Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Billy Graham: Relationship With God

Q: I hear people talk about having a personal relationship with God, but I don't understand what they mean. I believe in God, but I can't say I feel like I'm particularly friendly with Him. -- Mrs. M.D.
Confirmation bias, wishful thinking, and possibly a bit of delusion mixed in for good measure? What people mean when they say that they have a relationship with God varies. Some just feel a warm fuzzy feeling, while some think God is talking to them. But to be clear, none of them are an actual relationship in the literal sense.
A: Not only is it possible to have a close personal relationship with God, but He actually wants it to happen!
Easy! Then he should just reveal himself and make it happen!
Think of it this way. I note from your letter that you're married. How did you get to know your husband? Perhaps you'd heard of him before you actually met, or possibly someone introduced you. But whatever the situation, at first you only knew he existed; you didn't really know him. Then you spent time together and your relationship grew. Eventually, you committed your life to him in marriage, and since then (I trust) your relationship has grown even deeper. Now, you not only believe he exists but you also have a close personal relationship with him.
Pardon, but what the hell doe that have to do with anything?
This is how it is with God. Yes, you believe He exists, and that's good. But it's only the first step. Now, He invites you to discover who He is and how much He loves you through the pages of His Word, the Bible. Then, He invites you to commit your life to Jesus Christ by asking Him to come into your life.
Oh, I get it now! Billy's demonstrating that he has no idea what he's talking about!

You see, as much as he wants it to be the case, the two examples Billy gives aren't at all comparable. In the relationship with her husband, she knew he existed. She met him and interacted with him. She didn't just 'believe in him', she knew he was real. None of this reaches any form of equivalency in regards to God.

You can believe in him, and you can think he is real. But that's where the analogy is forced to end. The problem is that God has not been proven to actually even exist. Believers haven't actually met God, and interacted with him. At best, God is a blind date that is destined to disappoint since the only basis by which we are given to extrapolate his character are stories that claim he is perfect in every single way.

Sorry, but until God reveals that he actually does exist and  removes any doubts that Christianity is just a myth there is not having and actual relationship with God. Because at present, he can't even be considered a pen-pal, since he never actually writes back.

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Billy Graham: Heavenly Devil

Q: My friend told me about a passage in the Bible that says even the devil believes in God. Does this mean even the devil will be saved and go to heaven? I'm not sure I like that idea. -- Mrs. A. McL.
Will he? No. But that's because he doesn't exist. But could he? According to the Bible's screwed up salvation criteria he easily could.
A: The devil and his servants certainly believe God exists because Satan's sole purpose is to oppose God and do everything he can to block God's plans. The Bible says, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that -- and shudder" (James 2:19).
The simple idea that an all-powerful being even needs to worry about any possible opposition is laughable.
But I can assure you that you won't see the devil in heaven!
No Billy, you can't. Christianity's deeply flawed system for salvation really does mean that even Satan could go to Heaven if he wished to meet the asinine entrance criteria.
For one thing, Satan would never want to go there, because heaven stands for everything he hates. 
Fair enough. In the Bible, Satan is against overbearing control, and for people having actual personal freedom. And that really is in direct opposition of what God seems to want.
Satan is for sorrow and death, but in heaven those will be banished.
Wait... But if we go by the Bible, God has killed orders of magnitude more than Satan ever did. Consequentially, God has caused far more sorrow as well. In fact, Satan hardly shows up to do anything 'bad' in the Bible at all. So maybe God's name is Satan. Or at the very least, he's a better devil that the Devil is...
Satan is for sin and evil, but in heaven we will worship God and serve Him alone.
How is Satan for sin when God was the one that created it in the first place. I suppose God is for sin too? And evil? Anyone that bothers to read the whole Bible will know that God comes across far more evil by quite a long stretch.
Satan is for hatred and strife, but in heaven there will only be love and peace.
Is that why God and his book has caused so much hatred and strife through the years? Seriously... The only act in the Bible where Satan actually causes harm to anyone or kills is when he makes a bet with God. And even then he has to get God's permission to screw over Job and his family.

And it was all ultimately pointless. God is supposed to be all-knowing. This means that he already knew Job wouldn't curse him. Thus God allowed Satan to inflict needles suffering on Job and his family for no good reason at all. God is just as much, if not more culpable for that suffering.

If you ask me the question shouldn't be whether Satan could possibly go to Heaven, but does God even deserve to be there?

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Billy Graham: Does God Love (all) Children?

Q: We're devastated, because the doctor has just told us our 3-year-old son is autistic and will never have a normal life. What did we do to deserve this? We'd looked forward so much to having a normal family. God must hate us. — Mrs. D. McL.
Of course God doesn't hate Mrs. D. But not because he's loving, but because he doesn't exist! But I know that the usual theistic response is to blame it all on sin. But tell me this... What could a child do before his birth to warrant them being born with such a life altering disability? And what about children born with lethal conditions?
Lets not forget that time God sent bears to kill kids for making
fun of a bald man...

I find it unlikely to accept that they popped out of their mother one night, became a despotic drug
lord that engaged in a bit of ethnic cleansing, then climbed back into the womb without her ever noticing. There are only two option here. Either their is no god, or there is, but he's a monstrously cruel one.
A: No, God doesn't hate you, nor does He hate your son — not at all. I don't know why He has allowed this to happen to you, but I do know this: God has not abandoned you, and He wants to help you become the best parents you can possibly be to your child. Your son needs you, and you need God.
So special needs child equals closer, more attentive parents? If that's the case shouldn't every child be born with some type of condition so that all parents have this same supposed 'opportunity' to become the best parents they can possibly be?
Hard as it may seem right now, may you come to see your son for what he really is: a gift from God. The Bible's words include every child: "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him" (Psalm 127:3).
It would be nice to believe it was that cut and dry. But the fact of the matter is that the Bible is far from clear on the topic of every child being a gift. Hell after the Psalms talk so fondly of children, they go on to promote infanticide! Don't believe me? Take a look at these ugly verses:
This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'
-1 Samuel 15:23
Ordering the killing of infants and children is an odd way to show that you think all children are a gift...
The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.

-Hosea 13:16
Wow, that can only be described as gruesome. Yet more ordering to kill children. And remember kids, God totally hates abortion... Except for when he forcefully demands it of course.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.
-Psalm 137:9
Ah yes... Kids are gifts, but God manufactures a situation
where he kills a ton to make a point.
Yup, Psalms jumps from all children being gift from God to glorifying those who would smash them to death against rocks... The Bible is certainly one very disturbing book.

But how can the same book really tell two very different narratives? Unlike many Bible contradictions, the context explains this one. But it's a very troubling explanation.

You see, when the Bible says that all children are a gift, what it really means is that all our kids are a gift. It's a case of separating the in-group from everyone else. The in-group could be cultural, national, or religious. In this case, it's a bit of them all.

But what these verses are telling us is that the children of your group/religion are special (Unless they talk back. Then you have to stone them to death. -Leviticus 20:9) , but those that are outside the group aren't. More than that, their murder is sometimes demanded.

Sadly, this isn't the only case of stressing harmony within the group and demonizing those outside, but that's for another time. But this is a very dangerous precedent. This kind of in-group vs out-group thinking (especially as drastically different as it is in the Bible) is a perfect recipe for xenophobia, racism, and other prejudices.

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Billy Graham: Time to Rejoice?

QUESTION: Doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that the angels in heaven rejoice whenever someone turns to God? But why would they do that? Wouldn’t they already know that this person was going to repent? — Mrs. C.L.
It does sound odd. After-all, why would anyone rejoice someone being sentenced to something as terrible as an eternal existence?
ANSWER: You’re probably thinking of what Jesus said in two of His parables, which tell first about a sheep that was lost, and then about a coin that was lost. (You can read them in Luke 15:3-10). In both instances, something very valuable had been lost, and their owners searched diligently until they found it. And when they did, they not only rejoiced, but their friends and neighbors rejoiced also.
And lo, he had lost his car keys and was distressed. But the lord smiled upon him, and he found them next to the mail. Trumpets blared, and all the town rejoiced...
In a far greater way, Jesus said, we are infinitely valuable to God, and when we are lost and separated from Him, He searches for us and does everything He possibly can to rescue us. 
Maybe he should either prove his existence or just forgive those that are good people regardless of belief.
And when we finally realize just how lost we are and turn to Him in repentance and faith, He rejoices – and all heaven with Him. Jesus said, “I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
Just imagine how much rejoicing there will be if the murdering, psychotic, sadistic, torture freak they call God ever repents!
Why do they rejoice? Not because they’re surprised, but because a great victory has been won! Someone has been snatched from the jaws of Satan and death and hell,
Personally, I wouldn't call the Heaven in the Bible a victory by a long stretch. But how is it a victory over death? You still have to physically die first. And if you count Heaven as victory over death, you're forced to classify Hell in the same category.
so why wouldn’t all heaven rejoice?
Because many of those people aren't deserving of 'eternal reward'. Those supposedly going to Heaven would include murders, rapists, and child molesters.  If you were an angel in Heaven, would you celebrate the man who murdered your parents in front of you before raping and killing you entering Heaven just because they believe in Jesus?

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Billy Graham: Salvation Game

Dear Dr. Graham: Now that I’m older, I think about heaven all the time, but I’m afraid I won’t go there when I die. I know I haven’t been perfect, so maybe God won’t let me in. How can I know? Or do I have to wait until I die? — N.M.
You can't know for sure. After all, there's not even proof that there is a God or Heaven, and that's a pretty big oversight by a supposedly all-knowing deity.
Dear N.M.: Salvation isn’t a game of chance; God doesn’t want us to sit around constantly wondering if we’re going to go to heaven when we die. Instead, He wants us to know — really know — that we will go to be with Him in heaven forever.
Then maybe he should, I don't know... prove that this isn't anything more than a silly old story of wishful thinking.
And we can know, once we understand what God has already done to make our salvation possible.
Okay, great. Lay it on me!
You see, you and I have a problem that can be summed up in one word: sin.
* Also not proven.
God is absolutely holy and perfect, and even one sin...
Because nothing says holy and perfect like murdering the entire world, women and children included...
— just one —would be enough to keep us out of heaven.  
So God isn't in Heaven?
But God loves us in spite of our sin, and because He loves us has provided another way for us to be saved. That way is Jesus Christ. 
Um, wouldn't it be infinitely easier and more moral to just forgive those that deserve it? I can do it. You can do it. Why can't God do it?
He was without sin 
Except that even according to the Bible, he wasn't! See for yourself.
Now God offers us salvation as a free gift — free, because Christ has already paid for it. Accept that gift by turning to Jesus Christ and trusting Him alone for your salvation.
By definition, requiring you to do something to receive this 'gift' means that it can't be a 'free gift'.
When you do, He’ll come to live within you, and someday He’ll take you to heaven. God’s promise is for you: “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Did I miss the part where he proves that you can know that you're going the Heaven or even that there is a Heaven?  Because it looks to me that he only laid out the claim and nothing more.

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, April 17, 2015

What is the Bible?

The Jehovah's Witnesses left another leaflet at our door with the title How do you view the Bible?
Would you say it is...
• a book of human wisdom?
• a book of myths and legends?
• the Word of God?
Well that's an easy one. It's a terribly outdated book of myths, and a poorly written one at that. With all the self contradictions, errors and absolute absurdities, how could one think it was anything else?
What the Bible says

"All scripture is inspired of God."
-2 Timothy 3:16
And all of the Qur'an is inspired by Allah, and all of Book of the Dead is inspired by Osiris, right?
What that can mean for you

•Satisfying answers to life's big questions. -Proverbs 2:1-5
Questions like, 'How much can I beat my slaves?'

"Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property."
-Exodus 12:20-21

• Reliable guidance for day-to-day living. -Psalm 119:105.
Useful stuff that  everyone follows like don't eat bacon (Leviticus 11:7), don't wear blended fabrics (Leviticus 19:19), torn clothes = death (Leviticus 10:6), no trimming your beard or rounded haircuts (Leviticus19:27), Never wear gold (1 Timothy 2:9), how much to sell your daughter for, and many other useful guidelines! 
• Real hope for the future. -Romans 15:4.
Nothing says hope like Jesus returning and burning the Earth to the ground, or most people being sentenced to eternal torment...
Can we really believe what the Bible says?
Yes, for at least three reasons:

• Amazing harmony. 
Nothing is more harmonious than the 63,779 cross reference contradictions in the Bible!
• Honest history.
Because you know you can rely on the history of a book that includes a global flood that didn't happen, the sun standing still in the air (didn't happen), a resurrection that is not supported by any evidence, or the many other stories that are not supported by evidence. Not to mention the many many facts that it gets wrong...
• Reliable prophecy.
Yeah... Because even though there are some rather pedestrian prophecies that were thought to have been fulfilled.... But here's the thing. There are plenty that were never fulfilled as well.

So what is the Bible? In my opinion it is a very unimpressive book that has no right to be considered the basis of any modern moral society.

-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Billy Graham: End of the World

Q: How will the world come to an end, according to the Bible? I worry about things like nuclear war, asteroids crashing into the earth, and things like that. Is this the way the world will end? -- Mrs. L.T.
How will the world end? Well that kind of depends on what you mean. If you mean the end of humanity, the end will probably either be due to war or climate change. But if you mean the literal end of the world, that will happen when our Sun expands into a red giant.
A: The Bible doesn't say exactly how the world will come to an end, but it does stress that someday this will happen, and when it does, the destruction will be total and absolute. The Bible says, "That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat" (2 Peter 3:12).
Now, now Billy... Let's look at a bit more of that verse:
 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

-2 Peter 3:10-12
I suppose that someone never told him about a little thing called the Law of Conservation of Energy. In short, energy can not be created or destroyed. But there is also the mass-energy equivalency. All the elements can't be 'destroyed by fire' since while energy/mass may transition into different forms of matter or energy, their totals actually remain constant.

Also, let's assume that this fire can destroy the elements. This still poses this verse a huge problem. For if all the elements were destroyed, the Earth would not be laid bare... It actually wouldn't be there at all. Actually, nothing physical would be. Elements make up just about everything (but not photons, neutrons...).

Then there is the issue of melting all the elements with fire... And that problem's name is Carbon. This robust element actually has no melting point at atmospheric pressure. It does have a sublimation pointy (the hottest one of all elements) of 3,642°C. An Oxygen and Acetylene fire burns at 3,480°C. Close, but no cigar. So that leaves us jumping to the hottest fire... Oxygen and Dicyanoacetylene. This combination burns at an impressive 4,990°C.

But does it even matter? Carbon's sublimation point of 3,642°C means that it transitions directly from a solid to a gas without ever melting. So no fire of any magnitude actually melts carbon.

And what about the Sun becoming a red giant and consuming the Earth? Well this doesn't fit either since the Sun isn't a ball of fire, and is actually plasma.
But the Bible says two other things that are equally important. First, it tells us that this will happen only at God's command, and in God's time. Wars may rage; power-hungry despots may terrorize; accidents and natural disasters may destroy, but the future is in God's hands, and He alone will bring an end to the world.
It never ceases to amaze me that people can believe in a god that sits back and does nothing, just waiting to one day destroy the world, and somehow describe this god as 'good'...
Second, the Bible tells us that the end of the world -- will not be the end! God will create a new world, one that's perfect and free from sin, sickness, death and fear.
Or, if he was real and gave a damn he could have just done that the first time, or just fix this one. Why allow so much death and suffering? Just stand by taking no action, watching the world burn with some apparent sadistic pleasure while just waiting to hit the reset button?

If I was an all-powerful deity, I'd just fix the world if I thought it was broken instead of just standing idly by. If you ask me, God seems pretty clueless, as well as a horrible planner.

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Five Atheist Arguments published a story that claims the reveal '5 Atheist Arguments You Can Beat'. But does it deliver on that promise?

1) Jesus Never Existed
“How do you know that Jesus even existed?” is a surprisingly common argument. Since the release of Bill Maher’s documentary, Religulous, it’s become popular to compare Jesus to other deities, such as the Egyptian Horus. After connecting a few exaggerated similarities, Maher’s claims have led resurgence in the doubts of Jesus’ existence at all. Fortunately, scholars overwhelmingly agree that Jesus of Nazareth did exist. These aren’t just Christian scholars, either. Professor Bart Ehrman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, many of whose books debate conservative Christian thinking, has recently published a book addressing and debunking the claims of Jesus’ non-existence. In addition, many ancient sources outside of the Bible, such as the Roman historian Tacitus and the Jewish historian Josephus, mention Jesus in ways that align with the biblical story.
I hate to break it to belief net, but the question of if Jesus ever existed at all is much older than Maher's (quite good) film. The fact that Jesus seems plagiarized from earlier deities really should raise many questions.

But it seems that belief net is seriously misunderstanding what some scholars are opining. First off, the belief among scholars that Jesus probably existed is a thought that has been losing subscribers as time has gone on. Why is that? Because as time continues to pass, there is still no actual proof of
Jesus' existence.

Back to belief net's misunderstanding though... Of those scholars that feel that Jesus actually existed, his existence isn't of the sort Christians typically assume. You see, most feel that either Jesus (the man) existed or someone the story was based on. What isn't being claimed is that he definitely existed as  the supernatural son of God. We know Joseph Smith actually existed. But does that mean Mormonism is actually true? Also, many likewise think that Muhammad existed. So should we assume that Islam is also true? You see, even if a religious figure is found to have existed, nothing is proven until the claims of this figure of are also shown true. So the proving of a purely human Jesus would actually destroy Christianity.

2) You Can’t Trust the Gospels
An area of research that is debated to this day is the authorship of the gospels. Many Christian academics believe that the gospels were not written as eyewitness accounts, but later after hearing oral traditions. If even Christian scholars believe that the disciples weren’t the actual authors of biblical texts, then how can Christians possibly believe in their accuracy? There are two equally intelligent responses here. 
I've never heard one intelligent response to this, so two would be amazing! I'm all ears...
While there is some scholarly material available such as Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses that defends the gospels were eyewitness accounts, the precise date of publication ultimately doesn’t matter as much as skeptics claim. 
Someone can call them eyewitness accounts all they want. Muslims claim the Qur'an is made of eyewitness accounts. So do Christians trust that the Qur'an is reliable then? Also, the facts show that the gospels can't be eyewitness accounts. The publication dates are too new. They couldn't have been written by those that they are attributed to (if they even existed). They are internally contradictory. So if they were eyewitness accounts, they were accounts recorded by people with a terrible memory. Reading them honestly and examining their history easily shows that they are at best, unsubstantiated stories that were passed on and later recorded. In short, the gospels are nothing but hearsay.
The full resolution is WELL worth a download and look!
In his Word on Fire series, Father Robert Barron compares the Gospels to modern history to add a bit of context. Suppose, he says, you were to read a newly written book about the JFK assassination. Even though the book itself may not have been written by someone who witnesses every moment, we don’t automatically assume that the information has been corrupted and has lost its reliability. The same applies to the Gospels.
I thought that these were supposed to be intelligent responses... The JFK assassination comparison is a terrible one. You see, the JFK assassination has something the gospels don't. Mountains or evidence that it happened. Anyone can easily have tons of video and historical evidence at their fingertips in the matter of moments. But when it comes to the gospels, there is absolutely zero proof that it's claims actually occurred. So the two aren't comparable at all.

3) The Crucifixion
If Jesus was really God’s son, why would God want him to die? Christopher Hitchens, a prominent member of the New Atheist movement, writes “Once again we have a father demonstrating love by subjecting a son to death by torture, but this time the father is not trying to impress god. He is god, and he is trying to impress humans.” If the crucifixion were simply God showing His strength, then we really might be in trouble... Fortunately, this is not the case. Brian Zahnd, pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missiouri, notes that “the crucifixion is not what God inflicts upon Christ in order to forgive. The crucifixion is what God endures in Christ as he forgives.” Jesus is our model for God’s character, and as Christians we worship a God who forgives even those who crucify Him, “for they know not what they do!” This is not God demonstrating His power over us, but His love and power over death.
Actually it is not a show of love at all. It is a display of control, and nonsense. The crucifixion has many problems...

1) There's no proof that it happened.
2) It was immoral.
3) It was entirely unnecessary.
4) Requiring the acceptance of Jesus as your savior as well as the crucifixion means that his 'forgiveness' is not true, but rather blackmail.

But remember, you can say that this was God's plan in order to forgive sin. But it is a terribly sick plan! And a pointless one too. For if God wants to forgive he could simply do so without all the pageantry, or an unnecessary and brutal human sacrifice.

4) The Miracles are Impossible
People often doubt the miracles of Jesus, ranging from virgin birth to his resurrection and everything in between. No rational-minded person, skeptics claim, could possibly believe in a man who fed thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and fishes or who raised a man called Lazarus from the dead.
Correct, no rational mind can believe such a thing without evidence that it occurred. Supply evidence, and that's another story. But it's oddly suspicious that these supposedly great miracles were not deemed as important enough for anyone of that time to bother recording historically.
That’s what’s so special about miracles: they don’t make sense! Frankly, miracles wouldn’t be miracles if they were physically possible. Whenever Jesus performs a miracle in the gospels, the crowds or disciples are in awe precisely because of how unbelievable these actions were.
Wait, wait, wait... The argument is seriously that they don't make sense? Talk about weak! So do Christians believe that Zeus actually throws lightening bolts? That Poseidon actually controls the seas? That Muhammad actually rode a winged horse up to Heaven? That Joseph Smith really did have magic seer stones and golden tablets? That Ganesha actually has an elephant head? That Prometheus literally gets disemboweled by an eagle over and over every day? That scientology is correct about alien souls in humans and atom bombs in volcanoes?

None of these things make sense, so by the argument given, all the wild claims of every religions must be true. Yet, Christians will typically laugh at these claims made by other religions. But why? They really shouldn't since the Christian claims are just as absent of evidence as these other claims are.

5) Christians are Hateful and Bigoted
What about the crusades? Or the Spanish Inquisition? Religion has always driven people to commit horrible acts of violence that would have never occurred if people weren’t so easily brainwashed, right? This is another common argument the seeks to discredit God and religion, but interestingly it does so by attacking human sin, the very problem Christianity seeks to remedy.
As the old saying goes, "With or without religion you will have good people doing good, and bad people doing bad. But for a good person to do bad, that takes religion." Obviously this is overly simplistic, as religion is not the only thing that can cause good to do bad. But it does take some sort of closely held belief or opinion.
Certainly not everything done “in the name of Christ” is truly Christlike. Since the time of Constantine, Christianity has been a significant part of Western culture, often intertwined with politics and government. As author David Robertson notes in his book Magnificent Obsession, it’s difficult to divorce Christianity from the dominant position it’s held in society. This often unfairly places the blame on Christianity for the misdeeds of men acting out of fearful intolerance and greed, both of which Jesus adamantly opposed. The best thing we can do is pray for the grace to live out Jesus’ commandments the best we can, and show the world what God’s love can truly mean.
The problem is that what is 'Christlike' is not clearly defined. And that is because just like most of the Bible there is much contradiction at play.  If Jesus was only about forgiveness, love and acceptance, that would be one thing. But the problem is that Jesus also spoke of bringing a sword, bringing division and that the old law still stands. So one can easily point to a section of the Bible to show that the Crusades actually were 'Christlike'.

The Nazi's thought they were doing God's work when they were exterminating Jews and other
minority groups. Southern slave owners claimed that the Bible showed that slavery was their God given right. The witch burnings were justified by the Bible by it's perpetrators. Christians today point to the Bible when they try to openly discriminate against homosexuals. Christians in third-world countries swear they are following the Bible when they are beheading people for being gay or a non-believer, or burning them alive under suspicion of witchcraft to this very day.

And then there are those that feel that say that it's Christlike to feed the hungry, to love your enemies and turn the other cheek. That you shouldn't judge, shouldn't be greedy, and to love all. But here's the problem. Both sides are right. The Bible is a text that is so fractured and contradictory that it condones and promotes just about everything. This includes promoting direct opposites. And that's a huge problem. A text that condones everything ultimately restricts nothing. Worse yet, it can justify terrible acts by those that feel they are following their God's will. And the sad truth is, there's almost always a verse that they can point to to self-justify their motivation.

Obviously all Christians aren't hateful and bigoted. But it's clear that being sufficiently fanatic or immersed in the theology can easily lead to those ends.

So in conclusion, we ended up with a list that didn't deliver on it's claims one iota. Sure, five arguments were presented, but none were defeated.

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Is Atheist a Tragic Word?

Steve LeMay over at the Independent Mail seams to think so...
“Atheist” (no Creator God) is not a “dirty word” to a true believer as posed by a frequent evolutionist writer on March 27.
No, 'atheist' is not a dirty word. Nor does it mean what Steve thinks it means. 'Atheist' does not mean 'no creator god'. It means the lack of belief in any gods. There is no distinction made between creator gods and non-creator gods. We don't believe in any gods whatsoever.
Rather, it is a very tragic word since an atheist has to reject both the general revelation of the Creator in the creation itself and the special revelation of His Word in the Holy Scriptures.
While atheism does mean not believing in gods (creator gods included), that doesn't mean that atheists can't believe in a different kind of creator. While I don't personally hold to the belief, it is possible for an atheist to believe that humanity was created by an advanced alien race.

But may I ask what is tragic about Steve's assertion? How is not believing in the revelation of a supposed creator god tragic? Has he read the Bible? It's a terrible compilation of absurdities and falsehoods framed by the insane murderous bragging of a genocide leading god that defines monstrous.
Einstein acknowledged the first, but rejected the second — he was an “agnostic.”
Yes, he was. But so am I. But like Einstein, I'm also an atheist. You see, 'atheist' and 'agnostic' aren't mutually exclusive terms. They answer two different questions, so being agnostic doesn't preclude one from being an atheist. Atheism deals with belief. Agnosticism deals with knowledge. I do not believe in gods, so I am and atheist. But I do not know for a 100% fact that there is no god, therefore I'm also agnostic. Like Einstein, I am and agnostic atheist.
To claim that Jesus worshipped [sic] the Old Testament God shows the writer’s ignorance of Scripture. Jesus claimed to be God, accepted worship, manifested that truth by His miracles, and was declared to be God by His resurrection. He authenticated the Old Testament as the word of God that man is to live by.
Isn't interpreting the Bible fun! This is one area that splinters Christianity into different sects. Some think that Jesus was God. Some thing they were separate beings. And some still think that they were both the same and separate. But it seems that Jesus must have at least thought he was at least temporarily a separate being from God since he prayed to him, and even pleaded with him. If he thought he was God in the flesh, then he would have no need to pray to God or bargain with him.
If the writer has found the truth, as he claims and will give us his best “logical scientific question” he touts, we shall see which side has truth on its side.
Pro Tip: Just calling what you believe 'the truth' doesn't actually make it the truth. So even though Christianity calls Jesus 'the way, the truth, and the life' that doesn't prove anything. That's just marketing.
Instead of hiding behind a naturalistic “brick wall” and dissing Jesus and the Bible, how about giving us valid evidence of evolution truth.
There's an entire field called biology. Every heard of it? Ever seen a museum? There is so much evidence for evolution that one has to be extremely close-minded or willfully ignorant to completely deny it.
Explain the logic of how energy and matter created themselves out of nothing.
No one ever claimed that it was necessarily out of nothing, but that scenario has been compellingly explained by Lawrence Crouse (for starters). As for everything else... Ever hear of the Big Bang?
Then explain the logic of intelligent life apart from an omniscient Creator since a law of science is that life can only come from already existing life!
Intelligence is an emergent property of the brain. Also, science never said that life can only come from life. Life from life is obviously much much easier. But life can come from non life. When you get right now to it, life is all about chemistry. Very complicated chemistry, but still chemistry. Obviously someone needs to read up on abiogenesis.

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Billy Graham: Life After Death

Dear Dr. Graham: The other day, I bought one of those sensational newspapers you get at the supermarket. It had a story about someone who claimed they died and then came back to life, and they said this finally proves there really is life after death. Is this right? — Mrs. V. McF.
Wait... She read a tabloid newspaper and is seriously reflecting on the veracity of it's claims? Sure, Mrs McF already believes the (unbelievable) Bible, but this is taking things a bit far, don't you think!?
Dear Mrs. V. McF: Such stories surface from time to time, but they can’t be confirmed, and even if they could be, they wouldn’t prove there is life after death. Nor would they give us any reliable data about what life is like after we die.
Huh... Its odd to hear that coming from Billy, but he's correct. One person making claims that aren't confirmed proves nothing. Also, science already has a pretty good explanation for these claimed experiences.
Only one event confirms beyond all doubt that there is life after death...
 Dionysus? Persephone? Osiris?  Odin? Ganesha? Lemminkainen? Tammuz? Attis? Adodis? One of the several other deities that are said to have died and come back to life?
...the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
I thought Billy discounted the tabloid story due to it's claims not being verified? So why the double standard with Jesus? Maybe Billy wasn't paying attention, but the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus hasn't been verified by any stretch of the imagination. Christianity has exactly what the tabloid has... just a story and nothing more.
Death is our final enemy, and it came into the world because of sin.
Death may not be fun, but I wouldn't say that it is an enemy. Enemies can be overcome, but death is an unfortunate and inevitable necessity.
Sin is rebellion against God, and when that rebellion first took place, death followed in its wake. Since then, all creation has been enslaved by death. As the Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
So according to Billy there was no death before sin? If that's supposed to be the case, it makes God look like one hell of an idiot! Does that include animals that eat one another? If so, how does that work without death? Even if we are to assume that everything was a vegetarian before sin, there is still a huge problem. Reproduction.

If there is no death, all living things would be reproducing and reproducing without death keeping the numbers if check generation to generation. That would lead to animal and human populations skyrocketing exponentially. It wouldn't take long for things to get very crowded. But overpopulation would raise more that a real estate problem. There's also the issue of resources being stretch thinner and thinner until ultimately reaching depletion. So once there's no food left, how exactly do they not die? Or are we supposed to believe in the starving immortal?

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Clean Reader can go right to Hell!

There is a new app available called clean Reader. In essence, it's a program that sterilizes your e-books to whatever degree you wish. The creator offers this story for the inspiration for Clean Reader...
One day our oldest child came home from school and she was a little sad.  We asked her what was wrong and she said she had been reading a book during library time and it had a few swear words in it.  She really liked the book but not the swear words.  We told her that there was probably an app for this type of thing that would replace profanity with less offensive words and perhaps we should get her a tablet that she could use to read books with.  To our surprise there wasn’t an app like this.  The more we thought about this idea the more we wanted it to be a reality.  Eventually we decided we would do all we could to bring Clean Reader to the world.  We’ve been putting as much time and money into it as we could over the last few years and we’re excited to see it launch soon!
You know what I have to say? Too damn bad! This tells me that this person is a terrible parent. If you are a parent that doesn't want their child to swear, the answer is not to keep them in a ignorant bubble of isolation and block any and all 'bad' words from ever reaching their precious little eyes. The best course is to make them aware of this language and that it isn't appropriate and they shouldn't repeat it.

Susie reading 'bitch' in a book isn't going to magically cause her to start swearing like a sailor any more than seeing a cheeseburger is going to give someone heart disease. And if your child truly is that bothered, just talk to them for crying out loud! By simply insulating them, you will only be coddling to the point of setting them up for future failure, or at the very least a very rude awakening.

So one of my problems with this app is that it shouldn't even exist. And not just because the reasoning behind it is bad parenting, but because this is but an extension on the war on profanity. In fact, Clean Reader uses the tag line 'Read books, not profanity'. But I must ask, who the hell cares! Sometimes reading a certain book means reading profanity. And so what if it has profanity? Letters arranged in such a way to form a recognized word. Swear words are just other words.

Some people are so afraid of swear words and act as though they are intrinsically bad. This is utter rubbish. The word is not important so much as the context and intent in which it is used. the word 'fuck' has no actual power of it's own and can be used to convey any number of meaning and feelings depending on how and where it is used. But that arrangement of letters has no power on its own. The irony is that the ones giving 'fuck' power are those that oppose it so fervently. They are the ones hoisting it onto a pedestal. Making it elusive and seductive. Making it a go-to curse word for kids and adults alike.

It's like a person who is on a diet. They tell you not to eat the burger. The burger is bad. No it's bad. Don't touch it. Don't eat it. Don't even think of it! What happens? You hold out a while, but you eventually give in. And instead of having the standard hamburger, you jump straight to the triple-cheese with bacon.

So I don't feel that curse words are even inherently bad, and should thus be avoided like the plague as this app would suggest. They are part of language. They allow us to emote feelings and themes not otherwise possible. And this is coming from someone who almost never curses. People I have known for years are almost always shocked when they do here me curse. While I don't curse often, I will when appropriate. And authors will likewise use profanity when they feel their story calls for it.

And that's another problem with this God-damn app (yes I'm going to purposely 'curse' throughout this on purpose)... It's censorship. Authors are artists that create tapestries of words, and the worlds and stories they create are their intellectual property. To edit their work in this way without their consent is just plain wrong. If you like the book except for any curse words used, you have a few choices:

1) Get over it.
2) Replace the word in your head.
3) Don't read the damn book!

The author created it how they did for a reason. If you don't like it, don't read it. Those words were used to define a character, build a theme, express ideas or feelings, or maybe the author just likes to curse. The why doesn't matter. It is their book and it's shouldn't be changed without their consent.

Do you go to a R rated movie and demand that all the curse words be changed? No. You either go see it anyway, or wait until the creator edits it themselves for TV. The same is true of music. You can either buy the album version, or you can buy the version the artist edited for radio themselves. In both cases the content creator is the one creating the 'clean' version. And that is the way is should be.

This app isn't even good for the reader. You see, it replaces words it views as dirty with a '•'. So passages that include a large concentration of 'expletives' may become a string of incomprehensible dots. Suppose you want to read erotica, but for whatever reason want it sterilized. One example I saw online showed that Clean Reader would change a sentence like "She longed for him and clutched his penis with her hand." to "She longed for him and clutched his  •  with her hand."

So the edit makes the passage a bit unclear in isolation. But then there is the next feature of Clean Reader. You can click on that dot and the app will suggest alternatives. So it would suggest that the very same passage should now read "She longed for him and clutched his groin with her hand." How is that any better? The word is different, but the intent is still there. The 'clean' version is no cleaner at all. It's like saying 'Jesus Christ!' or 'Jiminy Crickets!'

We all know the intent. We all know it's just a replacement of one JC for another. Same with 'fudge', 'gosh-darn', 'sugar' and the other inane alternates. They only actually succeed in making the person making those utterances sound silly. If a person yells 'fudge you!' at another person, they didn't better that statement by not loosing 'fuck' from their lips. The anger is still there and it is real. So other than making things sound silly, this app really accomplishes nothing while it violates the work of other people.

Then there is the cruel truth behind all this. Part of this app's wish is to sanitize books for readers that want more to read than the terrible genre of Christian fiction that they are typically confined to. But the pushing of an overly Christian agenda by way of 'cleaning up' books seems very odd to me when you consider how vile the Bible is. Off the top of my head, I can't think of much cursing in the Bible apart from 'fool'. But it is still far from a clean book. It actually contains plenty of violence and adult themes.

•God commits and commands genocide.
•Women as prizes of war.
•Smashing babies against rocks.
•Offering daughters up to be gang raped.
•Selling daughters as sex slaves.
•Allowing concubines.
•Forcing women to marry their rapist.
•David has to kill the king's enemies and bring back their foreskins so he can marry his daughter.
•Denigrates women.
•Has passages promoting violence and division.
•Condones slavery.
•Drunken Incest.

It even describes the size of ones genitals and the volume of their ejaculate. Don't believe me? Read Ezekiel 23:20: "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses." That's pretty graphic for a book that is forced on kids at an early age if you ask me.

So if the Bible that they love so much isn't clean, why ruin all these other books? And why be surprised that authors don't like it? Many Christians hate the Jefferson Bible since it omitted the divinity and all the magic that they love. Yet the creator of this is fine with doing what they hate. Jefferson could do it because he was working from a source that was public domain. But Clean Reader is working from copyrighted materials that shouldn't be changed by anyone other than the creator themselves.

Some proponents have said that the authors shouldn't care how people are reading their books. But I disagree. They should absolutely care if people are enjoying their books as intended. When the
Awkward Moments (not found in your average) Children's Bible book was launched it garnered plenty of hate mail. Why? Because Christians thought they were changing the meaning of Bible verses, and they were pissed! Now, the truth was that they didn't actually change the meanings, and those that were upset were just Biblically ignorant. But the fact remains that they were mad at them for thinking they were doing exactly what Clean Reader does. Yet when it's the other way around they think there's no reason to be upset.

Screw that double-standard bull-shit! There's plenty of reason for artists to oppose this app. If you don't like books with expletives don't use this app. Either read something else or write your own books, and leave the creative work of others unmolested and in it's true and intended form rather that foisting undue censorship upon it.

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Billy Graham: God Says No

Q: For years I've begged and begged God to do something for me, but He never has. Maybe He's just tired of having me pester Him. Should I just quit trying, or what? -- Mrs. Y.L.
There is one very real possibility, but I fear that YL won't like the answer... Prayer just doesn't work.
A: Sometimes God calls us to continue praying for something almost indefinitely, and we need to be sensitive to that calling. From time to time, for example, I get letters from wives or husbands who've prayed for their spouse for many years, and eventually have seen them come to Christ.
Actually, God doesn't tell anyone anything. People pray and interpret the results in a way that fits their preconceptions. The lack of an answer is rationalized, or a less absent result is distorted, given undue weight, or chance is unjustly ignored as an explanation. Every time I've heard of 'God answering a prayer' the 'answer' has either been no more than a perceived answer, or the 'answer' was so unmiraculous that one might as well pray that the sky be blue...
But sometimes God answers our prayer with a definite "No," and when that's the case, we shouldn't keep begging Him or demanding He give us a "Yes." Remember: God loves us and knows far better than we do what's best for us.
As many a Christian will tell you, God has a plan. A perfect plan for your life that he determined before you were ever born. A plan/life we all live out just the way God meant it to be.
God hasn't promised to answer every prayer we make; He's only promised to answer those that are in line with His will. The Bible says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (1 John 5:14).
You see, this just raises the big question of why anyone should even bother praying. Billy says that God only answers prayers that are in line with his will. God creates a plan for our lives. So that plan is God's will for us. If it is within God's will, it will be part of the plan. So if it's part of the plan, it will happen anyway. Prayer or no prayer. If it's not part of the plan, it's not part of God's will. If it's not part of God's will, the answer is 'no'.

So no matter if the answer is 'yes' or 'no', there is no reason to pray. Either you are asking God for something that you would get no matter what. Or you are asking an omniscient deity to change his mind about a plan that is supposed to be perfect. Either way you cut it prayer is a futile exercise whether it works or not.

-Brain Hulk

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