A Little Sunday Morning Calvin

Calvin contemplationI recently read Herman Hoeksema: A Theological Biography by Patrick Baskwell (a book I highly recommend), and it was nice to read again various selections from Calvin’s works that completely expose the irrationality of the so-called “well meant offer of the Gospel” and the hopelessly confused and contradictory idea that God desires the salvation of those he has no desire to save.  I realize folks on the other side love to trot out Calvin’s commentary on 2 Peter 3:9 that at first glace appears to support their cause, but one small inconsistency in a commentary does not a definitive position make and it fails to take into account his more developed thought.  Besides, Calvin is hardly the first or last to stumble on this passage in Peter.  That said, the following is the Institutes book III, chapter 22, section 10 in its entirety (even the section’s subtitle is a repudiation of the asinine and un-Reformed WMO):

10. THE UNIVERSALITY OF GOD’S INVITATION AND THE PARTICULARITY OF ELECTION

Some object that God would be contrary to himself if he should universally invite all men to him but admit only a few as elect. Thus, in their view, the universality of the promises removes the distinction of special grace; and some moderate men speak thus, not so much to stifle the truth as to bar thorny questions, and to bridle the curiosity of many.  A laudable intention, this, but the design is not to be approved, for evasion is never excusable. But those who insolently revile election offer a quibble too disgusting, an error too shameful.

I have elsewhere explained how Scripture reconciles the two notions that all are called to repentance and faith by outward preaching, yet that the spirit of repentance and faith is not given to all. Soon I shall have to repeat some of this.  Now I deny what they claim, since it is false in two ways. For he who threatens that while it will rain upon one city there will be drought in another [Amos 4:7], and who elsewhere announces a famine of teaching [Amos 8:11], does not bind himself by a set law to call all men equally. And he who, forbidding Paul to speak the word in Asia [Acts 16:6], and turning him aside from Bithynia, draws him into Macedonia [Acts 16:7 ff.] thus shows that he has the right to distribute this treasure to whom he pleases. Through Isaiah he still more openly shows how he directs the promises of salvation specifically to the elect: for he proclaims that they alone, not the whole human race without distinction, are to become his disciples [Isaiah 8:16]. Hence it is clear that the doctrine of salvation, which is said to be reserved solely and individually for the sons of the church, is falsely debased when presented as effectually profitable to all. Let this suffice for the present: although the voice of the gospel addresses all in general, yet the gift of faith is rare. Isaiah sets forth the cause: that the arm of the Lord has not been revealed to all [Isaiah 53:1]. If he had said that the gospel is maliciously and wickedly despised because many stubbornly refuse to hear it, perhaps this aspect of universal calling would have force. But it is not the prophet’s intention to extenuate men’s guilt when he teaches that the source of the blindness is that the Lord does not deign to reveal his arm to them [Isaiah 53:1]. He only warns that, because faith is a special gift, the ears are beaten upon in vain with outward teaching. Now I should like to know from these actors whether preaching alone, or faith, makes God’s sons.

Surely, when it is said that in the first chapter of John: “All who believe in the only-begotten Son of God also become sons of God themselves” [John 1:12], no confused mass is placed there, but a special rank is given to believers, “who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” [John 1:13, Vg.].

But, they say, there is a mutual agreement between faith and the Word. This is so wherever there is faith; but for seed to fall among thorns [Matthew 13:7] or on rocky ground [Matthew 13:5] is nothing new, not only because the greater part indeed show themselves obstinately disobedient to God, but because not all have been supplied with eyes and ears. How, then, shall it be consistent that God calls to himself persons who he knows will not come? Let Augustine answer for me: “You wish to argue with me? Marvel with me, and exclaim, ‘O depth!’ Let both of us agree in fear, lest we perish in error.” Besides, if election, as Paul testifies, is the mother of faith, I turn back upon their head the argument that faith is not general because election is special. For from this series of causes and effects we may readily draw this inference: when Paul states that “we have been supplied with every spiritual blessing… even as he chose us from the foundation of the world” [Ephesians 1:3-4 p.], these riches are therefore not common to all, for God has chosen only whom he willed.  This is why Paul in another place commends faith to the elect [Titus 1:1]: that no one may think that he acquires faith by his own effort but that this glory rests with God, freely to illumine whom he previously had chosen. For Bernard rightly says: “Friends listen individually when he also says to them, ‘Fear not, little flock’ [Luke 12:32], for ‘to you has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven’ [Matthew 13:11]. Who are they? ‘Those whom he has foreknown and predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son’ [Romans 8:29 p.], and to whom God’s great and secret plan has become known: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’ [2 Timothy 2:19], but what was known to God has been revealed to men. And, indeed, he does not vouchsafe to others participation in so great a mystery, save to those whom he has foreknown and predestined to become his own.” A little later he concludes: “‘The mercy of God is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear him [Psalm 103:17; 102:17, Vg.]. From everlasting because of predestination, to everlasting because of beatification—the one knowing no beginning, the other, no end.”  But why do we need to quote Bernard as a witness, when we hear from the Master’s own lips: “Only those see the Father who are from God” [John 6:46]? By these words he means that all those not reborn of God are astonished at the brightness of his countenance. And indeed, faith is fitly joined to election, provided it takes second place.

This order is elsewhere clearly expressed in Christ’s words: “This is the will of my Father, that I should not lose what he has given. This is his will, that everyone who believes in the Son may not perish” [John 6:39-40, freely rendered]. If he willed all to be saved, he would set his Son over them, and would engraft all into his body with the sacred bond of faith.  Now it is certain that faith is a singular pledge of the Father’s love, reserved for the sons whom he has adopted. Hence Christ says in another passage: “The sheep follow the shepherd, for they know his voice. But a stranger they will not follow,… for they do not know the voice of strangers” [John 10:4-5, cf. Vg.]. Whence does this distinction arise but from the fact that their ears have been pierced by the Lord? For no man makes himself a sheep but is made one by heavenly grace. Whence also the Lord teaches that our salvation will be forever sure and safe, for it is guarded by God’s unconquerable might [John 10:29]. Accordingly, he concludes that unbelievers are not of his sheep [John 10:26]. That is, they are not of the number of those who, as God promised through Isaiah, were to become disciples [cf. Isaiah 8:16; 54:13]. Now because the testimonies that I have quoted express perseverance, they at the same time attest the unvarying constancy of election.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Heresies, Theology

107 Comments on “A Little Sunday Morning Calvin”

  1. Gary M Says:

    Dear Friends,

    As an agnostic, humanist, naturalist, and frequent critic of all fundamentalist religions, in particular fundamentalist Christianity, I know you view me as the enemy. But I am actually a friend; a friend trying to rescue you; a friend trying to rescue you from a false belief system; a friend trying to rescue you from a cult.

    Imagine that I am a friend or family member and imagine that I have joined a new belief system, a belief system that believes in black magic, witches, wizards, and evil goblins that have the power to control one’s brain. In this belief system I am taught that “the movement” is right, and everyone else is wrong, and not only wrong, but evil. I am told that all my friends and family who are not members of this belief system are incapable of seeing the truth because evil goblins control their minds and blind them to the “hidden” truth that only members can see. I am told not to listen to my non-member friends and family. I am told to obey and follow, without question, the teachings of our “error-free” holy book. I am told that the leaders of the movement have special, advanced training in “the truth” and therefore I should trust that they understand the truth better than I as a layperson ever can.

    So what would you do if you really cared about me? Would you leave me in this cult without lifting a finger to rescue me? Would you refrain from criticizing my new belief system for fear of insulting me? I hope not.

    What I hope you would do is this: You would try to expose me to information that would open my eyes to the delusion that my cult has convinced me to believe as absolute, unquestioned truth. You would ask me to read information that counters the supernatural claims of my cult. You would not let me live my entire life in this false, delusional belief system without making an effort to rescue me.

    That is what I am attempting to do for you, friends. I am attempting to rescue you from a false belief system; a false belief system based on the powers of the supernatural; on the powers of MAGIC. You have been convinced that the world is controlled by magic.

    Your magical belief system tells you that witches exist and have the power to call up the dead (I Samuel chapter 28). Your magical belief system teaches you that wizards can turn walking sticks into snakes (Exodus chapter 7). Your magical belief system teaches you that goblins (demons) can enter and possess massive herds of pigs (Mark chapter 5) driving them to commit suicide. Your magical belief system tells you that blindness can be healed by rubbing mud and spit into someone’s eye sockets (John chapter 9).

    This is not a rational, informed, belief system, friends. This is an ancient, scientifically ignorant, superstition. It is magic.

    I once was a member of your cult. I know how you think. I know how your magical beliefs seem so real. But it is a delusion my friends. It isn’t real. If it were real we would still witness these fantastic, magical events occurring today…but we don’t, do we? Think about that: so many magical events allegedly occurred several thousand years ago, but you have never seen one single magical event occur in your lifetime, have you? And neither has any other rational, educated human being living today.

    It is odd how magic never happens when there are television cameras, video recorders, cell phone cameras, tape recorders, or scientific observers to verify the claim. Think about that, friends.

    Your “movement” has had 2,000 years to come up with every imaginable excuse and harmonization to explain why these alleged, ancient, supernatural events really did occur. But Hindus, Muslims, and Mormons can do the exact same thing for their supernatural claims. You may think that their excuses and harmonizations are nonsensical and easily falsifiable, but they think the same about yours!

    Bottom line, friends: Magic is not real.

    I strongly encourage you to do this:

    1. Allow for the possibility that your belief system is wrong.

    2. Read information that challenges your belief system.

    —I recommend the following websites: Bart Ehrman’s blog, Debunking Christianity, and The Secular Web.

    I am available for questions anytime.

  2. Steve M Says:

    Gary M
    Thank you for your deep concern about about my delusions. Thank you for making yourself available anytime to answer my questions. I will start with a very basic question. You claim to know what is true and what is a delusion. How do you know? On what basis do you claim to know that your belief system is true?

  3. Gary M Says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the reply. Well, there are many perspectives on reality in the world. Some cultures believe in witches, wizards, voodoo, extra-terrestials, and other supernatural realms. These perspectives on reality certainly could be true. I cannot prove them wrong, but since they cannot prove their views right other than with subjective feelings, intuition, and personal experiences which they believe validate their supernatural beliefs, I choose the scientific method, as I find it the most reliable and reproducible.

    So therefore I choose to base my belief in reality on what can be proven by the scientific method.

  4. Steve M Says:

    Gary M
    I understand you to be rsponding that the Scientific Method is the basis of your claim to know that your belief system is true. What, in your opinion, is the Scientific Method?

  5. Gary M Says:

    The scientific method:

    Science is best defined as a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge about any and all aspects of the universe, obtained by examination of the best available evidence and always subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence. What’s left is magic. And it doesn’t work. — James Randi

    It took a long while to determine how is the world better investigated. One way is to just talk about it (for example Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, stated that males and females have different number of teeth, without bothering to check; he then provided long arguments as to why this is the way things ought to be). This method is unreliable: arguments cannot determine whether a statement is correct, this requires proofs.

    A better approach is to do experiments and perform careful observations. The results of this approach are universal in the sense that they can be reproduced by any skeptic. It is from these ideas that the scientific method was developed. Most of science is based on this procedure for studying Nature.

  6. Steve M Says:

    Gary M
    My question was “What, in your opinion, is the Scientific Method?”
    I did not ask for a definition of science or a history lesson. There are certain steps that one must follow in order to understood as using the Scientific Method. You claim the Scientific Method is the basis of your knowledge that your belief system is true. I do not want to assume that you consider the same steps that I do comprise the Scientific Method. I am not certain that these steps are universally accepted. The steps I learned long ago in school are:
    1. Gather data
    2, Form a hypothesis
    3. Test the hypothesis
    4. Form a theory

    You may have a different understanding of what the Scientific Method is, but if it is a method, it will consist of certain steps. What, in your opinion, are those steps?

  7. Gary M Says:

    Yes, I would agree with your definition, but I would add one more step:

    5. Communicate your findings so that others may test your theory

    Also, in the scientific method, there are no sacred cows. There is no such thing as an absolute, inerrant belief or law. If new evidence proved the “Law of Gravity” false, the “law” would be tossed out. There is also no appealing to the supernatural or to magic. All testing is in the realm of the natural, not the supernatural.

    If you want to discuss supernatural claims, we must agree to examine them by natural means not examine them with appeals to faith.

    If we can agree to all the above, we may proceed with an agreed upon basis of discussion.

  8. justbybelief Says:

    Gary M,

    “Science is best defined as a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge about any and all aspects of the universe, obtained by examination of the best available evidence and always subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence.”

    In other words, you are your own God. And, here is the kicker: once you reject the God of the Bible and Christ His Son there is only one choice left and that’s what you’ve chosen.

    There are many things the scientific method does not and cannot address, so, science leaves you to your own devices, which brings us back to you being your own god…again.

    “If you want to discuss supernatural claims, we must agree to examine them by natural means not examine them with appeals to faith.”

    Here’s the problem: you, believing that you are God, deny that the true God has any claim on your life, all the while He gives you breath in your hostility toward Him, which, said breath, the scientific method CANNOT exhaustively explain.

    So, you being ignorant of MANY things, still assert that you are God. This is the height of arrogance. In any rational society, you’d be locked away in a padded room, but you fit right in, here, in this irrational society.

    Eric

  9. justbybelief Says:

    An ignorant lord, is no Lord at all.

  10. Gary M Says:

    Eric,

    You are using the false logic of “begging the question”. You have already concluded that the Christian god exists prior to giving any evidence to confirm that belief. So based on your a priori belief that your god exists, you condemn me for not accepting him as God, the Creator.

    If you can prove to me that the Christian god is the Creator God of the universe, I will believe you. But you must prove he exists by the scientific method. Appeals to faith, which is simply another word for unfounded superstition, are not acceptable in our modern, educated world. We no longer believe in witches, warlocks, goblins, and the Boogeyman just because someone says they exist. There are millions of superstitious beliefs on this planet, and many of them are exclusivist. We therefore cannot play it safe and believe all the superstitions that exist. We must examine them and discard them as baseless unless they can be verified with the scientific method.

    You would not accept the superstitions of some witch doctor shaking his tom toms and poking needles into voodoo dolls so why should anyone believe your supernatural superstitions. Do you see what I’m getting at, Eric? In order to sort out fact from fiction, we must have some reliable, reproducible means of examining these claims, and so far, the scientific method has prove the most reliable.

  11. justbybelief Says:

    …much less, an instructor of the ignorant.

    If the blind, lead the blind, they will both fall into a ditch.

  12. justbybelief Says:

    Gary,

    You’ve claimed Lordship of your own life, this, while living in ignorance, which, the scientific method cannot erase. You should come to the conclusion that you are unqualified to be the lord of your life and seek wisdom in some other place. But, being arrogant, you will not.

    Eric

  13. Gary M Says:

    But how can I know that I am truly “ignorant” or wrong unless I have a means of determining if I am wrong? Are you saying I should simply accept the Christian holy book as de facto truth without having a means to verify that claim?

  14. justbybelief Says:

    Gary,

    “But how can I know that I am truly ‘ignorant'”

    If you don’t know that you are ignorant, then you are ignorant.

    “Are you saying I should simply accept the Christian holy book.”

    You are unable to believe. Belief is a gift of God. God grants belief by means of communication of (hearing) the gospel. The gospel is Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and God’s imputing us with Jesus’ perfect righteousness on this basis. I would suggest reading the gospel of John.

    Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.

    Eric

  15. Sean Gerety Says:

    “Science is best defined as a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge”

    Not to interrupt all your fun, but that wasn’t Karl Popper’s position. He said in science there is no “knowledge” in the sense which Plato and Aristotle understood the word; “we never have sufficient reason for the belief that we have attained the truth.” Yet, in spite of this he insisted; “we do our best to find the truth.”

    Assuming a rational person was really interested in “doing their best to find the truth” and could even see that their chosen method could “never provide sufficient reason for the belief that we have attained the truth,” one might think they would look for a better method. The fact that most do not suggests that they’re not really interested in finding truth after all. Sounds like Gary M.

  16. justbybelief Says:

    Can the scientific method be the means of determining all knowledge, seen and unseen. If you don’t know, then you remain in ignorance.

  17. justbybelief Says:

    “The fact that most do not suggests that they’re not really interested in finding truth after all.”

    Furthermore, as the Bible states, all men are in this predicament:

    As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
    They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:…
    –Romans 3:10-13.

  18. justbybelief Says:

    I think it would be saner to seek knowledge in magic than to die, flag raised, on the mountain of the scientific method.

  19. Gary M Says:

    Based on your statements, you both believe that knowledge and truth is given to you by an invisible, inaudible supernatural being. But how do you know that this has actually occurred? Aren’t you basing your belief of your reception of hidden insight and knowledge on the accuracy of an ancient holy book? And how do you know that your ancient holy book is true in its supernatural claims, except to say that you believe it by faith. If you choose to believe your supernatural belief system by blind faith, no one can argue with you. A supernatural belief that exists only in your head cannot be proved or disproved. But neither can one prove or disprove the supernatural beliefs of a witch doctor in the deepest jungle.

  20. Sean Gerety Says:

    Gary, I don’t believe anything “by faith.” for faith and belief are the same word and in Scripture are translations of the Greek word “pistis.” It’s like you are saying; “you believe the Bible because you believe it.” OK. We’re Christians, we believe the Bible is the Word of God and is the truth. Funny, you talk a lot about your faith in science and the scientific method, but you appear oblivious to the logical fallacies inherent in the scientific method not least of which the problem of induction. Do you have any idea why Popper, an atheist, said that in science there is no “knowledge” in the sense which Plato and Aristotle understood the word? Or, is this just you grandstanding and lecturing? BTW, if it’s any consolation, I’m no fan of fundamentalism either.

  21. justbybelief Says:

    Gary,

    As has been shown to you repeatedly, to embrace the scientific method as THE means of knowledge, is insane. You then, being out of your mind have no foundation to stand on as you accuse us. As I stated above, someone who turns from the scientific method, to magic or fairy tales, is more sane than you because they’ve determined that the scientific method never arrives at truth, nor is it adequate, or even able, to address many subjects.

    Eric

  22. Gary M Says:

    “I think, therefore I am.”

    No man working six days a week, 10-12 hours a day, plowing his land would have the time to sit around and think about such nonsense. I’m not a big fan of philosophers. I think that most of them have been rich boys with too much time on their hands.

    Up until 300 or so years ago, humans did not have science or the scientific method. I believe that the scientific method is just another step forward in human evolution. Philosophy was the stepping stone between unbridled superstition and the scientific method. I’m not going to spend any time worrying about such silly philosophical nonsense has how many angels can dance on the head of a pen…or if I exist only in my own mind.

  23. Gary M Says:

    So I guess what I really should ask is this: Can you guys prove the supernatural (magical) claims of conservative/orthodox Christianity by using the scientific method or only by using Aristotilian or Platonian philosophy along with appeals to faith?

    If not, I suppose we are at a stand off, since we have no common starting point from which to begin a discussion or debate

  24. justbybelief Says:

    Gary,

    “Can you guys prove the supernatural (magical) claims of conservative/orthodox Christianity by using the scientific method…”

    Why would any sane person use an inadequate system to try and prove anything? After having been shown, why do you persist in such a path?

    “…or only by using Aristotilian or Platonian philosophy along with appeals to faith?”

    Again, an inadequate and faulty systems.

    “If not, I suppose we are at a stand off…”

    Actually, there is no stand-off, you stand in opposition to God and you cannot win. There is no hope for a draw. We’re here to proclaim, and God’s in the business of convincing. You continually push down the truth and it keeps springing up between your fingers, like grass. God is calling you now to renounce your sins and turn to Christ and be saved.

    Eric

  25. justbybelief Says:

    A little off topic, but I wonder how this will affect sites like this.

  26. Gary M Says:

    Eric,

    The problem for your supernatural based belief system is that more and more people today are adopting the scientific method as the basis of determining reality. Very soon your superstitions will hold no more influence over most people in society than do those of the witch doctor.

    As proof of my assertion, check out these facts:

    1. All Christian denominations in the United States are declining significantly in membership and baptisms. Young people in particular are leaving the Churches in droves.
    2. More and more Christians, including conservative Christians, are revising their belief systems to accommodate recent advances in scientific knowledge. Even many evangelicals now accept that the overwhelming evidence demonstrates that there was no world wide flood, that the earth is billions of years old, and that a literal six day Creation is nonsense.
    3. Most shocking of all to me is the growing acceptance among evangelical Christians of monogamous same-sex relationships. I never, ever thought that I would live to see the day that ANY evangelical Christian would believe that same sex relationships are compatible with the Bible. To me, it shows that Christianity is a man-made creation; the standards continue to change depending on the surrounding culture. Divorce is no longer even an issue in most conservative churches today and I predict that within a generation, the same with be true with same sex relationships. Conservative Christianity is dying.

  27. justbybelief Says:

    Gary,

    “The problem for your supernatural based belief system is that more and more people today are adopting the scientific method as the basis of determining reality. Very soon your superstitions will hold no more influence over most people in society than do those of the witch doctor.”

    You’re now appealing to numbers as the basis of what’s right. Good ole mom used to tell me, “If [so and so] sticks his head in a fire, are you?” This is an illogical argument and you should know better.

    The apostasy of many individuals from Christianity indicates nothing about Christianity itself but manifests the deficient character of the individuals rejecting it. If they’re dumb enough to put their head in a fire, then they will get what’s coming to them.

    Eric

  28. Sean Gerety Says:

    I suppose we are at a stand off, since we have no common starting point from which to begin a discussion or debate

    Of course it couldn’t be due to the fact that you blather on and never actually engage. You say you hate philosophy, but you don’t even know the first thing about the philosophy of science. You make passing reference to logic, yet you are totally blind to the glaring logical fallacies underlying the entire scientific method and ignorantly confuses “advances in science” with knowledge. “Scientific knowledge” is an oxymoron since science is non-cognitive.

    Here’s a link to Gordon Clark’s The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God. I suggest you read it.

    It’s written by a Christian, so are forewarned.

    Also, I have no idea what the growing apostasy of the ersatz-“evangelical Christians” is supposed to prove? You at least must concede that even if I were to throw the entire history of philosophy in the trash and concede that the scientific method actually could tell us what *is,* it could never give us what we*ought* to do. Science is certainly useful and has given us things like drones by which we can slaughter people from the comfort of an easy chair, but it can’t tell us whether we should wipe out an ISIS command post or your local elementary school. Science is sterile at that point even if atheists like you still operate on whatever leftover Christian capital that still exists in your darkened minds.

    So, since you say we’re at a “stand off,” and since this is my blog, thanks for stopping by. Feel free to come back when you actually have something to say, or at least know a little bit more about what you’re talking about. 🙂

  29. Gary M Says:

    If one has rejected traditional religion (or were never religious to start), you may be asking, “Is that all there is?” It’s liberating to recognize that supernatural beings are human creations … that there are no such things as “spirit” or “transcendence”… that people are undesigned, unintended, and responsible for themselves.

    But what’s next?

    For many, mere atheism (the absence of belief in gods and the supernatural) or agnosticism (the view that such questions cannot be answered) aren’t enough.

    Atheism and agnosticism are silent on larger questions of values and meaning. If Meaning in life is not ordained from on high, what small-m meanings can we work out among ourselves? If eternal life is an illusion, how can we make the most of our only lives? As social beings sharing a godless world, how should we coexist?

    For the questions that remain unanswered after we’ve cleared our minds of gods and souls and spirits, many atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and freethinkers turn to secular humanism.

  30. Sean Gerety Says:

    As social beings sharing a godless world, how should we coexist?

    Stalinist Russia and Maoist China are good examples.

  31. Gary M Says:

    I agree with you that atheists have committed terrible crimes, but so have religious people. The Crusades, pogroms, the Inquisition, the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are examples of horrific crimes against humanity committed by religious people.

    I do not believe that atheism in itself makes one more moral than a religious person. Atheism only addresses the issue: Is there a God? It does not address how we should interact with our fellow human beings. The scientific method does not address this issue either. That is where Secular Humanism comes in.

    I believe that it is true that Humanism may well draw many principles from the teachings of Jesus, but the teachings of Jesus (turn the other cheek) and the teachings of Humanism are in direct opposition to the teachings of the first half of the Bible (an eye for an eye). Unfortunately the early Church abandoned Jesus’ compassion for OT law and judgmentalism. I believe that it this deviation from the teachings of Jesus that has been the root cause of the crimes committed in the name of Christianity.

    I believe that the teachings of Jesus and of Buddha were a stepping stone from the brutality of the preceding millennia to modern day Humanism. So, yes, Humanism has Jesus to thank for many of its concepts, but to say that these concepts come from Christianity, in my opinion, is false. It was the Renaissance and the Enlightenment (the revival of Greek and Roman philosophy and art) and Secularism that slowly influenced Christianity to become less rigid, austere, and brutal and to behave in a more compassionate, Jesus-like manner.

  32. Gary M Says:

    I have a question for you, Steve. In the Bible, the powers of witches, wizards, and mediums are described as real. Saul sought out a medium because he obviously believed that mediums could contact the dead. He desperately wanted to speak to the dead prophet Samuel. According to the Bible, the witch of Indora had the power to call up the dead prophet as Saul requested.

    Do you believe that if I wanted to speak to someone who is dead today that I could find a medium or witch who would have this power?

  33. Sean Gerety Says:

    Gary, I thought you were a devotee of the science and the scientific method? Instead you have no morality and merely rip off, at least in the universe you inhabit, an amalgam from various religions in order to create a moral facade. You can’t account for any moral precepts at all in a silent universe and your seeming distaste for Stalin and Mao really has no basis. Yes, horrible atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, even if they pale in comparison to the mass slaughters perpetrated by the atheist state and in the name of the collective, but at least I have an objective basis to identify certain behaviors as evil. You, unfortunately, do not. Your religion is “secular humanism” but why should anyone believe that? Because it makes you feel all fuzzy?

  34. Gary M Says:

    Ok. We will have to agree to disagree in our choice of world views. I don’t think it is possible for me to prove your view wrong and vice versa.

    So how about my question about the Witch of Endor?

  35. justbybelief Says:

    “… and vice versa.”

    What! Your world view has more holes than a screen door–as has been show, and you blindly choose to cling to it. It’s like clinging to the Titanic as it plunges to the bottom of the sea.

    Forget the witch of Endor, and start with your blaring inconsistency.

  36. Sean Gerety Says:

    Forget the witch of Endor, and start with your blaring inconsistency.

    That would be a good place to start. Gary bounded onto this blog proclaiming science as the source of all knowledge that would free us from slavish bondage to God’s Word, yet he can’t even begin to defend his method that is supposed to lead us into all truth. That’s because he has no truth and he has admitted he has no morality. He has no morality because he lives in a silent universe. Actually, that’s not entirely true for he has only deluded himself into thinking there is no lawgiver to whom one day very soon he will have to give an account.

    Paul knew the secular humanists like Gary too when he said: “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”

  37. Gary M Says:

    Ok, let’s continue the discussion of my worldview: Secular Humanism:

    Secular humanism is comprehensive, touching every aspect of life including issues of values, meaning, and identity. Thus it is broader than atheism, which concerns only the nonexistence of god or the supernatural. Important as that may be, there’s a lot more to life … and secular humanism addresses it.

    Secular humanism is philosophically naturalistic. It holds that nature (the world of everyday physical experience) is all there is, and that reliable knowledge is best obtained when we query nature using the scientific method. Naturalism asserts that supernatural entities like God do not exist, and warns us that knowledge gained without appeal to the natural world and without impartial review by multiple observers is unreliable.

    Secular humanism provides a cosmic outlook—a world-view in the broadest sense, grounding our lives in the context of our universe and relying on methods demonstrated by science. Secular humanists see themselves as undesigned, unintended beings who arose through evolution, possessing unique attributes of self-awareness and moral agency.

    Secular humanists hold that ethics is consequential to be judged by results. This is in contrast to so-called command ethics, in which right and wrong are defined in advance and attributed to divine authority. “No god will save us,” declared Humanist Manifesto II (1973), “we must save ourselves.” Secular humanists seek to develop and improve their ethical principles by examining the results they yield in the lives of real men and women.

  38. Gary M Says:

    The question is constantly asked: What is the ethics of humanism? Can a society or person be moral without religion?

    Yes, indeed, affirm secular humanists. Morality is deeply rooted in the “common moral decencies” (these relate to moral behavior in society) and the “ethical excellences” (as they apply to a person’s own life).

    The common moral decencies are widely shared. They are essential to the survival of any human community. Meaningful coexistence cannot occur if they are consistently flouted. Handed down through countless generations, they are recognized throughout the world by friends and relatives, colleagues and coworkers, the native-born and immigrant, as basic rules of social intercourse. They are the foundation of moral education and are taught in the family and the schools. They express the elementary virtues of courtesy, politeness, and empathy so essential for living together; indeed, they are the very basis of civilized life itself. The common moral decencies are transcultural in their range and have their roots in generic human needs. They no doubt grow out of the long evolutionary struggle for survival and may even have some sociobiological basis, though they may be lacking in some individuals or societies since their emergence depends upon certain preconditions of moral and social development.

  39. justbybelief Says:

    Simply amazing! In all your blathering you still can’t account for ethics, Gary. Go back and read Sean’s last post, especially the last paragraph.


  40. Dear Gary M:

    1. In ethics, as a secular humanist, how would you argue against another naturalist who is not a secular humanist but is an ethical anarchist?

    For an ethical anarchist, anything goes in ethics.

    For an ethical anarchist, the killing six million Jews can be right and can be wrong.

    For an ethical anarchist, the survival of the human species can be part of his values, or not.

    How would you argue against another naturalist who is not a secular humanist but is an ethical relativist or even ethically amoral?

    2. There are many such lists, but the following is from (Berlinski 2009, 22-24) and for the moral anarchists there is nothing particularly right or wrong with these facts, they are just facts and anything goes:

    A Shockingly Happy Picture by Excess Deaths

    First World War (1914–18): 15 million
    Russian Civil War (1917–22): 9 million
    Soviet Union, Stalin’s regime (1924–53): 20 million
    Second World War (1937–45): 55 million
    Chinese Civil War (1945–49): 2.5 million
    People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong’s regime (1949–75): 40 million
    Tibet (1950 et seq.): 600,000
    Congo Free State (1886–1908): 8 million
    Mexico (1910–20): 1 million
    Turkish massacres of Armenians (1915–23): 1.5 million
    China (1917–28): 800,000
    China, Nationalist era (1928–37): 3.1 million
    Korean War (1950–53): 2.8 million
    North Korea (1948 et seq.): 2 million
    Rwanda and Burundi (1959–95): 1.35 million
    Second Indochina War (1960–75): 3.5 million
    Ethiopia (1962–92): 400,000
    Nigeria (1966–70): 1 million
    Bangladesh (1971): 1.25 million
    Cambodia, Khmer Rouge (1975–78): 1.65 million
    Mozambique (1975–92): 1 million
    Afghanistan (1979–2001): 1.8 million
    Iran–Iraq War (1980–88): 1 million
    Sudan (1983 et seq.): 1.9 million
    Kinshasa, Congo (1998 et seq.): 3.8 million
    Philippines Insurgency (1899–1902): 220,000
    Brazil (1900 et seq.): 500,000
    Amazonia (1900–1912): 250,000
    Portuguese colonies (1900–1925): 325,000
    French colonies (1900–1940): 200,000
    Japanese War (1904–5): 130,000
    German East Africa (1905–7): 175,000
    Libya (1911–31): 125,000
    Balkan Wars (1912–13): 140,000
    Greco–Turkish War (1919–22): 250,000
    Spanish Civil War (1936–39): 365,000
    Franco Regime (1939–75): 100,000
    Abyssinian Conquest (1935–41): 400,000
    Finnish War (1939–40): 150,000
    Greek Civil War (1943–49): 158,000
    Yugoslavia, Tito’s regime (1944–80): 200,000
    First Indochina War (1945–54): 400,000
    Colombia (1946–58): 200,000
    India (1947): 500,000
    Romania (1948–89): 150,000
    Burma/Myanmar (1948 et seq.): 130,000
    Algeria (1954–62): 537,000
    Sudan (1955–72): 500,000
    Guatemala (1960–96): 200,000
    Indonesia (1965–66): 400,000
    Uganda, Idi Amin’s regime (1972–79): 300,000
    Vietnam, postwar Communist regime (1975 et seq.): 430,000
    Angola (1975–2002): 550,000
    East Timor, conquest by Indonesia (1975–99): 200,000
    Lebanon (1975–90): 150,000
    Cambodian Civil War (1978–91): 225,000
    Iraq, Saddam Hussein (1979–2003): 300,000
    Uganda (1979–86): 300,000
    Kurdistan (1980s, 1990s): 300,000
    Liberia (1989–97): 150,000
    Iraq (1990– ): 350,000
    Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–95): 175,000
    Somalia (1991 et seq.): 400,000

    Reference:

    Berlinski, David. 2009. The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions. New York: Basic Books.

    Sincerely,

    Benjamin

  41. Steve M Says:

    Gary M
    Getting back to the scientific method, when one gathers data, is it necessary that the data is true or will false data work just as well for the purpose of forming an hypothesis?

  42. justbybelief Says:

    When one puts the end of knowledge in man, one makes man out to be God. This is exactly the lie that Satan promised Eve in the garden. “You shall be like God knowing good and evil.”

    The only promise of Godlessness is tyranny in one form or another.

  43. Gary M Says:

    First to Benjamin and Eric,

    A secular humanist believes that ethics have developed over millions of years as an adaptive behavior. Humans are “herd animals”. We prefer to exist in a group. We are usually not “lone wolves”.

    In order for a group to survive and flourish, the individuals in that group must often sacrifice their own desires and comfort for the good of the herd. Individuals in a group learn to look out for one another; protect one and other’s children and property, to refrain from forcing one’s sexual desires on others, etc. The development of ethics is one of the many consequences of survival of the fittest. The “herds” in which individuals looked after themselves and ignored the well being of others in the heard were easily knocked off by predators/enemies. The herds that stuck together and worked together for the mutual benefit of everyone in the group survived; their genes/DNA survived; and therefore the traits that encouraged the survival of the herd was passed down to the next generation, and the next, and the next, etc.

  44. Gary M Says:

    To Steve,

    The way you find out if the data is correct is by repeating the experiment multiple times yourself and communicating your hypothesis with others, including critics of your hypothesis, so that they can test it to confirm it or disprove it.


  45. Dear Gary M:

    You wrote: “The development of ethics is one of the many consequences of survival of the fittest.”

    But the principle of the survival of the fittest does not prescribe one unique strategy to survive.

    One strategy to survive to live co-operatively with others in groups.

    Another strategy to survive is to eliminate (or killing off) your competitors, either as individuals or groups.

    Both strategy will promote, as your wrote: “their genes/DNA survived; and therefore the traits that encouraged the survival of the herd was passed down to the next generation, and the next, and the next, etc.”

    You have yet to answer the ethical anarchists.

    Please give it another try. : – )

    Sincerely,

    Benjamin

  46. Steve M Says:

    Gary M: “The way you find out if the data is correct is by repeating the experiment multiple times…,”

    Gary, gathering data comes before forming an hypothesis. Testing the hypothesis by performing various experiments comes after forming the hypothesis, so the experiments cannot provide the basis for determining the truth of gathered data. Gathering data (i.e. making many sensory observations) is the first step in the scientific method. My question was really whether false observations qualify as data or must the observations be true to qualify?

  47. justbybelief Says:

    “A secular humanist believes that ethics have developed over millions of years as an adaptive behavior. Humans are ‘herd animals’.”

    Hmmm…the black hole of millions of years, how VERY convenient.

    Herd animals and ethics evolved from nothing over millions of years. That is a fairy tale.

    The thought of something coming from nothing is absurd at best. The possibility of two somethings, namely herd animals and their ethics, or their thoughts, coming from nothing is even more absurd. The thought of these as well as their environment including food, water, weather conditions, and all other animals on which they’re dependent and which depend on them is ludicrous. Actually, anyone who would believe such a thing is down right stupid.

    Assuming that something can actually come from nothing, and this is an impossible assumption, then acknowledging every combination of things which we can account for and the myriad of things we don’t, or can’t, account for including all the thoughts and ethics of all of the herd and non-herd animals, assuming also that animals even have thoughts, necessary for this supposed evolution to take place, and you have something happening which is utterly impossible.

    This is a fairytale, a lie really, of the greatest magnitude ever conceived in the heart of man and foisted on his kin. It really does show to what lengths sinful men will go to deny responsibility to their Creator.

  48. Gary M Says:

    Ben,

    Those individuals who are anarchist loners usually do not last long. Groups tend to ostracize or eliminate these nonconformist trouble-makers.

    What would I say to one of these guys?

    I doubt it would do much good, but what I would say is this:

    1. Do you value your own life and that of your family?

    If he says no; that he is on a suicide mission to destroy society; there is no hope of changing him.

    2. If he says yes, I would say this:

    If you value your own life and that of your family, which humanist strategy has the greatest likelihood to succeed in promoting the well-being of you and your family: a. You and your small family against the world, or, b. all of humanity seeking the betterment of all.

  49. Gary M Says:

    Steve:

    To review, the scientific method is:

    1. Gather data
    2, Form a hypothesis
    3. Test the hypothesis
    4. Form a theory
    5. Communicate your findings so that others may test your theory

    Your question: My question was really whether false observations qualify as data or must the observations be true to qualify?

    Hmm. Well, observations are the input that we receive from the senses—sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing—regarding a particular phenomenon. So let’s take the question: Where does rain come from?

    So if I observe numerous events when it is raining, one observation I would have is that rain only occurs when there are clouds in the sky. It never rains on a sunny day when there is not one cloud in the sky.

    Is this a “true” observation? Maybe there really aren’t any clouds. Maybe what I think are clouds are really shadows falling on my retina as the sun attempts to shine through the rain. If that were the case, then my observation data would be false.

    But that isn’t the point of collecting data. We collect what our senses perceive, then were proceed to the next step of the scientific method and continue from there. If one day we find that our senses deceived us, we simply alter our hypothesis.

    If we humans refused to accept the sensory data that we receive as valid data, but waited for confirmation of the truthfulness of that data before forming hypotheses and acting on it, many of our ancestors would have ended up as the evening meal of saber tooth tigers, and we as a species would have perished long ago.

    Bottom line, I believe that data is data. It is not true or false. It exists. Our hypothesis about that data may be wrong, but not the data.

  50. Gary M Says:

    Eric:

    1. I never said that I believe that everything came from nothing. I am an agnostic. I have no opinion on how the universe began. I await more evidence. Maybe it is true: the first “something” has always existed, whether that be a supernatural being or a cloud of hydrogen gas.

    2. If you say that a cloud of hydrogen gas cannot have existed forever, then I must ask you, how then can a god have existed for ever?

    If you believe that it is impossible for something to exist from nothing, then you have to explain how your god exists from nothing. If you appeal to the Bible, you must then prove why I should believe the Bible to be true. If you appeal to blind faith to believe the Bible, which tells me that your god has existed forever and therefore is something from nothing, I will say that you are being inconsistent and can no more prove your blind faith is accurate than can the witch doctor in the jungle.


  51. Dear Gary M:

    1. Why presume the ethical anarchists are loners?

    Again, for an ethical anarchist, anything goes in ethics.

    An ethical anarchist needs not be a political anarchist.

    An ethical anarchists can be a Nazi in National Socialists Germany that helped killed the Jews.

    An ethical anarchists can be a Red Guard in the Cultural Revolution in China that heaped untold havocs.

    An ethical anarchists can be a successful entrepreneur in the USA that is a billionaire.

    An ethical anarchists can even be an antinomian Christian.

    An ethical anarchists can be anyone for anything goes.

    When you wrote:

    “Those individuals who are anarchist loners usually do not last long. Groups tend to ostracize or eliminate these nonconformist trouble-makers”

    Are you confusing the ethical anarchists with political anarchists?

    2. The reason why I brought up ethical anarchism is because as I understand things:

    (a) Naturalism is intrinsically amoral.

    Since a naturalistic universe is an intrinsically amoral universe, any morality claims by a naturalist is a contingent claim.

    All morality are contingent implies there are no moral absolutes which in turn implies either amorality or moral relativity.

    Ethical anarchism can be interpreted as either a form of amoralism or moral relativism.

    (b) The principle of the survival of the fittest, as a principle of biological evolution, implies no moral principles of its own: what is, is; what survives, survives.

    The ethical system that best fits the principle of the survival of the fittest is ethical anarchism — the ethical principle that anything goes.

    (c) I appreciate the humanism of secular humanism.

    But reading secular humanism as a form of naturalism, the morality of secular humanism is not an integral part of its naturalism but an ad hoc add-on.

    The ad hoc-ness of the morality of the secular humanists can be clearly seen by contrasting it with the morality that is a natural, integral part of (naturalism + the principle of the survival of the fittest): ethical anarchism.

    3. The above are the reasons I asked the question:

    “In ethics, as a secular humanist, how would you argue against another naturalist who is not a secular humanist but is an ethical anarchist?”

    You have not answer the ethical anarchists.

    Can you please give it yet another try? : – )

    Sincerely,

    Benjamin


  52. Correction:

    I unnecessarily introduced the concept of contingency in 2(a) and makes the reasoning circular.

    2(a) should be:

    Naturalism is intrinsically amoral.

    There are no moral absolutes in a naturalistic universe that is intrinsically amoral.

    There are no moral absolutes implies either amorality or moral relativity.

    Ethical anarchism can be interpreted as either a form of amoralism or moral relativism.

    Sincerely,

    Benjamin

  53. justbybelief Says:

    “If you believe that it is impossible for something to exist from nothing, then you have to explain how your god exists from nothing.”

    Actually, no one here believes that God came into existence, He always is.

    Your absurdity lies in believing that impersonal things have came into existence by themselves and something you didn’t address, guided their own survival to this point. You haven’t addressed, all the necessary influences that brought EVERYTHING to this point with ALL the interrelations.

    I don’t look at this at proof, but the probability of something like this happening outside CREATIVE DESIGN is practically NOTHING.

    So, assuming the scientific method can prove something, it surely does not support your claim of a DESIGNER-LESS universe.

  54. justbybelief Says:

    “I am an agnostic. I have no opinion on how the universe began. I await more evidence.”

    Let me get this straight: You, who claim to know nothing, presume to teach and try to convince, us, that we can know nothing, and/or that we, should await evidence that proves nothing. This is the height of arrogance.

    Has anyone remove the sharp objects from your possession?

  55. Sean Gerety Says:

    It holds that nature (the world of everyday physical experience) is all there is, and that reliable knowledge is best obtained when we query nature using the scientific method.

    Your belief in science as a source of knowledge is as quaint as it is uninformed. You seriously need to read the book I linked to above. But, if you are just prejudiced against Christians as you are of the one true God and couldn’t stomach reading Gordon Clark, then I would suggest Karl Popper’s Conjectures and Refutations. Or, at the very least, since I suspect you are a man who doesn’t like to think too hard, read Popper’s short piece, The Problem of Induction here: http://dieoff.org/page126.htm.

    But, if you don’t like the great Christian philosopher and theologian Clark, and you don’t like the great atheist philosopher of science, Popper, how about Bertrand Russell who said induction, on which all science is based, “remains an unsolved problem of logic.” He explained the scientific method, the method on which you say is the one true source of “reliable knowledge” rests on a logical fallacy. Russell explained:

    All inductive arguments in the last resort reduce themselves to the following form: “If this is true, that is true: now that is true, therefore this is true.” This argument is, of course, formally fallacious. Suppose I were to say: “If bread is a stone and stones are nourishing, then this bread will nourish me; now this bread does nourish me; therefore it is a stone, and stones are nourishing.” If I were to advance such an argument, I should certainly be thought foolish, yet it would not be fundamentally different from the arguments upon which all scientific laws are based. – See more at: http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=35#sthash.3pNUDbd1.dpuf

    I mean, really Gary, I understand your disdain for Christianity. After all Paul said in Romans; “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” However, even you must realize your entire worldview, your entire secular religion, is self-refuting and stands in the face of logic which, ironically, is rooted in your rejection of the one true God of the Bible.

    Funny how that works.

    Yes, indeed, affirm secular humanists. Morality is deeply rooted in the “common moral decencies”

    FWIW I think secular humanists like yourself are a bunch of effete and deluded collectivist materialist lacking the intellectual honesty of a man like Russell who didn’t shy away from the logical conclusions of his underlying beliefs. To his credit Russell understood the “ethics” of science much better than you do, even though I am sure you can see yourself clearly in his remarks since he despised Christian morality and so-called “superstition” at least as much as you do:

    Christian ethics is in certain fundamental respects opposed to the scientific ethic which is gradually growing. Christianity emphasizes the importance of the individual soul and is not prepared to sanction the sacrifice of an innocent man for the sake of some ulterior good to the majority …. The new ethic which is gradually growing in connection with scientific technique will have its eye upon society rather than upon the individual. It will have little use for the superstition of guilt and punishment, but will be prepared to make individuals suffer for the public good without inventing reasons purporting to show that they deserve to suffer. In this sense it will be ruthless, and according to traditional ideas immoral, but the change will have come about naturally through the habit of viewing society as a whole rather than as a collection of individuals…. [M]en have hitherto shrunk from inflicting sacrifices which were to be unjust. I think it probable that the scientific idealists of the future will be free from this scruple, not only in time of war, but in time of peace also. In overcoming the difficulties of the opposition that they will encounter, they will find themselves organized into an oligarchy of opinion such as is found in the Communist Party in the U.S.S.R.

    As good a picture of secular humanist ethics as any I’ve seen.

    Secular humanists hold that ethics is consequential to be judged by results.

    Yeah, we’ve seen the results from the 70 million Ukrainians starved to death by Stalin to the 55 + million babies killed by abortion in America alone since 1973. Not to mention that impressive death toll Benjamin listed above. The glories of secular humanism never cease.

    You must appreciate the utter hypocrisy of living off the moral capital of Christianity while spitting in Christ’s face.

  56. Gary M Says:

    Benjamin,

    I don’t believe that an entity called “moral absolutes” exists. Morals are what the “herd” in question defines them to be. However, in order for any “herd” to exist, there are some basic, universal rules/morals that almost all “herds” follow.

  57. justbybelief Says:

    “I don’t believe that an entity called “moral absolutes” exists. Morals are what the “herd” in question defines them to be. However, in order for any “herd” to exist, there are some basic, universal rules/morals that almost all “herds” follow.”

    You don’t find this contradictory?

    It’s humorous how God created the universe and everything in it–seen and unseen. You just can’t escape Him, Gary. In order to prove your own theories you are always obligated to come back to those principles that point to God’s existence. It’s like the fellow who claims, “There is no truth!”

  58. justbybelief Says:

    Gary,

    I noticed that you have twopeople in your circle. This certainly does not give you any scientific credence. Most scientists would scrap their conjectures.

    Eric

  59. Sean Gerety Says:

    I don’t believe that an entity called “moral absolutes” exists. Morals are what the “herd” in question defines them to be.

    And if the herd in charge decides the slaughter of millions is justified then it is moral to slaughter millions. Thanks Gary. You’re a real salesman for secular humanism. 😉

  60. Gary M Says:

    First we need to be clear: atheism and secular humanism are not synonymous. Neither Stalin nor Mao were humanists. And, not all humanists are secular humanists.

    Secular humanism seeks to maximize the well-being and happiness of the individual. The individual is the focus of secular humanism. The individual is not the focus of communism. However, there are limitations: one person’s happiness and well-being must not result in the unhappiness and detriment of another human being. This is the delicate balance that Secular Humanism encourages human beings to continually fine tune.

    Let’s take a look at some major issues that have confronted the people of North America and see how conservative Christians and humanists have approached them:

    1. Tolerance of religious diversity.

    It is true that America was founded by persons seeking religious freedom, but the truth is that they were seeking religious freedom only for themselves, not others. The history of the American colonies is full of horrific persecution of religious minorities. Humanists (deists) such as Franklin, Jefferson, and others proposed religious tolerance mainly due to the abuses of conservative Christians in the colonies, not that in mother England.

    2. Slavery

    One of the most horrific practices of mankind was trumpeted by conservative Christians for 1,800 years as an institution condoned by God. The Old and New Testament both condone the keeping of slaves. Liberal Christians and deists (humanists) opposed this institution as contrary to the principles of democracy and individual human rights, regardless of what the Christian holy book stated. The majority of Americans decided that in the case of slavery, the principles of Secular Humanism were more important than following the Holy Bible.

    3. Subjugation of Women

    For 1,900 years, conservative/orthodox Christianity supported the subjugation of women in society, denying women positions of leadership and denying them the right to participate in government and to vote. The principles of humanism gave women the right to vote, not conservative Christianity and its support of the biblical position of the “submission of women” to men in the church and home, and by insinuation—society.

    4. Sabbath Laws

    Why should a Jewish, Muslim, or secular humanist be forced to close his or her business on the Christian holy day? Yet, conservative Christians have imposed “blue laws” on non-Christians for almost 2,000 years.

    5. Segregation/Jim Crow

    Once again, conservative Christians used the Bible to discriminate against persons of African descent due to an alleged curse placed by God on the ancestor of the black race. The separation of the races, especially in the case of mixed-race marriages, was touted as the will of the Christian God. Humanists helped to defeat this conservative Christian social injustice.

    6. Sexuality

    No sector of human activity is more regulated by conservative Christianity than what one does with his or her genitals, even what happens with them in the privacy of one’s own bedroom. Fornication laws were rampant in the colonies. Placing “fornicators” in the stocks and even branding them was common practice. Today, conservative Christians for the most part have given up trying to regulate what heterosexual adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms, but conservative Christians still want to deny same-sex adults the right to exercise personal liberty in their bedrooms. If it were not for Secular Humanism, conservative Christianity would have Big Brother sitting in your bedroom, monitoring your every move!

    In conclusion, the history of the United States is one of an intense, ongoing struggle between the forces of conservative Christianity and their desire for a Christian Theocracy, against the forces of liberal Christians, deists, and humanists and their desire for a secular society in which the flourishing and happiness of the individual is the utmost priority, free of religious dogma and superstition.

  61. Steve M Says:

    Gary M: “Bottom line, I believe that data is data. It is not true or false. It exists. Our hypothesis about that data may be wrong, but not the data.”

    I asked: “My question was really whether false observations qualify as data or must the observations be true to qualify?”

    I see. Your answer is”yes” and “no.” Data is neither true nor false. So data is not facts. Facts are true. Hypotheses can be based upon non-facts and yet somehow yield scientific “truth”. How does this so-called scientific truth differ from ordinary truth?

  62. Steve M Says:

    Gary M
    You have written somewhat of a summary of your belief system above. You are contending that your beliefs are true. You have stated that the basis for your knowledge that your belief system is true is the scientific method.

    I fail to see how the scientific method could be the basis for the above beliefs.

    You wrote: “Secular humanism seeks to maximize the well-being and happiness of the individual. The individual is the focus of secular humanism. The individual is not the focus of communism. However, there are limitations: one person’s happiness and well-being must not result in the unhappiness and detriment of another human being. This is the delicate balance that Secular Humanism encourages human beings to continually fine tune.”

    How did you arrive at any of this using the scientific method? Could you please take me through the steps and demonstrate how you were able to arrive at these propositions by gathering (neither true nor false) data and from that data forming an hypothesis which you then tested in some way and from the results formulated the above theory?

    You began posting on this blog in a very condescending manner. I would think that someone who obviously thinks quite highly of himself would be concerned about making himself look like a buffoon, but apparently it doesn’t bother you.

  63. Sean Gerety Says:

    First we need to be clear: atheism and secular humanism are not synonymous. Neither Stalin nor Mao were humanists. And, not all humanists are secular humanists.

    So, Gary, the reason you’re not a Stalinist or a Nazi is just a matter of personal taste. Killing 6 million Jews or 70 million Ukranians is not objectively wrong and certainly not “evil,” since that would requite moral absolutes. Rather these are just not to your liking. Got it.

    This is the delicate balance that Secular Humanism encourages human beings to continually fine tune.

    And, to Benjamin’s point which you just ignored, anyone can simply violate your “delicate balance” with impunity. It’s not really a herd mentality that governs you, it’s really might makes right.

    It is true that America was founded by persons seeking religious freedom, but the truth is that they were seeking religious freedom only for themselves, not others. The history of the American colonies is full of horrific persecution of religious minorities. Humanists (deists) such as Franklin, Jefferson, and others proposed religious tolerance mainly due to the abuses of conservative Christians in the colonies, not that in mother England.

    LOL. Too funny. Religious freedom and liberty of conscience were central principles of the Reformation, ideas that long predate “secular humanism.”

    2. Slavery
    One of the most horrific practices of mankind was trumpeted by conservative Christians for 1,800 years as an institution condoned by God.

    LOL. Again, too funny. The entire emancipation movement was dominated by, yep, you guessed it conservative bible believing Christians both here and abroad and who were guided by that “holy book” you deride. Last I checked William Wilberforce was no “secular humanist.”

    The Old and New Testament both condone the keeping of slaves. Liberal Christians and deists (humanists) opposed this institution as contrary to the principles of democracy and individual human rights,

    LOL, again! The laughs keep coming. You oppose slavery on what basis? Since you can’t have any legitimate moral objections to Stalin, and have admitted you are a moral relativist, I hardly think you have any ground to object to slavery.

    I’ll skip the rest since you have already admitted you have no objective basis to oppose anything, much less take a moral stance based on anything more than your own “feeeeeelings.”

    As for sexuality, yep, conservative Christianity does recognize homosexuality, adultery and pedophilia as objectively sinful behaviors to name just three. OTOH, you cannot object to anything since you’ve already told me there are no moral absolutes. It’s just a matter of your personal taste and tastes change. Yet, Jesus came and died for sinners, but in the secular fantasy land you live in there are no sinners, only moral blank checks.

  64. Gary M Says:

    “Religious freedom and liberty of conscience were central principles of the Reformation, ideas that long predate “secular humanism.” ”

    Wrong. Lutherans and Calvinists sought religious liberty for themselves only. Many an Anabaptist were executed by devout followers of the Reformation. Luther even gave his consent to the burning at the stake of Anabaptists.

  65. justbybelief Says:

    “Secular humanism seeks to maximize the well-being and happiness of the individual.”

    We’ve been arguing epistemology. On what basis? If you have no basis then your statement is groundless and your so called “well-being and happiness of the individual” is fleeting at best. But, as has been pointed out, you borrow on Christian capital while spitting in Christ’s face.

    “but conservative Christians still want to deny same-sex adults the right to exercise personal liberty in their bedrooms.”

    Here’s your misunderstanding: Rights come from God as acknowledged by the Declaration of Independence and almost every state constitution. Does God grant you the authority to walk into a crowded building and yell fire when there is no fire? You may have the freedom to do this, but you don’t have the authority–the right–to do this. Similarly, you may have the freedom to commit sodomy or some other unseemly sexual act but you have no authority to do so. Since you have no authority to do so it cannot be an action the government protects or sanctions. Government is not authorized to protect sinful acts though it most often does. Government has no authority to change the meaning of words and institutions established by God simply because some deviant wants the same status for his perversion as is given to marriage.

    Your greatest problem evinced in your diatribe is that you accuse God of sin and don’t account for, in many cases, erring Christians. Some things you miss altogether are the many Christian abolitionists, or the Christians who speak out and march against the murder of innocent babies who are extracted from the womb with forceps and stabbed in the back of the head with scissors or those who’ve been burned alive with saline in the sanctuary of a there mothers womb and thrown into a stainless steel pan.

    You problem is that you treat ethics, and all ethics are Christian ethics, like a buffet taking what you want and leaving the rest. And you do this to suit your own sinful purposes.

  66. justbybelief Says:

    “Many an Anabaptist were executed by devout followers of the Reformation.”

    Many of the Anabaptist were killed because they started wars to overthrow established governments to form sectarian religious governments (something you’ve been arguing against by the way).

  67. Gary M Says:

    “Rights come from God as acknowledged by the Declaration of Independence and almost every state constitution.”

    There is no mention of the name of the Christian god anywhere in the US Constitution or Bill of Rights except for the then standard reference to time “in the year of our Lord”. The deists who wrote our founding documents made no mention of Jesus Christ or the trinitarian Christian god whose name is God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Instead they referred to a generic Creator, “God”.

    You can argue all day long that morality was established by this same generic Creator god, but you cannot prove that morality was established by the Christian god as the Christian god’s behavior in the Old Testament is the exact opposite of what even Christians today consider moral. The Christian god of the OT was a vindictive self-absorbed, blood-thirsty, baby-slaughtering monster. It is impossible that this psychopath is the author of anything remotely resembling morality.

  68. Gary M Says:

    My work here is done, my friends.

    I hope that at least some of you will one day see the hideous errors of your ancient middle-eastern superstition and magic-based belief system and will adopt a more compassionate, science and reason based humanistic world view.

    Peace.

    Gary

  69. justbybelief Says:

    “There is no mention of the name of the Christian god anywhere in the US Constitution or Bill of Rights except for the then standard reference to time “in the year of our Lord”. The deists who wrote our founding documents made no mention of Jesus Christ or the trinitarian Christian god whose name is God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Instead they referred to a generic Creator, ‘God.'”

    Most of the founders were Christians. What most fail to understand is that the Constitution, is a LIMITED document to establish very FEW centralized powers the rest being left to the states. The Bill of Rights was added to clarify and further restrict these limited powers.

    “You can argue all day long that morality was established by this same generic Creator god, but you cannot prove that morality was established by the Christian god as the Christian god’s behavior in the Old Testament is the exact opposite of what even Christians today consider moral. The Christian god of the OT was a vindictive self-absorbed, blood-thirsty, baby-slaughtering monster. It is impossible that this psychopath is the author of anything remotely resembling morality.”

    It is obvious that you are ignorant of the fact that you are a sinner deserving of God’s righteous wrath because of your immoral deeds which you’ve practiced every day. If He were to snuff out your life at this very moment in the most violent way, you would only be getting what you deserve, and in it, you would have no just objection. Moreover, you deserve to spend eternity suffering the punishment due you for your sin in Adam and for all your actual sins which flow from it, which punishment, every man, woman, and child who ever lived deserves. The fact that God shows mercy at all is a testament to His character.

    “Peace”

    Nonsense! You hate God and His Son Jesus Christ; consequently, you hate God’s people. This is knowledge that is not derived from the scientific method but is revealed from heaven.

  70. Steve M Says:

    I say, “Good bye, Gary” as he runs off with his tail between his legs.

  71. Gary M Says:

    Good people. No one deserves to be burned alive in horrific agony in a pit of fire, for all eternity, for ANY crime, let alone for eating some god’s forbidden fruit. The story of Adam and Eve, the walking/talking snake, and forbidden fruit that gives one the knowledge of Good and Evil is blatant, superstitious, ignorant, goat-herding, nomadic, middle-eastern nonsense.

    If any other culture or religion taught this silly nonsense you would laugh at them, but you buy this nonsense hook and sinker because your parents told you it was true when you were an impressionable toddler.

    Conservative Christianity perpetuates a cult of fear, not love. Conservative Christianity follows the same practices of every other cult on the face of the earth: They entice you in with promises of love and “eternal life”, but keep you in using terror—leave and you will be burned alive…for ever. Cults like conservative Christianity also tell you not to listen to outsiders. “Outsiders do not have the special insight that insiders do”, and these cults tell you that the leaders of the cult have special knowledge which you as a layperson cannot grasp (You’re stupid, so just do what we say.)

    It is nonsense, friends. Don’t let their theological psyco-babble intimidate you. If Eric and Steve were truly following the teachings of Jesus that would respond to my criticism with love and compassion, not with self-righteous hate, salivating at the mouth for my imminent demise and eternal torture in Yaweh’s cauldron of fire.

    Escape the fundamentalist/conservative Christian cult!

  72. Sean Gerety Says:

    For a guy who says all morality is the product of the “herd” and there are no moral absolutes, you certainly do protest as if they exist.

  73. justbybelief Says:

    Gary,

    ” If Eric and Steve were truly following the teachings of Jesus that would respond to my criticism with love and compassion, not with self-righteous hate, salivating at the mouth for my imminent demise and eternal torture in Yaweh’s cauldron of fire.”

    I guess that wasn’t goodbye, Steve.

    To a secular humanist, I suppose it seems like hate when one tries to pry you off of the love of your sin so that you turn to Christ and be saved.

    Just to give you a glimpse, the law condemns, that’s its primary use–to show us our sin. Christ is the remedy for sin. He took the punishment we deserve for our actual sins and for the sin inherited in Adam. God credits Christ’s righteousness to us upon belief, yes that’s the “nasty” God of the OT. This is the way people are saved from the first people who believed it–Adam and Eve–all the way up to the very end. God is gracious though He is not obligated to be. I communicated this to you from the beginning, but you didn’t receive it. Don’t feel to bad most people can’t handle straight law, and you’re no different. Moses even trembled. It is good to be afraid of the wrath of God. If you don’t fear God you’ll see no need of Christ.

    Eric


  74. Dear Sean:

    You wrote: “For a guy who says all morality is the product of the ‘herd’ and there are no moral absolutes, you certainly do protest as if they exist.”

    Secular humanism has too optimistic a view of human nature.

    It is Biblical Christianity that has a realistic view:

    (a) Man is created in the image of God so there is nobility to his nature.

    (b) Man has fallen in sin so there is also an ugliness to his nature.

    We need moral absolutes that have a claim and are binding on us to restrain us from our sinful dispositions.

    The list of war dead by David Berlinski is no laughing matter.

    It represents the untold and unspeakable sufferings of hundreds of millions of people.

    I am thankful God has given his law to us to teach us what is right and wrong and to restrain us by its sanctions.

    I am most grateful to God for providing salvation for us from our sin through Jesus Christ.

    Sincerely,

    Benjamin

  75. Sean Gerety Says:

    The list of war dead by David Berlinski is no laughing matter.

    No it isn’t, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be for a secular humanist.

    As we’ve just seen Gary just manufactures so-called “morality” out of thin air and admits there is no real right or wrong. He just hopes and prays (to himself, for who else can he pray too) that his little collective will live together in harmony like some maudlin chorus from a John Lennon song. He doesn’t realize that morality requires a sovereign, a lawgiver, and if he won’t have the one true God of Scripture as his sovereign what he will get is a Pol Pot, a Stalin, a Mao, an Ayatollah, and on and on. Only biblical Christianity can provide the basis for a representative democracy and individual liberty. Along with the Clark book I recommended above, he should read John Robbins’ little booklet, Christ and Civilization.

  76. justbybelief Says:

    “representative democracy”

    Actually, this is a republic

  77. Sean Gerety Says:

    I agree we’re a republic, but they are Interchangeable terms as far as I’m concerned.

  78. justbybelief Says:

    This is one of the reasons we’re in the boat we’re in today–the misconception of what form of gov’t we have.

    I don’t deny that there are democratic principles embedded in our system, however, those representatives are bound to law no matter how people vote.

    Individual rights in our system trump the will of the majority. But, I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t already know.

  79. Sean Gerety Says:

    I think we are in agreement. Regardless and just to go back to Gary’s earlier point since it wasn’t addressed, I completely agree that the God of Scripture cannot be proven. The so-called “classical proofs” have all failed and thankfully so, for if they were sound they would dis-prove the God of Scripture. As it is, we accept Scripture as true *axiomatically* which makes sense since you cannot know anything about anyone, including God, apart from some degree of self-revelation. Further, the Scriptures, unlike secular humanism which, as we have seen, is self-refuting, are self-attesting. Among other things, and in the words of the WCF, the logical “consent of all the parts” evidence that the Bible is the Word of God. Or, as Gordon Clark observed:

    If, nonetheless, it can be shown that the Bible — in spite of having been written by more than thirty-five authors over a period of fifteen hundred years — is logically consistent, then the unbeliever would have to regard it as a most remarkable accident . . . Logical consistency, therefore, is evidence of inspiration. — God’s Hammer p. 16.

    Further, if someone could prove Scripture than there would have to be something more basic, something prior, to God’s own self-revelation from which He might be deduced which is impossible. In addition to asking the impossible, our friend Gary wants God to be *proven* scientifically, using the scientific method. A very odd request since, as we have seen, his beliefs in secular humanism cannot be validly inferred from science either. He can’t demonstrate even one of his core beliefs. Even worse, he doesn’t even grasp that science cannot prove anything and that all of the conclusions of science, even the most useful and benign, are false and were arrived through a series of fallacies, induction being the most basic. And, that’s not just Christians like Gordon Clark who are saying that, but world renowned atheists and philosophers like Popper and Russell as well.

    However, once a sinner humbles himself and accepts Christ as his savior and the Scriptures as God’s inerrant word one gets a defensible ethics, sound economics, an account of logic, a constitutional republic, not to mention forgiveness of sins and life ever after (which makes suffering this sin sick world possible) and so much more. While Gary can only preach the fictitious and groundless virtues of secularism, he remains blind to emptiness of his materialism masking it with the very Christian capital he reviles to give his sterile secularism the facade of “humanism.” What a paltry substitute.

  80. Gary M Says:

    For my friend, Eric (Justbybelief):

    One interesting thing that I have noticed about many conservative Christians with whom I have discussed the evidence for their belief system is that when you debate them regarding their Faith’s supernatural claims, they suddenly become philosophers. They ask you such deep philosophical questions as, “How do you determine reality?”, “How do you know that YOU really exist?”, “How do you know that you don’t exist only in your own mind? If you can’t be sure that YOU exist, how can you be so sure that (the Christian) God does not exist and that the Bible’s supernatural claims do not exist?”

    However, ask these same Christian “philosophers” about the supernatural claims of Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, and other supernatural based Faiths, and they will wave them off with a simple, “Their beliefs are nonsense and unprovable.”

    Nope. You don’t need an advanced degree in Philosophy and Theology to see that the supernatural claims of the Bible are false. All you need is a little common sense: Extraordinary (supernatural) claims demand extraordinary evidence. Philosophical and theological psycho-babble is a poor substitute for evidence.

  81. Gary M Says:

    “If, nonetheless, it can be shown that the Bible — in spite of having been written by more than thirty-five authors over a period of fifteen hundred years — is logically consistent…”

    Oh my goodness.

    The 66 books of the Bible are only deemed “consistent” by Christians because they have had 2,000 years to create the most mindboggling harmonizations imaginable.

    Can one read Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and the Epistle of James and say that they are consistent?? Absolutely not. Not without twisting yourself into a pretzel. Which is it: Salvation by faith as Paul proclaims, or, salvation by faith and works, as James proclaims? These two books are consistently inconsistent with each other except to…someone who has been brainwashed by their preacher and Sunday School teacher to read into the passage of James something that James does not say.

    And what about the epistles of Paul compared to the Gospels? The Jesus of the Gospels is nowhere to be found in the writings of Paul. No mention of a virgin birth. No mention of Bethlehem. No mention of even one of Jesus’ sermons; Jesus’ parables; or Jesus’ miracles. Not one! Not one mention of any of these fantastic works of the Son of God is Paul’s writings! And we are to believe that Paul never mentions any of these details because he was focused on specific problems in his letters?? Wouldn’t the best response to a problem in a Christian church be to repeat the teachings of Jesus in his exact words?? But nope, not Paul. Paul has his own PERSONAL, internal, revelations from “Christ”. Things which he learned from “no man”, but directly from “Christ”.

    The “Christ” of Paul and the Jesus of the Gospels bare little if any resemblance to one another.

    Let’s compare Jesus teachings to Paul’s teachings: Talk about inconsistency! Jesus never ONCE says that the Law is abolished. Never once does Jesus tell his disciples that the practice of circumcision is no longer necessary or that one of his followers can eat unclean food. Jesus said that the Law will never pass away. But Paul and his sidekick “Luke”, the author of the Book of Acts, abolish circumcision and the dietary laws overnight…based on whose authority?

    And let’s look at the Old Testament versus the New Testament: Consistent? No way! The Patriarchs knew nothing about an afterlife or Hell. They expected to “go down to Sheol” and rest with their forefathers…in the grave. That’s it. The concept of Hell is a Hellenistic bastardization of Judaism.

    What about all the prophecies in the OT that Christians assert are prophecies that are fulfilled in the NT by Jesus? A closer look at these prophecies shows that not one of them is talking about Jesus. Isaiah’s prophecy of a virgin birth? Wrong. It was a prophecy about a young woman giving birth at the time of King Hezekiah, not at some point in the future. How about Isaiah 53? Is Jesus the Suffering Servant? Nope. Just read the previous five chapters and you will see who the Suffering Servant is: Israel, the Hebrew god’s people, spoken of in the singular.

    There is nothing consistent about the Bible except its inconsistency.

  82. justbybelief Says:

    “How do you determine reality?”

    Epistemology is a legitimate endeavor. People used to be absorbed by it. Not so much any more.

  83. Gary M Says:

    Continuing from above:

    How many Christians have read the Creation Story in Genesis chapter TWO? That’s right. Genesis chapter two, not chapter one (that is a completely different Creation Story).

    If an all-knowing God wrote the Bible then he must have been suffering from Alzheimer’s when he wrote Genesis chapter 2 because he obviously didn’t remember on which day or in what order he created what. Here is an excerpt from Genesis chapter 2:

    When no bush of the field[a] was yet in the land[b] and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist[c] was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    So wait! Man was created first, then God made the Garden, and then God made trees???

    So the Bible STARTS off with contradictions right from the get go!

    The problem with the Bible is that we Christians (yes, I was a Christian for 52 years) read it shotgun style. We read a shot here and a shot there. Very few Christians have ever taken out their Bibles and read it in parallel: Read the same story in two different books of the Bible Do it right now. Get two Bibles, open one up to Genesis chapter one and the other to Genesis chapter two. Read one verse from each chapter one right after another. What will you see? Both Creation stories cannot be correct!

    While you are doing some parallel reading of the Bible, check out reading these stories in parallel:

    Look up on the internet all the discrepancies between accounts in Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy with the same stories in the Chronicles and Kings, for instance the descendents of Benjamin.

    Then read the four gospel accounts of the Resurrection story in parallel.

    Inconsistencies pop up everywhere!

    Anyone who says that the 66 books of the Bible are consistent has never read the Bible in parallel.

  84. justbybelief Says:

    “yes, I was a Christian for 52 years”

    Obviously, you never were a Christian.

  85. Gary M Says:

    Yes, Eric, I know that my earnest and sincere faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior is invalid due to your Calvinist doctrine, but maybe its your doctrine that is wrong.

  86. justbybelief Says:

    Sorry to disappoint you, Gary, but it’s not my doctrine. If you had faith, it would still be present, but since it’s not present, it was never present.

  87. Gary M Says:

    Yes, if your doctrine is correct, I never had real faith, it was fake faith. However, isn’t it also possible that I truly did believe and did have faith, but my faith was misplaced. I believed with all my heart and soul in the magical reanimation of a first century man who has been dead for 2,000 years.

    Jesus is dead, Eric. There is no evidence that he is alive and ruler of the universe except in your feelings-based intuition based on your blind faith in an error-riddled ancient middle eastern holy book. You are welcome to believe that you have an invisible special friend watching out for you, who has promised to prevent you from burning in his eternal fire pit, but the witch doctor in the jungle is just as justified, and can provide just as much evidence of support, in believing that his voodoo dolls actually speak to him.

  88. justbybelief Says:

    Wow, Gary! You are evidence that the Bible is true.

    “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
    –Romans 8:7

  89. Gary M Says:

    If the Christian God really loves you as much as the Bible says he does, why does he hold Hell over your head to make sure that you do what he says? That isn’t love, Eric, that is sadistic abuse.

    Your brain may question the inconsistencies of the Christian belief system but a voice in your head tells you to play it safe and obey the monster who tells you that he is your “loving Father”.

    He is not loving and he is not your father, Eric. He isn’t even a “he”. It is an “it”…an evil, manipulative, imaginary, supernatural Boogeyman, a superstition, invented by ancient middle-eastern, scientifically illiterate goat-herders to make some sense of their chaotic world.

    And Hell was invented by evil Christian Churchmen to control the ignorant masses of their day, using probably our greatest fear: being burned alive.

    It is an ignorant superstition that belongs in the Superstition Grave yard along with Zeus and Jupiter.

  90. justbybelief Says:

    “If the Christian God really loves you as much as the Bible says…”

    He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
    –1 John 4:8

    And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
    –1 John 4:16

    “Your brain may question…”

    My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
    –1 John 2:1

    “He is not loving and he is not your father, Eric. He isn’t even a “he”. It is an “it”…an evil, manipulative, imaginary, supernatural Boogeyman, a superstition, invented by ancient middle-eastern, scientifically illiterate goat-herders to make some sense of their chaotic world.

    And Hell was invented by evil Christian Churchmen to control the ignorant masses of their day, using probably our greatest fear: being burned alive.

    It is an ignorant superstition that belongs in the Superstition Grave yard along with Zeus and Jupiter.”

    1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
    2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
    3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
    4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

  91. Gary M Says:

    My dear friend, Eric. And I truly mean that. NO loving father would burn his children regardless of what crime they have committed against him. Your god is either a monster or he doesn’t exist.

  92. justbybelief Says:

    Ultimately, Gary, it is God who convinces one that His word is true. It is obvious you have no such conviction…and never did.

    The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
    –John 3:8

  93. justbybelief Says:

    “NO loving father would burn his children”

    God doesn’t burn his children, He saves them, and He burns the unrepentant.

  94. justbybelief Says:

    God is empowering you at this very moment, Gary, to rail against Him. From His invisible hand you’ve received every thing you need for life: air, water, food, shelter, internet (lol), and etc.. Anyway, you get the point, and you use all of these things to provoke Him. If He were standing in front of you, you’d strangle Him to death. This is not at all a far-fetched statement as wicked men hung God’s RIGHTEOUS Son on a cross.

    So, you accuse God of murder. But, your accusation comes back on your very own head because you’re the murderer. At least if God condemns someone its according to His standard, but you’re a murderer–you kill without cause. You have no justification for your hatred of God nor the murderous intent of your heart. God is justified in everything he does because everything is His to do with as He determines. Why do you question God for doing with His own what He will? Who do you think you are?

  95. Gary M Says:

    If your god exists, and has the power that your holy book claims he does, then we should all tremble on our knees before him in utter terror. But call him “Our loving Heavenly Father”?

    No way.

    A monster is a monster, even if I must fear and obey him.

    Your belief that your belief is gifted to you by an invisible, inaudible supernatural being that you cannot see, touch, or hear is the height of superstition, my friend.

    Dead men don’t walk out of their graves. Your god is dead.

  96. justbybelief Says:

    Like I said before, Gary, I hope your friends and family have removed all the sharp objects from your possession. It seems you take no responsibility for your actions.

  97. justbybelief Says:

    And, that, all the while, making yourself out to be something you’re not–God.

  98. Gary M Says:

    I am available anytime for questions and support, friends, if you choose to undergo deprogramming from this cult. Contact me at my blog: Escaping Christian Fundamentalism.

    Gary

  99. Sean Gerety Says:

    For a man who claimed his “work was done here,” you certainly have a lot to say.

    Can one read Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and the Epistle of James and say that they are consistent?? Absolutely not. Not without twisting yourself into a pretzel. Which is it: Salvation by faith as Paul proclaims, or, salvation by faith and works, as James proclaims?

    Yes, some people have been confused by James and Paul, and Romanists, in particular, have twisted James to great effect, but you must be kidding. Even Luther who early on once called James an “epistle of straw” very quickly came to see that James and Paul were easily harmonized writing; “We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith. ” Frankly, Calvin and none of the other Reformers had any difficulty at all harmonizing James and Paul. Even a cursory reading of James demonstrates that his concern was not justification before God but rather men. He was concerned with identifying the true Christian from the feigned variety. Men like you who claim to have been a Christian for “52 years” yet clearly never even grasped even the rudimentary truths of Scripture and the Gospel.

    But, there is one thing you said that I do agree with:

    The problem with the Bible is that we Christians (yes, I was a Christian for 52 years) read it shotgun style. We read a shot here and a shot there.

    Leaving your nominal (in name only) claim to Christianity aside, I agree that many, many people treat the Scriptures like rune stones picking and choosing what they like while fashioning in their minds a god of their own imagination. That is a scandal. Christianity, rightly understood presents to the mind a logical harmonious system of doctrine and is a truth affirmed in the Westminster Confession of Faith already cited above. Besides affirming the logical consent of “all the parts” of Scripture, the Confession teaches concerning the interpretation of Scripture:

    The infallible rule of interpretation of scripture is the scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture, (which is not manifold, but one,) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

    Notice, the meaning of Scripture is one and, yes, sometimes you have to do a little thinking to see how teachings of Scripture are part of one complete system. The fact that most today do not is not an indictment against the integrity of Scripture, but rather is an indictment to the anti-intellectual and dark age we live in.

    Yet, the Confession also talks about the “perspicuity of Scripture” and that while there are difficulties, “yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.”

    So, no, not everyone needs to be a theologian or a philosopher to be saved. One only needs to believe in Jesus Christ and His finished work on account of sin according to the Gospel. But, if you are going to refute systems as silly and empty as “secular humanism” a little philosophy certainly won’t hurt.

    And what about the epistles of Paul compared to the Gospels? The Jesus of the Gospels is nowhere to be found in the writings of Paul. No mention of a virgin birth. No mention of Bethlehem. No mention of even one of Jesus’ sermons; Jesus’ parables; or Jesus’ miracles. Not one! Not one mention of any of these fantastic works of the Son of God is Paul’s writings!

    Really? While I’m happy to jump like a trained monkey to entertain you, you must be joking? Let’s grant your argument so what does it prove? Where is the logical problem? Where is the contradiction? Where is the lack of harmonization? James doesn’t mention Bethlehem either. I don’t think Peter did either. So? Yet, Paul did write in Galatians:

    But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

    Notice its God’s son, not Joseph’s, who was born of a woman. Oh, I see, he doesn’t mention Mary or even Joseph for that matter therefore it can’t be correct. Is that really your argument? If so, you’re going to have to try harder Gary.

    The “Christ” of Paul and the Jesus of the Gospels bare little if any resemblance to one another.

    And, yet, you offer no logical conflict, no contradiction, between anything Paul wrote and what we find in any of the Gospel accounts. We don’t even find any conflict or contradiction between Paul and James. You only assert there is a conflict, but where is your argument? Where is your demonstration? Where is your proof?

    Let’s compare Jesus teachings to Paul’s teachings: Talk about inconsistency! Jesus never ONCE says that the Law is abolished. Never once does Jesus tell his disciples that the practice of circumcision is no longer necessary or that one of his followers can eat unclean food. Jesus said that the Law will never pass away. But Paul and his sidekick “Luke”, the author of the Book of Acts, abolish circumcision and the dietary laws overnight…based on whose authority?

    The law has not been abolished and last I checked murder, adultery, blasphemy, coveting, stealing, etc., are all still sins. The only things that have been abrogated are the ceremonial and dietary laws. Again, where is the logical problem? There is none.

    And let’s look at the Old Testament versus the New Testament: Consistent? No way! The Patriarchs knew nothing about an afterlife or Hell.

    Um, Daniel certainly did: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)

    Also, why would anyone deny progressive revelation? Your argument seems to be that unless God revealed everything, every time and everywhere therefore it can’t be true, but that’s just silly. There are many things that were not fully understood until the NT was complete.

    Again, you haven’t demonstrated ONE contradiction in what Scripture teaches.

    Frankly you just sound desperate. Which is understandable since your secularism has been shown to be self-contradictory, self-refuting and rests on nothing more than your blind faith in science resting on a tissue of fallacies.

    But, I would like to touch on one thing you said:

    However, ask these same Christian “philosophers” about the supernatural claims of Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, and other supernatural based Faiths, and they will wave them off with a simple, “Their beliefs are nonsense and unprovable.”

    Maybe the irony is lost on you, but your beliefs are equally unprovable. Every one of them. However, they have been easily refuted. Your belief in the scientific method defies logic and your faith is blind since you have not once even addressed the problem of induction. You admit your ethics are just cherry picked from a hodgepodge of world religions, or at least the ones you like, and you have no basis to even say that murder is objectively wrong much less evil. That’s because naturalism cannot provide any good or evil. Further, in your disdain for philosophy, not to mention theology, you fail to recognize that for any system of thought to start it must start somewhere and that somewhere is that system’s unprovable starting point; it’s axiom. And, while axioms cannot be proven they can be disproven and you are a long way from disproving the axiom of Scripture in the Christian system.

  100. Sean Gerety Says:

    Contact me at my blog: Escaping Christian Fundamentalism.

    Maybe you should concentrate on Fundamentalists. No one here, so far as I know, is a Fundamentalist. I’m sorry you wasted your time.

  101. Gary M Says:

    The modern definition of fundamentalism:

    Any group who believes that they alone have the one and only truth and that those who do not agree with them are not only wrong, but evil, and deserving of punishment.

    This definition is not limited to Christianity. It equally applies to Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and others.

    Your are a fundamentalist, my friend.

  102. Sean Gerety Says:

    Then by that definition you are a secular fundamentalist, my friend.

    Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  103. LJ Says:

    Ha! Great thread, just read.


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: