innovative original, however. Really, if the sequel can’t stand on its own merits, why include it at all?

James:
This review stinks of unoriginality. This reviewer borrows standards from the bible and then uses those standards to criticize it (i.e. only the biblical worldview can account for why kindness is to be admired and inconsistency shunned). Why doesn’t the reviewer use non-biblical standards? Isn’t it because all other standards are merely arbitrary in nature (especially in an atheistic worldview)? Why should one atheist care what another atheist thinks is right or wrong? How would the atheist reviewer go about defining what is meant by “inferior and hackneyed” without appealing to something that is not ultimately arbitrary? When the reviewer describes God as wrathful, to which standard is he/she appealing to? After all, in an atheistic worldview each person has a right to arbitrarily define their own standards especially if they think that the standard will enhance their survival, growth and reproduction. By borrowing from the biblical worldview and it’s standards, the reviewer betrays their dependency on the biblical God which makes this review all the more useless. Be original and come up with your own standards (i.e. why not give irrationality a try – admittedly you would first have to define it and then get a worldwide consensus, isn’t that how you atheist establish your mores). Why is consistency something to be admired in an atheistic worldview? What is wrong with being wrathful and vengeful in the atheistic worldview where there is no basis whatsoever for morality? A frustrated atheist is effectively an oxymoron since the word “frustrated” has no standard definition in the atheistic worldview. In fact, there is no word in the dictionary that has a basis outside of the biblical God. Like the famous atheist Richard Dawkins admits, there is no basis for an atheist’s best impulses outside of their biological framework; tragically, the material world cannot adequately account for themes like rationality and morality. If you are frustrated, it is because you are a closet theist shaking your fist at the Creator of the universe. Why does the reviewer yearn for a rational God when the atheistic worldview with its confinement to the corporeal world cannot account for the immaterial laws of logic that make rationality possible? I urge you to re-read the last book of the bible (Revelation). Your ending is already prophesied in it but it’s not too late for you to re-write it. I will pray for you Flewellyn.

Flewellyn:
You read all of that about my supposed atheism (which, by the way, isn’t; I’m Jewish) from the fact that I critiqued the bible as a work of literature?

James:
Perhaps I was presumptuous about your supposed atheism. Admittedly, unbelievers come in all sorts of flavors; perhaps you are not an atheist type of unbeliever but you are nevertheless an unbeliever (e.g. a “Jewish” unbeliever – and one who dares to judge God’s words) and so my reply is still deserved if not pertinent. A true believer would not criticize the bible; since the bible is the definitive axiom of the believer’s worldview; that is how I knew that you were an unbeliever. To do such would be crudely akin to a human criticizing the reality of air or a student trying to succeed in Euclidean Geometry by undermining Euclid’s axioms. Only an unbeliever or a fool masquerading as a believer would dare criticize the One that made him or her. Please keep in mind that these are God’s words paraphrased not mine (c.f. Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 9:10, Isaiah 29:16, Isaiah 40:13, Isaiah 45:9-10, Romans 9:20).

When you decided to “mildly” criticize God’s word did you not expect that your words would also be open to “mild” criticism as well? If the words of the perfect and Almighty God are deemed subject-able to “mild” criticism then it follows that the words of one of His imperfect creatures (i.e. yourself) is all the more subject-able to “mild” criticism. As it turns out, God’s words aren’t subject to criticism at all but that is a another matter that I will address later on.

So you think that you are Jewish? Well you may be Jewish outwardly but your words betray an uncircumcised heart. How could a real Jewish person ever call God a liar?

Incidentally, I don’t need you to tell me who you think you are; who you may think you are culturally (i.e. Jewish) is ultimately irrelevant to who you are spiritually (i.e. an unbeliever). This is not my rule but God’s and I think you should heed it. I find it easy to figure you out by what you have written. After all, in the scriptures it is written that:
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-18)

Perhaps you should heed the biblical definition of a real Jew:

“For circumcision (i.e. being Jewish) verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law (e.g. Flewellyn), thy circumcision (or Jewishness) is made uncircumcision (non-Jewishness). Therefore if the uncircumcision (Gentiles) keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision (Gentile-ness) be counted for circumcision (Jewishness)? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee (e.g. what I’m doing right now) , who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. “(Romans 2:25-29).

Now regarding your criticism of God, I must inform you that you are unqualified to criticize His writings. How can the infallible Creator of the medium that we call “words” be counseled about how to appropriately use “words” in constructing literature by the fallible recipient of the created “words”? God is perfect by definition which means that His words are also perfect; you on the other hand are imperfect so what you are attempting to accomplish (i.e. critiquing God’s words) is not only irrational and impossible, it is self-refuting. Logically speaking, your own words have demonstrated that you are a liar. Meaning, since God’s words are perfect (Proverbs 30:5-6) then God’s words cannot simultaneously be “inferior or hackneyed” so you must be a liar. Also, since God’s words are perfect (Psalms 12:6) God’s words cannot simultaneously be deemed unable to “stand on its own merits” so you must be a liar. Again, since God is perfect (Psalms 119:140) God cannot simultaneously be deemed “inconsistent” so you must be a liar. Incidentally, you shouldn’t be surprised; in the Tanakh, God said that this would happen if you tried to critique His words (see Proverbs 30:6).

Flewellyn:
You didn’t even read the review for understanding, did you? I’m guessing you saw that it was about the Bible, saw that it was mildly critical, and rather than attempt to parse the input for meaning, you just triggered a canned response from your mental pattern matcher: “criticizes Bible = angry atheist -> produce misguided and misdirected screed about atheism having no basis for morality or rationality”.

James:
What understanding or meaning did you expect me to parse from your “mild” criticism? You want me to understand that the Author “resort[s] to excessive synopsis”; OK, got it. Next, you want me parse that the Author presents “a drab list of rules and regulations…without elaboration”; check. Then I should parse that the Author overdoes it with “authorial filibuster” and a “litany of tedious revenge fantasies”; I think I’m with you so far. Also, I should parse that the main character (who also happens to be the author) “is a bit inconsistent”; I see a pattern of mediocrity, but OK. Now, I should continue by parsing that the Author is incompetent at editing since He can’t seem to steer clear of “tedious” “duplication” that “should be easy to avoid”; ok got it. It doesn’t end here because there is more parsing; for instance, I need to also understand that the Author’s latter part of the book is “inferior and hackneyed”; um, OK. Finally, I should parse that a significant part of the Author’s book is incapable of “stand[ing] on it’s own merit”; wow, such meaning, what understanding!

The meaning and understanding that I’ve parsed from your review is that there is no way that this literature could be of divine authorship, and if the author claims otherwise then He is a liar; but that’s just me.

You’ll have to excuse me if I chose not to use the white gloves when dealing with your “mild” criticism (as the graceful Bojo Payne did) but when you call my Father a liar then you have to deal with one of His kids. Now allow me to help you draw out some of the logical implications or your review:
If God’s words are as you state “inferior or hackneyed”, despite what He claims to the contrary (Psalm 199:140), then if follows that you must be calling Him a liar. Also, if you say that God’s word “can’t stand on its own merits” despite what He claims to the contrary (Proverbs 30:5-6), then it follows that you must be calling him a liar. Again, if God’s is found to be “inconsistent” when He states otherwise (Numbers 23:19, Malachi 3:6) then you are saying that He is a liar. This is the necessary consequence of what you have written. Can you not see that?

Flewellyn:
Please, I beg of you, actually THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE READING. Don’t just run your mental regular expression parser over it and run your canned reactions.

James:
Good, we are back to my original theme that you left untouched; I do not accept your evaluation that my response was canned, misguided and misdirected; but, for the sake of argument, what is “wrong” with replies that are: canned, misguided and misdirected? It is apparent that these are standards that you impose upon those that you communicate with. How did you arrive at these standards? I’m honestly curious. You “beg” me to “THINK” but you just assume that rational thought is a feature that all men are capable of turning on – why? The foundation for whatever wisdom you have is illegitimate – you should really relinquish God’s standards. You are like a grandchild who want’s to slap his/her grandfather but has to sit on His lap to accomplish the feat. The next time you want to take swats at God, try finding another lap to sit on – oh and good luck finding one.

Flewellyn:
As it so happens, the real world does not respond well to such superficial treatment.

James:
Why should I glean my understanding of the “real world” from a person who cannot account for things in the “real world” – things like logic, and morality? That doesn’t seem very rational; perhaps you have finally understood that it is OK for an unbeliever to assert irrationality as a refreshing change from the biblical worldview and to do so at no peril (since after all, you are an unbeliever – who would dare question your right to be arbitrary?).

P.S. After, all I have said, you still seem like a person who would be a valuable player on the opposing team. Why not just embrace the love of God’s truth and be transformed?

Have you Christians out there actually READ this book? – Part II

A continuation of: Have you Christians out there actually READ this book?

Stephen:
I let you get away with a lot in your first post. I even let you get away with calling me “Satan”. I was very forgiving and accommodating, but this time you have just gone too far.

James:
Please point out the sentence where I called you Satan. You won’t be able to find it because I did no such thing. Incidentally, if you can so carelessly misrepresent my arguments as you have manifestly done in this post, then how do you know that you are not misrepresenting the bible as I maintain that you have been doing all along?

Stephen:
Your implication that atheists are utterly lacking in logic and deductive reasoning skills is so bizarre and contrary to the facts that it is impossible for me to let this slide. I cannot and I will not forgive you for this.

James:
A Straw man is a `red herring’ type of logical fallacy. As the “straw man” metaphor suggests, the counterfeit position attacked in a Straw Man argument (in this case, the lie or misapprehension that I called you Satan or that I suggested “that atheists are utterly lacking in logic and deductive reasoning skills”) is typically weaker than the opponent’s actual position (i.e. atheist cannot account for logic in their worldview), just as a straw man is easier to defeat than a flesh-and-blood one. Of course, this is no accident, but is part of what makes the Straw man fallacy tempting to commit, especially to a desperate debater who is losing an argument.

Stephen:
In your first post you were kinda/sorta polite (despite calling me Satan), but your latest post is a smear, an insult and an assault on reason itself. Typically atheists are more logical and have better deductive reasoning skills than Christians. You have done an EXCELLENT job of proving that in your posts to me.

James:
And of course you know that “[t]ypically atheists are more logical and have better deductive reasoning skills than Christians” because you have interviewed all of the Atheists and Christians that have ever lived and that are presently living and also those that will in the future, then you derived this assertion from a completed induction; um probably not. As I have maintained throughout our dialogue, even atheists use logic and therefore they are rational (or at least they have the potential for rationality) but they cannot account for the reality of logic within their worldview.

Stephen:
As a logical person I can read the words “tree of knowledge of good and evil” and I think “tree of knowledge of good and evil”. You as an illogical person read the words “tree of knowledge of good and evil” and think “apple tree” or “fig tree” or maybe you just draw a blank.

James:
Well since I have never in our dialogue mentioned the things that you attribute to me, then I take it that you must think that you are a mind-reader; and of course, if you do think so, then perhaps you have got bigger problems than I previously thought.

Stephen:
You have the same problem when you read the words “tree of life” As a logical person I read the words and their meaning is quite plain and straightforward and understandable. As an illogical person you read the words and you go through exhaustive mental gymnastics in an effort to keep the words from meaning what they actually mean. The Tree of Life does not mean the tree of life, because if it did then that would mean Adam and Eve were not really immortal and you with your mental flaws cannot admit that.

James:
As I mentioned in my previous post, the bible clearly indicates that death entered the world through sin (Romans 5:12) ; therefore, since sin did not exist in the world until after Adam and Eve disobeyed God then it follows by good and necessary consequence that Adam and Eve were not subject to death until after they had disobeyed God. Not surprisingly, this interpretation fits naturally with the observation that when God warned Adam that he would die if he ate the fruit, Adam didn’t respond by saying: “Why should I be concerned about dying since I am already mortal?”. Once again, God’s admonition is no longer a deterrent if Adam and Eve were already going to die. You, Stephen, instead take the most unlikely scenario (i.e. Adam and Eve were mortal before the Fall and thus God is lying in Romans 5:12) and insist that it must be so despite the irresistible force of logic that has been on display since we began our dialogue.

Stephen:
The Tree of knowledge of good and evil doesn’t actually mean the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, because if it did that would mean that Adam and Eve were created WITHOUT the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. And you with your obvious psychological flaws cannot admit that.

James:
As I have mentioned earlier, your conclusion (Adam and Eve were created WITHOUT the knowledge of what is good and what is evil) does not follow from the premise (The Tree of knowledge of good and evil actually means the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) that you posit so your argument fails. Go back and read my comments about why Adam and Eve had SOME knowledge of good and evil despite the fact that they had not yet partook of the Tree of the knowledge of good and Evil. As the christian philosopher Dr. Thomas Robbins once said “A consciousness conscious of nothing is a contradiction in terms.” It is furtherly thus impossible that Adam and Eve had no knowledge whatsoever of good and evil. I’m suggesting that their quantity of the knowledge of good and evil dramatically increased once they partook of the forbidden fruit. Without further revelation from God, it is impossible to quantitatively know how much knowledge was added but we have solid indications to believe that the addition was dramatic.

Stephen:
And yet while YOU enthusiastically engage in these exercises to run away from logical conclusions and avoid deductive reasoning, you DARE to accuse atheists of being the ones who are lacking in logic and deductive reasoning skills!! I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

James:
I’m not here to be provoked by your baseless accusations. I honestly want to know how atheists can account for logic or morality in an atheistic worldview? The laws of logic are immaterial – how do you account for the immaterial in your worldview? How do you account for universal or absolute abstractions in your solely corporeal worldview? These are not insults – merely honest questions that may sound rhetorical but are only so because you do not have an answer that can withstand the scrutiny of logic.

Stephen:
You can believe in talking snakes and the dead rising from the grave and Moses parting the Red Sea and all of the water in Egypt being turned into blood, however you CANNOT embrace all these fantasies and at the same time take those of us who believe in science and accuse US of being the illogical ones! I’ve had it with you. Take your love of irrationality and go away. I’m not wasting any more of my time on you.

James:
In a world where one cannot account for logic or morality (i.e. in your worldview), I’m not sure why these things you mention (even if I were to assume them to be fantasies) are problematic since a person can both lie and be irrational in your worldview without being held accountable to a universal and invariant standard that would make such actions “wrong.”

 

Have you Christians out there actually READ this book? Part 1

I lifted the title of this post from an Amazon.com review by a person named Stephen who (by the multitude of his Amazon.com reviews) seems to specialize in writing negative reviews particularly about conservative & Christian literature.  I recently ran across one of his reviews when I was searching for a large print KJV bible and was uncharacteristically moved to respond to his criticism of the bible and particularly of Genesis. My response is below:

Stephen:
First of all God creates Adam and Eve with no knowledge of good or evil. Why? Doesn’t this seem like a design flaw? Without knowledge of good or evil, doesn’t it logically follow that these two newborns could commit evil acts without even knowing that they’re evil?

James:
The Bible doesn’t say that God created Adam and Eve without any knowledge of good and evil and one cannot deduce your proposition from the narrative in Genesis nor any other book of the bible. In fact, since they were made in the image of God (which is to say that they were created having a rational, incorporeal mind) it follows that they must have had some knowledge of Good and Evil however rudimentary. Also we see God explicitly giving Adam (and Eve) some knowledge of good and Evil when He tells them that if they ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree that they would certainly die. They must have understood that dying was a bad thing in order for the command to properly deter them from eating from the forbidden fruit. So as you can clearly see, we must conclude by good and necessary consequence that Adam and Eve had knowledge of good and evil even if it wasn’t the additional knowledge that was imparted to them after consuming the forbidden fruit. Incidentally, Adam and Eve were not newborns, contrary to what you indicated in your commentary. Since I have established that your leading proposition is erroneous I will ignore the two succeeding questions that were based upon your initial assertion’s validity.

Stephen:
Second of all, God tells Adam that he cannot eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why? Because if he eats fruit from that tree he shall surely die.Genesis 2:17

However God put a serpent in the garden. And the serpent has a different story. He tells Eve that she will not die from eating this fruit. Rather (just like the name of the tree implies) they will know the difference between good and evil.Genesis 3:1 thru 3:5

Adam and Eve both eat the fruit from this tree and it turns out that the talking serpent told the truth and God lied. Neither Adam nor Eve died from eating this fruit. (thus proving God a liar) and they did gain the knowledge of how to tell the difference between good and evil (thus proving the talking serpent honest).

So, the hero in this story is a liar. And the bad guy in this story is telling the truth. You can’t tell me that’s not funny! Okay, it’s funny in a messed up sort of way. I’ll grant you that. But it’s still funny.
Genesis 3:6 thru 3:7

James:
You are wrong having misapprehended and misunderstood the Genesis narrative. God does tell them that they will die but He does not say that they would physically die an instantaneous death, in fact, the hebrew word for die (“mûth”) used repeatedly and successively, could also indicate a progressive death (i.e. “dying thou shall die”). On the other hand, the devil promised Eve (with Adam standing next to her) that they would not die and as we know from the scriptures both Adam and Eve died (Genesis 5:5, Hebrews 9:27), so the devil is the one that lied. Furthermore, according to the scriptures we know that Adam and Eve also died spiritually (Ephesians 2:1) so this would be a second fulfillment of God’s death promise.

Stephen:
A slight side note. Apparently by God’s logic (or the logic of the ancient Jews who worshipped him) being naked was evil. Because up until the time that they’d eaten of this fruit Adam and Eve had been running around the garden naked and didn’t think anything of it. It was perfectly acceptable. After they’d gained the knowledge of good and evil they suddenly realized they were naked and were ashamed.

Naked = evil?

Is this some sort of joke?

James:
I’m bewildered at how you could have reached the conclusion that God associated nakedness with evil especially because this would imply that when God made Adam and Eve without clothes that He committed an evil act. It is logically impossible to justify this assertion at least based upon what is revealed in scripture. Evil is specifically and deductively defined as doing that which is contrary to the will of God; therefore, since God cannot contradict His own will (2 Timothy 2:13), it follows that God cannot commit an evil act. Consequently, the act of God creating Adam and Eve without any clothes was not evil. Yes, they were naked in the garden and their nakedness was not evil. After they ate of the forbidden fruit they became cognizant of the fact that they were naked because God imparted that proposition (among others associated with the forbidden fruit) directly to Adam and Eve’s minds; but the bible doesn’t say that they were ashamed, just aware. After sin entered into the world due to Adam’s disobedience then God clothed them because in a sinful world there are many times when nakedness is inappropriate. I think that if you spent more time focusing on the details of the text then you would not err as frequently as you have done.

Stephen:
At any rate God lied and the talking snake told the truth. Rather than confront God with his dishonesty, Adam and Eve are apprehensive and nervous and ashamed. They act as if they and the talking snake are the guilty parties.

James:
Adam and Eve were guilty because they disobeyed God. Your commentary here is just plain wrong and indefensible. Furthermore, Eve committed at least two fatal mistakes that made her vulnerable to deception: she relied upon her own understanding instead of God’s revelation and she committed errors in reasoning (logical fallacies). Eve used her mind and her senses to test whether God was honest about the information that He provided to her (Genesis 3:6); but it was God that created her mind and her senses so if God was truly dishonest she would have no basis for trusting her senses anyway. Eve should have reasoned the following way:

God is the creator of my mind and senses; therefore, if He is dishonest then I can’t know anything to be certain; therefore, Satan, you are a liar and I’m not going to place my trust in you. I will trust in God my Creator.

Ironically, you seem to be guilty of making the same mistakes that Eve did.

Stephen:
God punishes all three. The snake is cursed to spend it’s days crawling on it’s belly. Which seems to imply that it previously had some other mode of transport. Did it have legs before? I’m assuming that it must have. Then God must have ripped them off and altered the snake’s DNA so that all of it’s hatchlings would be born without legs as well.

James:
Your conclusion (that God ripped off the snakes legs and altered its DNA) is not required since God is omnipotent and unbounded; therefore, there are an infinite number of ways God could have accomplished His judgment upon the serpent.

Stephen:
Adam and Eve are cursed as well. Man and woman are cursed to always be at odds with each other. According to the curse they will always fight. Also women will always suffer horrible pain in childbirth. Also women are cursed to have men rule over them and men are cursed to perform hard labor. Genesis 3:8 thru 3:19

James:
Again, your commentary is not really indicative of what the text actually says. Your slight additions to God’s word are very problematic for me. Where in the bible does it say that Man and Woman “will always fight?” Where does it say in the bible that the pain suffered in child-birth would be “horrible?” Also, Adam was already the leader of the family (1 Timothy 2:11-13), so perhaps his position of leadership was accentuated as part of the curse but it was not a result of the curse. Since Eve acted independent of her husband in her desire for the forbidden fruit, God pronounced a judgement upon her that would remind her of her husband’s importance and that God had ordained him to lead the family.

Stephen:
Then God casts Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. According to the Bible this is not a further punishment. Rather it is a precaution. It seems that there is another tree that God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat from. This is the tree of life. The fruit from this tree would have allowed Adam and Eve to live forever. And apparently if a human can tell the difference between good and evil AND live forever then they’ll be just like God. And apparently God was very afraid of such a thing. So angels with flaming swords were set to guard the tree of life and keep Adam and Eve (or any of their decedents) from ever eating the fruit from that tree.
Genesis 3:22 thru 3:24

James:
Unfortunately, your use of deductive logic is in error and it seems that you cannot accurately recollect the text in the Genesis narrative of the creation. Where does the bible say that God expelling Adam and Eve from the garden was a precaution and not a further judgment? Furthermore, since the bible DOES state that Christians can tell the difference between right and wrong and that they also have eternal life does this then mean (according to your assertion above) that Christians are “just like God?” My goodness, I mean, who reasons this way! You cannot arbitrarily assert a consequent especially one that is indefensible, this is a textbook example of a logical fallacy.

Stephen:
Despite the fact that this is what the Bible says, Christians tend to come up with conclusions that have nothing to do with the actual text of Genesis.

First of all, Christians tend to say that the talking snake was actually the devil. Why? I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover. NOWHERE in here does it say that the talking snake was the devil! In point of fact, if this were the devil, it would mean that the devil has no arms or legs. It would also mean that the devil would have had to have died centuries ago, because it never got a chance to eat the fruit from the tree of life!

James:
Christians know that the serpent was actually the devil because: God tells us that the serpent of old (i.e. of Eden) was Satan in Romans 16:20 (And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly…) which is a reference to Genesis 3:15, in Revelations 12:9 (that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world) and in Revelations 20:2 (that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan) among other verses. Also, if you did “read the bible from cover to cover” you would know that the devil is a fallen angel, created by God, who possessed (or entered) the serpent in the garden of Eden and therefore has powers that are not attributable to man, thus it is uncalled for to suggest that Satan should have died centuries ago since he was not under the death mandate pronounced upon Adam and the entire human race.

Stephen:
Second of all, many Christians claim that Adam’s “original sin” in eating from the tree of knowledge cursed all humanity until the end of time.

Well, yes. That is what the story says. However please note the exact nature of that curse. Man is cursed to perform hard labor in order to earn his daily bread. He is also cursed to constantly be at odds with females and to always fight and bicker with them.

Christians will usually tell you that Adam’s “original sin” means that we are all born sinners and that we’re all condemned to Hell the moment that we’re born.

Funny. That’s not what the Bible says. Where do they get this? Somebody is obviously making stuff up.

James:
The Edenic curse entails a lot more than hard labor and it certainly is not compatible with your crude estimation that God made Adam and Eve “to always fight and bicker”, the whole world was cursed as a result of Adam’s sin. This is why we have animals that are hostile towards us and why we have hurricanes, earthquakes and other “natural disasters”. The bible says that the whole world is groaning and travailing in pain up until the present moment (Romans 8:22).

Yes, Christians espouse this proposition that you mention (i.e. Adam’s original sin means that we are all born sinners that are condemned to Hell the moment we are born) because it IS found in the scriptures. Examine the following passage from Romans 5:

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: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.(Rom 5:12-19)

Stephen:
Perhaps the priests and the Bishops and the Popes are all having a laugh at our expense.

Some Christians claim that Adam and Eve were both immortal before they ate from the tree of knowledge and pissed God off. EXCUSE ME? God was AFRAID of Adam and Eve becoming immortal. God send down angels with flaming swords to keep Adam and Eve (and the snake) from ever getting near the tree of life. He expressed fear of man living forever!

James:
The Roman Catholic State Church with its bishops and popes are hardly compatible with biblical Christianity and in fact are more of a stumbling block for those truly seeking to know the biblical Christ.You may be right about priests, bishops and popes having a laugh at “our” expense but I’m not sure what this has to do with the veracity of the bible.
On the contrary, God was and is not afraid of anything, let alone Adam and Eve becoming immortal. That Adam and Eve could not die is a necessary inference from God’s admonition that they would die if they disobeyed Him. If they were susceptible to death prior to eating the forbidden fruit then why would it matter that they would die after eating the fruit? Besides, in the passage that I referenced above (Romans 5) we are told that death entered into the world through Adam’s sin so it is necessary to infer that Adam and Eve were not subject to death prior to their Edenic Fall.

Stephen:
Again, I think that the laity are the butt of a great big joke that is being perpetrated on them by the clergy. I mean . . .you don’t have to take my word for it! Just read this book! I know that most of you Christians out there have never read the Bible. Perhaps it’s time you started.

James:
I have read the bible and it is marvellous in my eyes. Christians are not the butt of a joke, we are merely persons that have understood the great salvation that God has secured for those that trust in Him. The bible is a system of truth which if read cohesively and understood the way it was meant to be (i.e. read without transgressing the laws of logic) provides emancipation from this world and offers hope tha makes life worth living. I hope you find your way to the truth. I will be praying for you Stephen!

Part II

Stephen:
In Genesis Chapter 2, verse 17 God clearly says, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
Now, what exactly is a tree of knowledge of good and evil? It sounds pretty obvious to me. It’s a tree that produces fruit that can give you knowlege of good and knowledge of evil. If Adam and Eve could ALREADY tell the difference between good and evil then eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil would have no effect on them. Since Adam and Eve were immediately and dramatically changed after eating from the fruit of this tree it’s obvious that they did NOT have this knowledge before they ate the fruit from this tree.

James:
I urge you to go back and read what you initially wrote as it seems that you are now saying something different from what you originally wrote. I have already mentioned and always maintained that it is necessary to deduce that Adam and Eve at least had rudimentary knowledge which by definition means that this knowledge was capable of being improved upon or added to. The mere fact that God created them with a language which admittedly was limited (i.e. they didn’t know what being naked meant) demonstrates that they had some knowledge of good and evil. Death in the bible is described as an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). The fact that they knew what it meant to die reminds us that they had at least that particular knowledge of evil. Again and as I wrote previously, when they partook of the fruit, then God imparted to them the additional propositions attributed with consuming the forbidden fruit. Whatever these propositions might have been, we at least know that it included the knowledge of nakedness. Furthermore and as I mentioned earlier, the fact that they were created in the image of God means that they had a spirit, or more casually, an incorporeal mind with a conscience.  The conscience by biblical definition is an internal witness within us that convicts us of right and wrong (John 8:9, Romans 2:15) howbeit limited and subject to corruption. So the conscience accounts for some measure of good and evil.
You, on the other hand, stated that God created Adam and Eve with NO knowledge of good and evil and this my friend, is absolutely and manifestly a false proposition as I have just demonstrated once again.

Stephen:
And it was in Genesis 3:15 that God said that males and females would always fight. Observe: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

James:
In the verse that you cite here (Genesis 3:15), God is talking about putting enmity between the devil’s child and Eve’s child; not the between the man and the woman.

Stephen:
And it was in Genesis 3:16 that God said that the pain for women giving birth would be horrible. Take note: “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

James:
To recap, you mentioned that the bible conveys “women will always suffer horrible pain in childbirth.” It is my intent to demonstrate to you how this is not the case at all. The words “horrible” and “sorrow[ful]” may rhyme but they are not exactly synonyms. They have somewhat different meanings. It is true that something sorrowful may also be horrible but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case so the two words are not the same. To be sure, the birthing process is not a walk in the park as most punishments are not meant to be; but, at the same time, the bible doesn’t say that God ordained childbirth to provoke horror. The hebrew word used for sorrow, its-tsaw-bone’, is closer to hardship than it is to horror. I know that for some women the birthing experience may still be deemed horrible but you must keep in mind that my argument is not based on a tally of empirical observations but rather on the revealed words of scripture.

Stephen:
And indeed God WAS afraid of Adam and Eve living forever. This is why he kicked them out of the Garden of Eden. Read Genesis 3:22, 3:23 and 3:24
“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. ”

James:
Once again, the bible doesn’t say that God was afraid and the verses that you cite certainly do not necessitate such a conclusion. If you would like, you may surmise that He was concerned that if Adam and Eve stayed in the garden and partook of the Tree of Life, this would undermine His punishment pronounced upon them; but you may not surmise that the living God Who upholds and sustains all things (including trees and human beings) was afraid. They were kicked out of the garden primarily for disobeying God. Why would God tell Adam that he would now have to work hard for his own food and then leave him in the garden where there was nothing but plenty of free food (including a Tree that could reverse the effects of His death judgement)? It is true that God did not want them to eat of the Tree of Life but this fact doesn’t lead us to say that he was afraid they would live forever; after all, God is omnipotent. He upholds every atom in the universe. He has nothing to be afraid of. On the other hand, those that despise and reject His word have everything to be afraid of. Proverbs 13:13 states: Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.  (Proverbs 13:13)

Stephen:
Now, I am not trying to turn you into an atheist, however I am trying to improve your reading comprension and deductive reasoning skills. I do hope that I have contributed in some small way to accomplishing this goal.

James:
Why would an atheist try to improve someone else’s “deductive reasoning” skills when atheism itself cannot even account for the laws of logic which are necessary to do so? It always humors me that atheist want to pride themselves on adhering to logic especially because they cannot even account for logic in their worldview. Why should an atheist adhere to logic? What compels an atheist to think that being rational is a “good” thing? How do atheist even define the word “good” without making the error in reasoning known as arbitrariness? For example when you mentioned in your initial post that God supposedly committed a design flaw I was initially going to challenge you to reveal the standard that you were appealing to when making the determination. In other words, how do you determine what is a flaw and what is a feature and who are you to think that your definition is authoritative (especially as an atheist)? You are just one human telling another human the results of chemical reactions that are currently occurring in your brain (at least that’s how the atheist sees it). Since the specific chemical reactions in both of our brains are different (because our brains are composed of separate matter) what right have you to expect me to adhere to rationality? And finally, since the laws of logic are immaterial how do you account for them in a worldview (atheism) that only allows for matter or the corporeal?
For more information on the folly of atheism see my blog post on this topic @(https://christpluszero.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/301/ )

 

Have you Christians out there actually READ this book? – Part II

[If the Bible isn’t true then] Let us eat and drink [without restraint]; for tomorrow we die!

The title of this essay is an adaptation of an excerpt from Paul’s sorites in 1 Corinthians 15: 32 where he gives us the logical consequences of the disbelief in the resurrection of the dead. These logical consequences also apply (necessarily) to a disbelief in the authenticity of the bible as the Word of God (and thus the truth) since Paul asserts that the doctrine of the resurrection is derived from the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:4). Therefore, it is logical to see that if one decides that the bible is not true then one’s basis for anything moral, rational or humane goes out of the window. Furthermore, Paul says that if the bible isn’t true (i.e. there is no resurrection of the dead) then Christians are of all men the most miserable (1 Corinthians 15:19). This conclusion is easy to understand since the life of a Christian is (or at least should be) marked by bible-based living (Psalm 119:9), sacrificial giving (Matthew 25:35-36), self-denial (Matthew 16:24), persecution (2 Timothy 3:12) and prayer for our enemies (Matthew 5:44). Enduring this demanding lifestyle for a lie (if the bible is not true) makes Christians the biggest suckers in the history of world second only to the apostles and martyrs that paid the ultimate price for their Christian faith with their lives (1 Corinthians 4:10-13). Paul says that instead, we might as well enjoy life (without restraint) for eventually we just die and that is the end of life (this is the doctrine of Nihilism). I’ve drawn some equally valid conclusions myself that I think drive home the point that Paul was making:

1. If the bible is false, then there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, bestiality or any other “aberrant” sexual practices that are abominated in scripture since the word “wrong” would have no basis outside of accepted conventions that one may choose to arbitrarily define and or adhere to. However, if homosexuality is truly an abomination as the bible clearly indicates (Leviticus 20:13) then our leaders that have embraced this act as something to be celebrated rather than abhorred, have placed this nation in the path of severe wrath and judgment from God the Creator and Lawgiver.

2. If the bible is not true, then killing babies by abortion is not “wrong”, neither is killing anyone who gets in the way of your chances for enhanced survival, growth and reproduction. Rape is not “wrong”; it’s merely an act that occurs at the stronger person’s behest. Morality has no basis outside of the bible so Paul’s hedonistic response (e.g. to eat and drink without restraint) is in order. However, if the bible is true in what it proclaims, then Nihilism is not in scope for mankind but rather a fiery judgment from the righteous Lawgiver and Judge (Jesus Christ) who has already condemned as guilty all those that do not receive the love of the truth that freely leads to salvation (John 3:18-19, 2 Thessalonians 2:10).

3. If the bible teaches that salvation is attained by works as the Roman Catholic Church maintains, then the bible is not true since it clearly states in contradiction (and in numerous verses) that salvation is only attained by ceasing from one’s worthless works (as an avenue to salvation) and trusting in the finished work (on the cross) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (See Romans 3:20-28, Romans 4:4, Romans 9:30-32, Romans 10:3-4, Romans 11:6, Philippians 3:9, Titus 3:4-5, Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Timothy 1:9, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:2-3, Galatians 3:11, Galatians 3:21, Galatians 5:4, Act 13:39 – this list could go on and on). If however, the bible is true then unfortunately the Roman Catholics (and other “Christian” groups that have decided not to take the scriptures seriously) have put their faith in “another gospel” (Galatians 1:6-7) and are thus hell-bound.

Biblical instructions for doing Apologetics from 2 Timothy 2:25

The last thing that skeptics need is more evidence; what they really need is worldview surgery! A person’s worldview is the “lens” by which he/she will interpret any evidence presented. Many Christians spend their time arguing with unbelievers over the “evidence” perceived to be for or against their worldview. Is this how the bible informs us to carry out apologetics? Of course not (Colossians 2:8)! Does the fact that scientific studies of DNA seem to show that all men that have ever lived can be traced back to a single male and all women likewise to a single female, prove that the bible’s account of creation is true? NO.

The astute unbeliever is not ready to give up their worldview based on a single piece of seemingly damaging evidence; rather, the astute unbeliever will inevitably invoke a rescuing device. Perhaps all men do go back to one male, and all women to a single female but that doesn’t rule out the possibility that the male (called y-chromosome Adam) and the female (called mitochondrial eve) weren’t contemporaries. Perhaps, they were lone survivors of a larger group of people that existed back in pre-historic times etc.; therefore, this evidence does not necessarily prove the biblical account of origins provided in the bible’s book of Genesis. So what do you do now? More evidence is not the answer.

In 2 Timothy 2:24-25 (…the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, able to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth) we are told that biblical apologetics involves demonstrating to the unbeliever that their worldview is ultimately a contradictory one. Incidentally, there is no reason to think that Paul is only singling out a particular group of unbelievers. Any departure from scripture will ultimately lead to a contradiction since logic is a reflection of the way that the biblical God thinks and any ideas that do not coincide with biblical truth are thus antithetical to the way God thinks. Since the verse above defines “those that need repentance to the acknowledgement of the truth” as those that “contradict themselves”, we must conclude that the unbeliever is always transgressing the laws of logic when it comes to the worldview they profess.  In other words, when you perform an internal critique of the unbeliever’s worldview it will always lead to a contradiction; the only question is: how many contradictions will you find?

Paul demonstrates this technique when he delivered the gospel to the Athenian Epicurean and Stoic philosophers at Mars hill. Apparently, the Athenians were fond of idol worship and held the notion that the gods were graven idols of gold, silver and stone (Acts 17:29). They even had an altar with the inscription: “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD” which apparently was a devotion to the living God of the bible who they only knew in ignorance. As Paul is giving his presentation of the biblical God, he quotes a saying from one of their poets in order to demonstrate a contradiction in their worldview. What was the contradiction? The Athenian poet claimed (in regards to the “UNKNOWN GOD” of the bible Who lives) “for we are also His offspring” yet the Athenians simultaneously held the view that their gods were tangible entities (i.e. statues made from lifeless material). How could they be the offspring of man-made statues of stone, silver or gold? Secondly, they used their hands to create and worship their gods,  but Paul points out that the “UNKNOWN GOD” of the bible Who exclusively created all things is neither created nor worshiped with men’s hands.
Paul exposes these contradictions to them in order to demonstrate that their worldview had some serious problems. As a result of Paul’s apologetic method, we are told that God gave some of the Athenians repentance to the acknowledgement of the Truth (Acts 17:34).

One of the most common contradictions unbelievers employ is their insistence on using biblical standards and presuppositions in order to mount an attack on the bible. If you (as an unbeliever) do not believe that the biblical God exists then stop using His standard of goodness or evil to present an argument against Him. Come up with your own standards based on your Godless worldview. If you disbelieve in the biblical God then stop trying to use logic to construct an argument against Him. The laws of logic have no basis outside of the biblical worldview but especially in an atheistic worldview where typically matter is all there is. After all, can the immaterial laws of logic be detected using any scientific method or apparatus? Why should a law of logic in my mind that I adhere to (i.e. the law of non-contradiction) conform to a law in your mind since we are each composed of different matter and have different chemical reactions? Is scholarship as we know it even possible in a logic-less (and thus God-less) worldview. Again, don’t appeal to the bible’s code of moral conduct when accusing the biblical God of being unkind, uncaring or evil; if the biblical God does not exist then why on earth is it wrong for a person to dash infants into pieces just for sport (especially if doing so benefits that persons perceived survival value)? In summary, if you’re an unbeliever and can follow the preceding lines of argument, then you have been found guilty of using the laws of logic to comprehend and consume this information. You should now either switch sides or refrain from stealing presuppositions from the biblical worldview. On the other hand, outside of the biblical worldview, ultimately, there is nothing wrong with stealing; so carry on.

It is always the case that the unbeliever has no rational defense for their position and must utilize biblical presuppositions to present arguments against the bible.  So the next time someone accuses the bible of having contradictions, before trying to explain or clarify what is probably a misunderstanding of one or more biblical passages (i.e. what they perceive to be a contradiction is not really a contradiction), consider using the following reply: Why it is wrong to embrace ideas that contain contradictions since in a Godless worldview it is impossible to account for the laws of logic? Their response (if any) will ultimately betray their crutch to be something that we call the biblical worldview.