On Testimony: The Realization of Reason- Part 2

Posted on January 26, 2011. Filed under: Atheism, Atheist Ethics, Personal, Religion |

Part 2 of my post on testimony will be a my attempt to give a step-by-step progression from religion to atheism.  I mentioned in my previous post that I find Christian testimony formulaic and/or dishonest, yet I still find the hyperbole enthralling.  This will be far less enthralling, I think.  For one, it is 2000+ words.  I think that it would be great if we could all tell these stories.  Maybe I’ll start something by writing this post.  Likely not.  So if you have too much time on your hands and want to get to know me, put your ass in a comfy chair, get a hot cup of joe, and lets get started….

My Testimony

I grew up in a family that was kind of ambivalent about religion.  My father came from a mysterious Calvanist church, one that he never really spent a lot of time talking about.  I heard stories that he had won church awards, that he taught sunday school classes in his teens; he was a model for every young man in his Church.  His father died when he was 17 years old leaving him the “man of the house” to his mother, and younger brother and sister.  He never really talks about these years, but if I were to guess at a moment that informed the man he is today this is it.  After this moment every story about my Dad seems to involve less and less religion.

My Mom came from an Anglican (Episcopalian) family.  Her childhood also had its adversities, her mother was absent for most of it and when she was there it was worse.  I have stories about my mother’s childhood that would make your head spin.  She eventually went to live with her Aunt and Uncle who’s house was across the street; for all intents and purposes my Great-Aunt is my Grandmother.  My mother would not be someone I would call deeply religious either, but when my parents got married they assumed her religious affiliation.  I grew up in the Anglican Church, where I attended Sunday School and Sunday Service.

I was enthralled with bible stories, I loved Sunday School and would look forward to going and listening to the young 20-something teacher tell us stories about Jonah, Noah, Ruth and Jesus.  I remember asking a lot of questions.  I loved books as a child and saw the yarn of childhood fantasy being woven into a beautiful reality full of heroes and villains, miracles and meaning.  The bible being true was, to me, a justification that anything might be possible; if giants and demons were real-if a man might be swallowed by a whale- then the dragons and wizards of my fantasies were equally plausible.  The bible was magic.  It didn’t hurt that it brought hundreds of people together into a community of voices that spoke together and enchanted me with choruses of “Holy, Holy, Holy”.

God was magic.  To a youthful me, all was possible; I was unlocking the infinite.  Then we moved…..

My parents packed us up when I was eleven years old and moved us 4 hours north so that my Dad could get out from behind an office desk and do what he loved.  He bought a tourist camp, a job that required that we be home on week-ends so that customers leaving and arriving could be seen off and thanked, welcomed and settled in.  Sunday service would be out of the question for me until I was old enough to get there myself.

I continued to read the bible from time to time but the stories that were spun in my youth seemed inaccessible and dreary in the old King James Version Bible I tried to reference from.  I took the next few years to find beauty in the Psalms, discovered my love of the Book of Job and The Song of Solomon, and  started a journal where I would write down a Bible verse that I loved and talk about what it meant to me.  This was the religion of my middle youth: introspective, personal and lonely.

In the summers, I would go to visit my paternal Grandmother who lived not far from us.  With her support I went to a twice weekly youth group at the Presbyterian Church in her town, surrounded by a cast of kids that would have made for a great sit-com.  The stringbean nerd who seemed clueless around the girls.  His attractive brother who used to play Richard Marx on the piano while every girl swooned.  The girls were led by a beautiful young girl who had a voice like an angel and bossed everyone around.  The pastors daughter was cute and quiet, she used to touch my hand when noone was looking.  I could ruminate for hours on those days, when my private and personal God became real and shared.  About my geeky green cardigan, singing “Amazing Grace” in harmony as we walked home, my heart pounding as I touched her hand.

Each time I was forced to retreat back to my KJV Bible, to come back to the “real world”.  I would be 15 before that really changed.   In high school I met a kid who lived just down the road from me who attended the Missionary Church in town.  His parents were the first real “born again” people I had ever met and they offered to have me tag along to their church.  Each Sunday and Wednesday, they would pick me up and take me to church with their son and the two foster children they cared for.  I listened intently as the charismatic pastor would mesmerize us with his weekly sermons, charging each of us to really listen to the message of Christ and think along with him.  His sermon “Going Against The Goads” remains to this day the most inspiring bit of rhetoric I have ever personally witnessed.  I joined the church band, became lead singer of the youth rock group “Praise Be…” which played Harp and Bowl on Wednesdays.  I had found a home.

During all this time my parents really said nothing.  My dad told me the stories of his life in the Church of his youth, he bought me books if I asked for them, he never complained when I skipped out on work Sunday mornings.  My mom let me say Grace at the table, something that we had never done before.  They resolved to support me in whatever I wanted to do.  My parents are wonderful people; very private, reserved, cerebral people.  Our family pictures look like nineteenth century sepia photos.  No one smiles, no one touches, everyone seemingly at attention to the imaginary drill sergeant just out of frame.  Let me make this perfectly clear though: never in my childhood did I ever feel alone, or unloved, or lacking in any real way.  My parents gave me the two greatest gifts any child could ask for, unconditional love and security.  I always knew that my parents would love me: Jew, atheist, Mormon, or Christian.  Gay or straight, left-wing or right-wing.  My parents always found a way to make it abundantly clear to me, my brother and sister that their love had no limits.  My parents did this in a way that still seems foreign to my wife of six years, we have few family photos, we rarely get mushy with one another, we almost never hug or kiss; if you ask her though, she will tell you that our house is bursting with love-more than she ever thought possible.  She’ll tell you that it explains everything you ever need to know about me.

In my last year of high school I met a girl.  Her Dad was the pastor of a new Church that was just opening in my town.  This was decidedly not a mainstream church, I won’t get into too many specifics, but you’ll see what I mean soon.  I began attending the church and again got in with both feet.  At the urging of the pastor I wrote guest sermons that I read at service, I published some of my poetry in the church periodical, I joined the youth ministry.  His daughter and I talked about going to seminary school together, I wanted to become a pastor.  Over the next year several things began to grate on me in my new Church.  Testimonies began to be peppered with things that I knew were untrue, church membership seemed to consist primarily of very lonely people aching to be accepted, there were talks of prophesy and speaking in tongues; I felt increasingly uncomfortable.  When I was asked to give testimony, I admit, I made the whole thing up.  I was following the lead of every other person whom I knew had exaggerated their testimony in church.  I had made my first “lie for Jesus”.  The weird thing is that I almost started to believe it.  Other things followed: grumblings in some inner circles that the “speaking in tongues” was staged and that the “prophesy” was contrived.  I had gotten far enough along that I got to be in on the joke.  I was not pleased.

So I took a break from organized religion for awhile.  I did eventually end up flirting with the “evils” of the material world.  I spent three years of my life living “apart”.  I did the drugs, drank the booze, explored the world that I had imagined in that contrived testimony I gave in church.  The funny thing is that for all the drunkenness, for all the ecstasy and cocaine fueled partying, for all the stupid decisions and meaningless sex; I met better and more authentic people.  I was just as happy and just as fulfilled as those days in that summer youth group.  I maintained my Christianity through all of this, I even went to a Harp and Bowl once high as a kite and ducked into the church bathroom to blow some more coke.  I was a horrible Christian, but I was still a Christian.

Then I met my wife.  She was how I see the average Catholic; like an agnostic who speaks in “Godspeak”.  Religious, but not really.  Defending the faith but willing to discard it’s nasty bits.  Wearing her religion like a warm sweater.  We got married in Florida, at Walt Disney World, by a black baptist preacher who reminded me of the charisma I loved so much in my Missionary Church days.  He was a fantastic guy.  I was one of those Christians now.  I went to service, paid my dues, and went home to the real world till the next Sunday service.  For me the fire was gone; I was going through the motions.

During most of this time I had maintained a friendship with one of my friends from my church days.  Not the crazy church, but the Missionary one I went to in high school.  I would regularly go for coffee with him and we would talk about anything and everything.  Then something changed.  He went from being kind of religious to being an obsessed Young Earth Creationist, and our talks continually descended into my pleading for his sanity.  One day he said to me “George, evolution is a lie.  At some point you have to chose between the bible and science, because you can’t have your cake and eat it too” .   He handed me a series of perpetually photocopied pamphlets and told me to read them.  I read, for the first time, about the “icons of evolution”, about the vast conspiracy in the scientific community to prop up a lie and undermine the word of God.  Was I just part of a big gigantic self-perpetuating lie that I bought into in biology class and just accepted as fact?  What he had done, without necessarily knowing it, is snap me out of being a Sunday Morning Christian.

I was never a “science nerd” in high school.  I never had a science teacher who lit that fire inside me the way my English teachers had.  I had been a humanities student, I studied Economics and Poli-Sci, I was not really up on biology.  So I bought “The Origin Of The Species”, I looked up arguments on both sides, I spent months meticulously combing the web to learn the specifics and the theories.  At this point in the story, I imagine that most of you see where this is going.  I was thrust back into a world of smokescreens and charlatans, where Christians would argue for both intelligent design and YEC in the same sentence.  Quotes were presented entirely out of context for the sake of propping up an argument.  Personal attacks and lies became integral to an argument; whole conversations rested on incredulity.  I found myself reliving everything that made me leave.  I tried.  I tried so hard.  I looked for Christians who could speak to my heart about this.  I found a great site from a Christian Physicist who really made sense.  Then a comment on that blog led me to Camels with Hammers.  Then Camels led me to Redheaded Skeptic, then a comment there made me follow an annoying little troll to Lousy Canuck and Cafe Witteveen.  Each person led me further to the conclusion that I was an atheist.  That I had left those clothes behind me somewhere in my travels, that I kept calling myself something out of habit rather than meaning.

I don’t know that I could go back now.  I don’t know that I would want to.  I have nothing against the message of Jesus.  I really have nothing against most Christians.  My journey just led me to value certain things above faith and credulity.  It would be like asking someone who was myopic from birth if they would be willing to give up the glasses they just got so that they didn’t have to see the kids begging on street corners.  It may have it’s tempting moments, but it really only avoids one problem by causing others.

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45 Responses to “On Testimony: The Realization of Reason- Part 2”

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George,

First of all, I want you to know how much your honesty has meant to me, and how much these posts have caused me to have to re-examine my own beliefs.

I could really identify with both these posts, in several ways. Throughout my entire experience with Christ I have had to look around at everyone else and secretly wonder why “I wasn’t satisfied” as my Christian brothers and sisters had claimed to be satisfied in their relationships with Jesus Christ. I secretly worried about this. And in my prayer closet I “told on myself” to Jesus; I effectively—turned myself in and “came clean.”

The whole little bit of scripture which most haunted me was that bit which spoke of God spewing those who were “lukewarm” from out of his mouth—rejecting them, full scale. I feared deeply that I must be one of these “lukewarm” sorts, as I was indeed not able to identify with everyone who kept claiming that Jesus had completely satisfied them and completed their lives.

I believe it was my honesty (though always reluctant) which convinced me to zoom out on my faith just a little bit and to become—rather “cold” than “lukewarm,” if you will.

I had such a desire to be “hot,” or “on fire,” so to speak—but discovered that such a “state of being” cannot be forced or “mustered-up.”

The other thing was that I wasn’t “saved” in some stupendous fashion from some horrible “state of apostasy,” although I realize we are all “apostates” before we accept Christ’s contract of marriage—his proposal to us.

If you want to know the truth, what has astonished me beyond belief about life, Christ, Christianity, and particularly MYSELF, it has been that my most churlish and possibly dishonorable acts of misconduct did not happen when I was an innocent “apostate.” They happened when I was a so-called-born-again-Christian. They happened AFTER I had signed the contract with Christ on the dotted line and “bravely” committed my entire being to his will and purposes.

It was during this time that I got drunk and tried drugs. It was during this time that I stopped going to church—not because the people there had tried to deceive me, but because I couldn’t relate with any of them, being that they were all so fiercely focused upon “focus on the family” type reality and values. I tried to focus on this, too. I had sex and got pregnant. Then, hurried up and got married, so as not to “look bad” in front of my Christian comrades. Of course, four years later I filed for divorce, being the stately Christian that I was.

It was also during this time in my life—when I was a believer and follower of Christ—that I fell in love w/someone of my own gender! Go figure. I didn’t know what to do, so…

Not wanting to “act on it” (with the dwindling bit of courage I thought I might still possess if I dug hard enough), I met a guy and quickly moved in with him (refusing to marry him due to the bad taste still left in my mouth from my first marriage). I then, spent about 3 years “trying agnosticism” on for size, just to see if maybe I was agnostic/atheist, and to see what all the fuss was about (as I had always been sympathetic to the skeptics in my life).

My testimony is really quite embarrassing, to be honest. But I have to say, I would prefer living in a world where I could deliver such a testimony without fearing that I be excommunicated from ministry for the rest of my days on this earth.

My conclusion has been simple. “Go away from me, Lord. I am a bad person…just go away. You don’t know who you’re dealing with, here.”

The trouble with MY LOGIC is that I thinks a man (or woman) ought to become a better person AFTER signing on with Jesus Christ.

Thus, when no one can comply with this logical course of how things “ought” to go, MY LOGIC tends to conclude that Jesus Christ is meaningless and his “truth” is void or useless…in other words, it don’t work, therefore, it ain’t real.

God’s Logic says something subtly different. God’s Logic says that PART OF GETTING BETTER, or becoming that BETTER PERSON is DISCOVERING THIS TRUTH ABOUT “ME” AND FACING IT WITH JESUS CHRIST. Part of the cure is actually having to discover I’m no different from what we call a “criminal,” and then taking this truth about myself to Christ for examination, so that we can face the FACTS together.

They say that The Truth will set you free, George. But no one told me it would have to “set me on edge,” first.

My entire freaking testimony is MY DISCOVERY OF HOW INCAPABLE I AM OF MANNING MY OWN SHIP (meaning, in essence, that I’ve shipwrecked every relationship I’ve ever tried to embark on)!

Yay, I got a degree up at the university. Yay, I conquered my Physics and my Calculus. Yay! I’ve written 7ish whole books!

But, every relationship I’ve ever put my hand to is a vast and severe and complicated mass of complex tangles and turns and regrets and decisions I can’t undo and on and on and on…

THIS IS WHEN THE INDIVIDUAL becomes “FIT” FOR A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST, and not before. When we think we’ve got some chance of “being good” or independently “improving ourselves” or being, at the least, “Better than X over there…” then we aren’t ready for Christ to begin the real meat and potatoes work in our lives.

I realize that sounds unbiblical…and non-conservative/fundamentalist…and probably unduly “harsh,” but after 22 years of chewing on this riddle, this is the best I have been able to HONESTLY come up with.

Here is my two cents. If your faith is accompanied by “feelings of satisfaction,” (not that this is in any way bad…I think we all covet such “affirming feelings”) then the true test has not come to you. The true test of “love and loyalty” comes when you adhere to your faith, in spite of any accompanying feelings or concrete evidence.

But if you don’t back out of your faith and compare it with other faiths who claim to have the truth—and test the logic of all claims to the truth, then you aren’t really “working out your own salvation” at all, in my opinion.

Anyhow, I haven’t let go of Jesus Christ…but I haven’t done “good” by him, either. I have learned that my ONLY hope of ever seeing this man and having him “welcome me” into some “Kingdom,” is for me to resolve NEVER to prosecute my fellows, nor compare myself with my fellows. I must resolve to LEARN the meaning of such things as MERCY and LONGSUFFERING, with even more abandon than I did my PHYSICS and my CALCULUS. I have to critically think, “now…I said I forgave so-and-so, but have I truly forgiven them? Have I truly let things between us go back to the way they were before the offence?”

I have decided that the decay rate of my human dignity (under my captaincy) is logarithmic in nature…I cannot be good, nor can I pull out of my becoming “worse.” My only hope is to exonerate every person I ever come into contact with, and truly learn how to “really” do this in my day to day business with the people in my life. I understand the “command to love,” now…finally. It is simple. It means to suffer long with the fact that all the others are decaying at the same dizzying rate that I am…and mercy is REAL, not a lie, a fable, magic, a trick, a fictitious narrative, or a figment of our imagination.

If God were “magic” I’ll tell you one thing, you would be able to tell because he would have waved his magic wand or cast his incantation which made us the sort of “good” he seems so GREEDY for us to “be” or “become.” He doesn’t do this. He lets us “come to our senses” on our own AND in our own time. That is anything but magic. It’s real. Albeit a little too real, real enough to make me want to “get while the getting’s good.”

Love this post…it really made me think…made me think, “It’s time to orient myself here–what am I doing and why and I doing it?”

Katie

Kate,
That was a heartfelt response. I could lecture you for hours about parts of it, but I’ll hold my tongue for the most part.
If you really read the post, you notice that I never actually say when I left the faith. I was “going through the motions” long after I had become an atheist. I needed to do the most important thing of all. I needed to be true to myself. I needed to be genuine.
If I were still a Christian I would tell you that Jesus probably doesn’t care if you fell in love with a woman, or that you make mistakes. He only wants you to be you- the best you- the genuine you. If someone can’t love you for being you- then fuck them. I love the Kate who loved that woman; I love the Kate that’s true.
I just realized all that without needing God to tell me. I am a more genuine me without Jesus. I am still hard as hell on myself, I still expect better than I am. That is part of being a better person. I don’t captain that ship alone, I have friends who help me along the way. I don’t begrudge Jesus if He helps you in some way toward being a better you, just make sure it is you that your trying to be.

If I want to continue believing that a God indeed exists, then I’ve got to say that His ideas of who Kate is probably do something different than my ideas do. My ideas can usually be counted on not to “be hard as hell on myself,” but somewhat “settling,” instead. I expect His ideas of Kate are something far more glorious than I could ever have the courage to “dream up.”

If I can shut up and “man up” when it comes to “trusting” this God, then I may end up living next to that woman in Glory…who knows. I do know that…according to physics, and things I’ve read in scripture, and my own imagination… my sexual interests will pale vastly in comparison with the interests awakened within me in Glory (if Glory even exists).

How does one get more “True to one’s self” than to store up treasure for “themselves” in a promised place such as this Glory is a promised place. It’s either “delusions of grandeur” on my part… or a reality which will cause us all to blush… because, even though Christ’s “Father” was shown to be shrewd and hard as freakin’ nails… he was also promised to be a generous rewarder of all who “listened to” His Son.

I’m trying to be “true to myself,” but I’m getting static, George…you know… interference in the “communications system.” I’m getting information fed into my communication box which is counter-intuitive to my human logic in some ways, and yet brilliantly capable of deepening and augmenting it in others…

Oh–and I not only “really read” your posts, but I printed and saved them…and read them with my sharpie, taking notes in the margins. What you have to say means much to me, George. I may not always understand, but I do my best.

Katie.

Interesting post, George. I’ve had a similar post in the works for a couple of months now, spurred on by my Jehovah’s Witness sister-in-law, who has told me she wonders why I no longer believe in the Bible.
I’ve been struggling to write it, because, quite frankly, I did such a good job of turning the page on that part of my life that I think my current atheism has biased my memories of how Christianity coloured my youth.

I might actually add some things to this post in the next little while. It was a fluid write, I literally sat down and wrote it with no prep. I missed a lot of interesting and important parts; I completely left out some parts and wrote some things I wanted to come back to but didn’t, I wanted to talk a bit more about my wife and my parents. Many of my “stages” I summarized in one paragraph when some deserved much more. I’m not entirely happy with the post, but I think it gives a brief overview. How long can you really make a post and still expect people to read it?
I was really hoping that it might start a conversation. I was very careful not to say “this was the exact moment” because it was an evolution, not a revolution. I think that if I read the post I can point to the keystone moment, but I wonder if everyone else can. Oh, well. I’m condensing what could be a book into 2100 words. I would love to read other peoples stories, especially yours. I have a feeling that you and I might have some interesting parallels.

I’ve been going through a few things the last two weeks, but once I have a spare couple of hours (yeah, it takes me that long to write things), I plan on giving a more detailed comment on this post of yours, as well as seeing if I can finish off my “Why I’m an atheist” post.
There are definitely some parallels in how things went in our Christian lives!

Hey don’t blame me…you sent me here 😀

Question, you said “I found a great site from a Christian Physicist who really made sense.”

Is this by any chance the guy who talks about how, because of something like the expansion of universe and time being different in different phases of history, that the earth is both young and old at the same time? I heard that video once a couple years ago and thought it might make sense if my brain wasn’t so simple.

Julie,
Rest assured, I want you here.
I’m glad you took the time to read my post. As I said in my comments, I don’t think it’s done yet. I do have to say that it was a very emotional post for me to write. There is a lot of good memories in there; a lot of me. It came out of me in a torrent, there was so much I didn’t get to say but wanted to. It’s a whole book condensed into 2100 words.
The scary part is the book still has chapters waiting to be written.

The physicist I spoke of is not the gentleman you are thinking of. My Christian physicist thinks the Earth is decidedly old. What drew me is was his theology, his explanation of Christianity and Calvinism. I needed to hear that you could ‘square the circle’ with science and Christianity; though I still have my doubts, he came as close as I have seen. I went to see his blog this past summer and found that he has let it go stale. No recent posts. It is a shame, voices like that are needed out there.

I hope you don’t make this visit a drive-by; I wouldn’t mind you sticking around.

Aww, thanks George. It’s always good to feel wanted. I agree with you…it’s not over until it’s over. Regardless of our beliefs, our lives are writing a story. Blogging is such a great way to have a journal of that experience.

What is scary about the chapters to be written for you?

Hmmm…I’d like to hear his explanation of Christianity and Calvinism. Send me a link if you have it. Both Calvinism and Arminianism are pretty dead end if you ask me. I don’t exactly understand how science would fit into that equation (no pun intended).

Drive by-s are usually frowned upon in our day and age :D, so I’ll try to stop once in awhile. IN the mean time, I subscribed to your blog.
Have a great Monday.

Of course you liked Song of Solomon at that age; it talks about breasts.

I am blessed and cursed with a foggy and unreliable memory, but whatever evolution I underwent from Lutheranism to nothingism is a mystery. I also do not remember any a-ha moment about Santa Claus; he just wandered away. I certainly don’t remember making any decisions. I just wandered away, content to poke around this wonderful life and understand as much of it as I can.

I think Song of Solomon is one of the most romantic pieces of literature I have ever read. And, yes, it has breasts. Definitely divinely inspired.
In my “testimony” I left the exact moment open for discussion. I could tell you the lynchpin, and it’s probably not what you think. Thanks for popping by my blog, I hope you make a habit of it.

It’s kind of funny you mention not having a specific conversion “moment”. As I’ll get around to in my second post about why I’m an atheist, I did have a specific moment where I thought, “Atheist? That’s what I am, an atheist!”

Hey George,

I wanted to chime in my two sense.

First it all boils down to your perception of what is, and what is not a Christian.

>>I maintained my Christianity through all of this, I even went to a Harp and Bowl once high as a kite and ducked into the church bathroom to blow some more coke. I was a horrible Christian, but I was still a Christian.

This is where you are mislead. You were never a Christian. Its like calling myself a doctor without meeting the criteria to become a doctor (Scholastics, board approval, etc.) You are merely still in elementary school in this analogy. There is still time. Maybe you just gave up becoming a “doctor” and that is understandable because the “board” does not allow uneducated unrepentant evil people become a “doctor” in the first place.

Even a cat can call themselves a Therapist but that does not make it so.

Also, please spare us the tired atheistic rant of “no true Scotsman” You were just never a Christian but that is the great news!! There is still time for you.

The most important advice I can give you is that:

Repentance comes BEFORE knowledge of truth, not after: 2 Timothy 2:24-26

Maybe someday you will be able to give one of those same “testimonies” since now you have dabbled into the dark side. You sure have points 1-3 down now. :7)

I am sure you have heard of it before but from your testimony, its quite apparent that you thought that Jesus was here to just “make the ride more comfortable” as many false converts believe. I can read your discouragement in your words and its sad that we all have failed to support you in your walk.

I did find it odd for you to say that you do not kiss, hug, or be affectionate in any way yet you had a home “bursting with love”. It seems contradictory to me.

Anyway, I feel your pain. I was one that grew up in an Atheistic home my whole life only to find Christ much like your “suspicious” testimonies. The common denominator that I have seen is that we all approached God the same way. To approach God we must have a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 34:18,Psalm 51:17) to fear Him (Proverbs 9:10) because it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31). In repentance you will gain that knowledge. Not the other way around. It appears you just did things backwards.

You appear to be the text book false convert, “Mark 4:16 – False Converts receive the word with gladness. Hears the gospel message with gladness and really seems to latch on to it. He may express, for example, with tear filled eyes of joy. How this is the answer he’s been looking for. When any test or trials comes his way, excuses become his trademark he falls away from following Jesus.” Christians don’t Fall Away.

From your testimony, that seems to be you George. There is no such thing as an Ex-Christian. You still have time to be saved. Hopefully, you know what your fate will be if you don’t.

Dan,
Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog. I welcome every opinion on this blog and you are certainly a minority voice around here.
I took the time to look at your blog, especially the posts that you linked to in your comment. I think there are certainly things we might agree on, although there are certainly areas where we will disagree.
First, I agree that your argument doesn’t necessarily fall under the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. There certainly are things that can be said to define one as a Christian, and should someone meet those criteria, then they most certainly are a Christian.
I would say that four repeated Bible verses and Dan’s opinion are not really what defines a Christian- especially when your definition essentially makes no-one a Christian.
Let me preface this by saying that I should have been more careful with my wording in my post. When I blew coke in a church bathroom I certainly wasn’t a Christian in any sense other than a complacent self-identification. I was, by this point, an atheist in every sense; I was just unable to accept the label. I would tell myself I was struggling with my faith, but my faith was gone by then. When I said

I was a horrible Christian, but I was still a Christian.

this was a misnomer. I gave you ammunition to call “bullshit”, and you rightfully did.
Whether I was a Christian at any point is an entirely different story.
I think that if Jesus does exist, whether or not I was a Christian at some point is a really between me and Him; certainly not subject to your personal opinion and four Bible quotes. Unless you have such a profound personal relationship with him that you were able to ask him personally. If he is the Son of God, when I meet Him, he certainly won’t be asking you your opinion. I think that your argument is the epitome of un-Christian. There is no hint of penitence; it is brash, prideful and boastful.
If I was not a Christian, then perhaps you might be able to name a few people other than yourself whom I know who are. At least this way I might be able to get a feeling for what a “real Christian” is. Obviously you count yourself as one. You consider Repentance to be the first of the fruits of a True Christian life-“180 degree turn away from sinful behavior and towards Godly behavior”. Do you sin Dan? How much sin would you say someone can do and still be a “True Christian”? I try not to “sin”. I live a very full life, raise four very kind and gentle children, give my time to charity, volunteer for good causes, donate money to charities, look after my 87 year old grandmother, give my time happily to my friends, hold down a full time job, maintain a loving relationship with my wife. I do all these things. Are they all worthless because I don’t “know God” the way you “know God”? I do all this and I am still very self-critical. I want to be better. I know I am not perfect. I know I do not have all the answers.

I don’t really know you enough to comment on how full your life is. You might do many of the things I mentioned above. Where we evidently differ is in humility. Where I don’t profess to have all the answers, you do. You just know that an atheist can’t be an ex-Christian. You just know all about my personal relationship with Christ- past, present, and future. According to your blog, you know which sects of Christianity are false- even thought their beliefs and actions are based on the same book you choose to cherry-pick from.

Spirituality is a very personal thing. There are as many versions of Christianity as their are people who claim to practice it. You might want to start showing some humility when addressing other human beings. You sound like the Pharisee talking smack about the tax collector.

So we are clear, you are welcome on this blog. Your opinions will be heard and acknowledged. Rest assured though that they are nothing more than your opinions. They are not facts. Your brand of Christianity is no more valid here than Fred Phelps’, the Pope’s, Julie’s, Peter’s, Kate’s, or anyone else. I will tolerate only so much. You will not be welcome here if you insult the beliefs of any of my Christian friends. That is a warning. Don’t ever-ever-EVER tell a non-Christian that their relationships with their friends,family, spouses, or children are of less worth than your own.
Maybe all this seems a little too preemptive, but your language thus far has reminded me of a few other “Christians” I have met on the internet.

P.S. On the subject of my parents- I am well aware that this seems odd to people. Maybe I should devote a detailed post to the subject in the future. I am a bit surprised though that someone who claims to have an incredibly deep relationship based on unconditional love with a guy you never see, never hug, never kiss would have such a hard time grasping how you might feel loved and accepted in the absence of physical affection.

George,

>>I live a very full life, raise four very kind and gentle children, give my time to charity, volunteer for good causes, donate money to charities, look after my 87 year old grandmother, give my time happily to my friends, hold down a full time job, maintain a loving relationship with my wife. I do all these things. Are they all worthless because I don’t “know God” the way you “know God”?

The simple answer is Yes! You cannot DO anything to earn your way to being “good” or to Heaven. You’re a criminal with the punishment that you deserve at your doorstep. You have rejected the ONE thing that can and will save you.

>> There is no hint of penitence; it is brash, prideful and boastful.

As it should be! What is love to you? Coddling in bad behavior? You are angry at me, but the anger is misdirected. You are not like most who are lost, you are an enemy of God. You knew who God was and rejected Him fully. Its far worse, if that is even possible. You shall be devoted to destruction.

>>You might want to start showing some humility when addressing other human beings.

Look what it says in Matthew 22:39 “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”

But what does this truly mean? Does that mean we are to love them no matter what they do because we are sinners also? Do we coddle them in their sins, tell them God loves them no matter what? Nope Jesus was clear when he said this. He was telling us what the standard was. The way to show your love to your neighbor is to warn them and their sins will take them to hell.

The only way you can show your love to your neighbor was outlined in Leviticus 19:17-18 “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.”

If you believe coddling is love then you are delusional. You must confront, and sometimes rebuke, to show love to someone. I say this all the time but it takes far more love to confront then to ignore the situation. Perfect love is a constant confronter. George, I love you…enough to tell you the truth.

Look, I fully understand that truth always is confrontational, there is always someone on the wrong side of truth. This is a very serious and real subject for you and I. If I didn’t love you enough to tell you the truth, then I wouldn’t. Truth hurts, I understand. :7) I thought of all people, that you would appreciate truth. Maybe not.

I want you saved, George. If not at least you can go to hell knowing the truth that you want to go there.

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon

My heart aches for you George!

First of all Dan, I am not angry at you. Any regular reader of this blog would recognize when I am angry. If you want to see me angry then direct yourself to this comment.
No, Dan, I care about you. You took the time to read my post and comment on it. I care about your internal consistency. I care about you professing your love of God by mustering up nothing better than condescension and judgment. You are that Pharisee from the parable. You think that you have it all figured out, that you are godly just because you profess a love of God. Jesus favored the tax collector because of his humility. All those who exalt themselves shall be humbled, all those who humble themselves shall be exalted. I don’t believe in God, but I believe very deeply in the truth of this parable. Jesus really was the first person to identify the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Truly I tell you this, a man who toils in the field will bear more fruit then the man who begs for it. That you believe that the life I lead is worthless, that the good that I serve in the life of others is worthless, that is the sin. I don’t care to live my life for someone who would discount all of the value I have earned if not in His name.

Perhaps you are right, Dan. Perhaps God is a petty, self-centered, tyrant who insists on absolute deference at the expense of my immortal soul. If that is the case than I will be as a Christian to the lions. I would rather an eternity of torment to kneeling before someone like that. That God could never be my God, regardless of how much proof you could offer.
You are right that God need not be comfortable. I didn’t leave Christianity because I felt it was “too much work” or that “He wasn’t there when I needed Him”. In your first response, you said that I felt that Jesus was here to “make my ride more comfortable”, that is about as far from the truth as I can imagine. You say that it is evident from my testimony. Where? Really, you read it right? Where? I think you have a stock number of stereotypes that you like to blanket project on all atheists and this is one of them. Did you just get that feeling? It wasn’t so much the words as the spirit?
And how is it that I wasn’t really a Christian last time, but this time I “knew God, and rejected him fully”?

I really believe that you are walking through life blind. You wake up every morning, put those X-ray spectacles over your empty sockets and profess to see the world clearly. There are Christians out there who believe with just as much fervor as you that you are the one who is wrong. They can quote relevant Bible passages, question the context of your bible quotes, claim just as much authority, and insist that God is on their side.

I am not angry at you Dan. I feel sorry for you. That you cannot see value outside of salvation. That you discount a whole world of goodness, knowledge and beauty just because it doesn’t have a cross stapled to it.

I don’t believe coddling is love, I wouldn’t expect you to blindly accept what I say to you. I just wish that you wouldn’t expect me to do that either. I never insisted that my beliefs be respected. I insist that I be respected. I respect you. I don’t respect your beliefs.

You obviously feel that I am being hostile toward you. You feel slighted. Look, I fully understand that truth always is confrontational, there is always someone on the wrong side of truth. This is a very serious and real subject for you and I. If I didn’t love you enough to tell you the truth, then I wouldn’t. Truth hurts, I understand.

Hey Geo, what if there’s NOT a hell, and God is much more loving and inclusive (all inclusive) than He’s been given credit for? What would you think of a God like that?

You can bet your bottom dollar Julie that I have considered that possibility. I think that sometime theists don’t give enough credit to those who have left the faith. They assume that it was simple, that we didn’t try to reconcile our doubts with our faith. I could write an entire book on the reasons I am an atheist. It wasn’t one thing. It wasn’t people like Dan, or Zdenny, or hell, or Calvinism, or the barbarism of the old testament, or the antiquated morality, or the contradictions, or science. It was all these things, none of these things, and so much more.
If you would like, I can make a “top 10” list in a future post that might shed some light on the best arguments against Christianity for me personally. What I have resolved to do is to be the kind of person that I believe might be worthy of good things; be it karma, heaven, Valhalla, respect, dignity. I have said before that if Christianity were trying to emulate Jesus, then I might still be happy with that label. If I resolve to be the best George I can be, to live every day with purpose and vision, to give freely of what I have to give- then I will happily accept my reward or punishment knowing that I was the best I could have been.

If Jesus is an asshole, then I’ve still won by being the best I could, and I go to hell. If Jesus is your Jesus, then I can assume that I have earned some spiritual capital. If Jesus was just a really good guy who had his message twisted into a misplaced religion, there is no heaven and nothing beyond this life, then I still got my earthly reward.

“Don’t try to be a Great Man, just be a Man, and let history make the decisions.”

Hey George, (responding to Dan’s post) in my take on Scriptures and hence, my opinion, faith has to be instilled by God, not mustered up on our own. The fact that you don’t believe and never really have is no fault of your own. So then, how could you be punished for it?

Acts 17:31, the famous Mars Hill message that Paul gave to the unbelieving, learned men of Athens, Paul says that God will furnish belief to all people. Translators did not want to print the actual word for belief (pistis) because it did not seem possible to them that God would furnish belief to all, so they translated it words like “proof,” instead. Also, Paul calls these unbelieving pagans “offspring of God,” including them as his brothers in the future inheritance.

I have come to a different conclusion about God, God’s character, and God’s love–He will not fail us. Love will never fail. It will never be too late for anyone, and in the “end,” everyone will have been given belief and relationship with a loving Father. Just my opinion…

Julie,

>>The fact that you don’t believe and never really have is no fault of your own. So then, how could you be punished for it?

God gave us free will to choose to love Him. We choose not to and to serve our master, sin. We are slaves to sin. God does not send people to Hell for denying something they are not certain about. We are certain we choose Hell. Yes, God saves us from our master because we want to change our master. As love is, its a 50/50 relationship.

>>It will never be too late for anyone, and in the “end,” everyone will have been given belief and relationship with a loving Father. Just my opinion…

So Satan will be in Heaven?

What you have done is a Taxicab fallacy.
The Bible, in its entirety, can’t be dismissed like a hack once you’ve arrived at your desired destination! Also, what you also have done is broken the 2nd Commandment and created a god to suite yourself. You do not like the fact that there is a hell maybe, but it exists. People will go there. Are you saying that the people that hate God will go to Heaven? If someone is forced to love, love at all?

The Bible describes Hell as unquenchable fire,(Mark 9:43) outer darkness,(Matthew 22:13) a furnace of fire and a place where people wail and gnash their teeth,(Matthew 13:42) and a lake of fire.(Revelation 20:15) where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched,(Mark 9:48) and where people are in agony in flames.(Luke 16:24)

Perhaps the most terrifying passage in the Bible describing hell says that men will “drink the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night.” (Revelation 14:10-11)

According to the Bible if you have made the wrong choice, to choose evil over God, then you will burn in agonizing pain for eternity.

Are you absolutely sure you have truth on your side? If so, How do you know that your reasoning about this or ANYTHING is valid?

First of all to Dan, and I won’t spend a lot of time on this, since I am pretty sure it will be in vain. Free will is one of the more ludicrous fallacies of the modern Church. Free will would suggest that my choices can completely alter the course of my life and the lives of others. There is no Scriptural basis for this kind of thinking whatsoever. Free will would inhibit/ruin the very will of God, and God says that nothing can prevent or change His plan and purpose–it was written from the beginning and will carry out exactly according to plan.

The only thing God has given to mankind (if you understand the accurate Hebrew perspective on Scriptures) is “dominion.” Dominion is your sphere of influence, but it is always limited. Some people have much more God-given dominion–whether for good or bad–but they are confined.

Nobody would choose hell. People like George might choose to disbelieve something that makes no rational or reasonable sense (like most of the theology of the modern Church), but they do not choose hell. Paul is an excellent example of inability to overcome unbelief on his own. He did not believe in Christ, and he did not have a “coming to Jesus” moment. He did not even have a real choice. Paul was struck blind in order to see. It is the same for us all, imo. Paul says he was a pattern for all people, to be testified in due time.

Will Satan be in heaven? Well, bad theology in the question since we don’t die and go to “heaven.” But will Satan be redeemed? If you take God at His word, YES. Satan is merely playing a part in the Story–someone has to be bad in order to reveal what is good. But even Paul plainly states on more than one occasion that God will redeem ALL of His creation and created beings, even those in other realms (see Col. 1:15-20 for starters).

Judgment is an unquenchable fire, but it only consumes that which isn’t pure IN the gold, or ON the wheat. Fire is a purifying process, not a damning, destroying medium. Unfortunately you, like most Christians, have no real understanding of Jesus’ true teachings or intent, and I realize you are just operating on lies that have been passed down to you. I have lived most of my life the same way so I encourage you to get out there and start finding answers for yourself and testing your beliefs against history, Greek Scriptures (use a free online interlinear) and early Hebrew perspectives. You will be shocked at any one of these avenues of study for all the insight they reveal about how we have been lied to and what is the truth about Scriptures. Modern Bibles are wrought with mistranslations, agendas, and outright lies.

TO GEORGE…I just want to say on behalf of Dan, myself, and so many other “Christians” that I am deeply, deeply sorry for how we have maligned the true character and name of God, and how we have minimized your (collectively) honest questions, and how we have downplayed the love you have shown to humanity, which is ultimately the most God-like behavior there is. I will say this boldly (and I’m sure I will be verbally pummeled for doing so)…assuming for a moment that I’m right and there is a God, He will not penalize you for your honest questions or for your inability to muster up faith. He will reward you for the love you have shown, regardless if you did it like the Christians said you had to. There is no hell (there is certainly accountability for the way we treat others in this lifetime), and people like Dan and so many others are going to be very sad to find out that they weren’t any more special or privileged than any other human being/child of God. I, on the other hand, am smitten by the thought every single day because I know I am no better and no more deserving!

Btw…Paul preached an inclusive gospel (that all the world would be saved) and it also angered the Pharisees, who wanted to be special).

Thanks for listening.

Julie, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. (Surprise!)
If there were a God, and He was exactly the kind of God that Dan describes, and there were a Hell for those who refused to bow before Him; then I would choose to go to Hell. I would choose it the same way that Christians stood resolute as they were killed for their faith. I will not bow before a tyrant. Not for my life, not for my eternal soul.

That’s ironic, George. That’s just what my husband has said over the past two years, and he’s not even an atheist. As we came into our new beliefs about there being no hell and about God reconciling all His children ultimately, my husband said, “If we were to find out that there is a hell after all, and that a ‘loving god’ would lose (give up?) most of his creation to it, then I would rather go to hell than serve a god like that.” Over time, I have come to the same sentiment. If there IS a hell, that would not be a god worth serving because he would be either a weak loser (Arminianism) or a vindictive monster (Calvinism). Sounds like we have more in common than you know. 😀

You see, thanks for confirming that people would rather go to hell, then serve God.

Matthew 6:24, Luke 15:7 says plenty. You both have been warned. You are JUDGING the judge and are breaking the 2nd Commandment again.

Van Til said it this way “If God’s authority must be authorized or validated by the authority of human reasoning and assessment, then human thinking is more authoritative the God Himself-in which case God would not have final authority, and indeed would no longer be God.”

You both are, literally, playing with fire.

Your Van Til quote misses the whole point. I am not questioning or validating a potential God’s authority to pass judgment. If one exists, and He created this world and everything in it, He is well within His rights to judge me as He sees fit. I don’t arrogantly assume that my metric of judging my behaviour is the only one available, or valid. Let’s be clear, I am not questioning His authority. I am questioning His existence, yes. I am questioning His logic, yes. At no time have I ever questioned the potential authority of a Creator God should one exist.
If He wants to damn me to Hell for not murdering a Muslim, He is well within His rights. If He wants to damn me for counciling my homosexual best friend out of suicide and toward an embracing of his own unique character, He is well within His rights. If He wishes to condemn me for treating those who think differently with respect and dignity, then I will accept His judgment. If He wishes to have me burn for being a loving, generous, self-critical, purposeful, modest, and honest human being who does not believe that He is real; then let me burn.
Don’t ache for me Dan. I cannot think of a more glorious end to my life well lived. I can think of nothing more important in my existence than taking the time to wave my longest finger at someone who would abuse peoples trust and penitence like that.

I do not question His authority, should He exist. I question His sanity.

An unjust law is no law at all.- St. Augustine

He can damn me to hell. He can take my life. He can take my soul. He can never take my spirit, or my truth. Those are mine.

George,

An unjust law is no law at all.- St. Augustine

By what standard are you saying “unjust”? Before we address that you have made some assumptions of your point that you will have to defend before the claim is even valid. Like Razi Zacharias said that I highlight in one of my posts, you have just invoked a moral law, or standard, in raising that claim that your worldview cannot account for. That is your presupposition of the claim, is it not? Otherwise, the claim self destructs.

Dan,
Did you bother to lurk at all before you started commenting here? I assure you you do not want to get in a conversation with me about presuppositional apologetics. I have written several posts on the subject, and have yet to tie the whole group together. If you take the time to read the posts, you will see that I have answered this question before. I’m sure you will enjoy my summary post, which I will be publishing soon. I was hoping that Peter would take the time to respond to my arguments before I summarize them, but I have all but given up hope for that.

Julie,

I must say you stood me up a bit and I feel your love and compassion. I like you vision, true or not.

>> and people like Dan and so many others are going to be very sad to find out that they weren’t any more special or privileged than any other human being/child of God.

No, do not misunderstand me. I know with complete confidence that I am not worthy and I am a wicked and wretched man. As DC Talk sings “This only serves to confirm my suspicions, That I’m still a man in need of a Savior ” I will be humbly very happy to sit drinking lemonade with all my atheistic friends, including my parents and siblings, including George here laughing about all these times we had discussing these matters in paradise for all of eternity. I would be in awe and certainly pleased.

I hope you are right Julie. But like the taxicab fallacious reading of Scripture that you are doing, the evidence does not show the vision that you pose. Oh how that would be nice though. I do actually want these Atheists, that I have befriended, saved. That is why there is a brashness to my words. Time is of the essence.

If you saw it, you’d might remember in Pulp Fiction when Vincent (John Travolta) said to Wolf “A please would be nice.”

Wolf said “Get it straight buster – I’m not here to say please, I’m here to tell you what to do and if self-preservation is an instinct you possess you’d better do it and do it quick! I’m here to help – if my help’s not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen.”

Vincent: “I don’t mean any disrespect, I just don’t like people barking orders at me.”

The Wolf: “If I’m curt with you it’s because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please… with sugar on top. Clean the car!”

and scene.

So if I am curt with the Atheists it’s because time really is the factor and the lost could die tomorrow. So pretty please with sugar on top, seek truth in Jesus.

>>Nobody would choose hell.

Over at my blog people have said, on record (written), that they would rather burn in hell for eternity then to worship God. So you’re wrong about that. I just think that you are a tad bit lofty in your thoughts. Do you believe in real evil? Do you believe people have done heinous crimes that are beyond anything humane? Unrepentant pure evil exists. Maybe you just have not been exposed to it yet.

Anyway, I enjoy your vision but there is not justice in that world. The Just Judge God will deal with the criminals of this world, accordingly. You don’t think that God would set free unrepentant child molesters do you?

Dan,
I’ll let Julie defend herself, I have the utmost respect for her. Honestly though, you don’t find anything fallacious about arguing that child molesters and atheists are equally evil?
I’ll say this. If repentance is the key, then I’ll happily take responsibility for my mistake if I ever meet my maker. I’m sure He’ll understand, given that He left so much evidence to the contrary….

Julie,

I just wanted to be perfectly clear on a point to you. As its discussed in a lecture that I highlight in a post of mine God has not foreordained that all men be saved, he prescribed the salvation of all men. He has indicated He would be pleased that all men be saved but the Bible, God’s Word, indicates He has not decreed it. You’re wrong to think otherwise. Also, from what authority do you get your information from? Is it merely your subjective opinion?

You also claimed that God’s word is full of holes and errors, that brings me to one question:

Do you believe its possible that omniscient, omnipotent being could ordain that His Word be infallible, inspired, and inerrant?

Debunking,

For some reason there was not a reply button to your post but here is my reply anyhow.

You said I am wrong about God saving all people, are you sure from your own investigation, or is that what has been spoon fed to you your whole life. I could quote a plethora of verses where God PLAINLY states that He WILL reconcile all people and that He has already overcome death for ALL (it is a FREE gift afterall…why would it be free for some and not for others?)

You asked: Do you believe its possible that omniscient, omnipotent being could ordain that His Word be infallible, inspired, and inerrant?

I had hoped for a harder question but here is my answer.

Jeremiah 8:7–9: “But My people do not know the ordinance of the LORD. How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, THE LYING PEN OF THE SCRIBES HAS MADE IT INTO A LIE. The wise men are put to shame, they are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, and what kind of wisdom do they have?”

@George. You spoke of “my Jesus” in an earlier post. Well, let’s make a distinction here. Paul talked about people receiving a false gospel and another Jesus that he didn’t present. The modern Church’s version of Jesus is that of a partial (favorites) failure. This is not the Jesus I ascribe to. “My Jesus” is the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD, and my gospel is the GOOD NEWS for all people (hey, didn’t an angel announce “good news which shall be for ALL the people?” SEems like if you are going to hell, it wouldn’t be good news for you.

George, as you know, hell is senseless, irrational, and easy to disprove. That is why I wrote a book on the topic. You are free to read it…should be published in the near future. It’s in the final edit stage now. It’s called, “Raising Hell: find out why the Good News is actually GOOD.” A lot of research went into that book, and whether or not a person comes away with an agreement with the message or not, it will not be a waste of time.

@Dan and Debunking…not so long ago, I had the same beliefs you did. But as I began researching, I realized my beliefs didn’t hold any substance and that I had only believed what had been spoon fed to me my whole life. I challenge you to start thinking for yourselves and find out why did God hide truth from people? I will tell you this. It was not to damn them. But there are many passages that reiterate that idea and it’s worth looking into. Maybe you are one that the truth has been hidden from, like I was not so long ago.

Have a good week!

I forgot the verses about Him blinding people. Unlike the view of Calvinists, God did not blind people to damn them. Again, there was a great reason why He did so. God Himself said He does not show favoritism, so it would be impossible for Him to fault those He didn’t even give half a chance to.

For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.” John 12:39-40

10 As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. 11 And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside (the crowds) get everything in parables, 12 so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN.”Mark 4:10-12

Julie,
Sorry about the lack of a reply option, but my wordpress system only allows so many nested comments before you have to start anew.
Dan & Dubunking are the same guy, his site is called Debunking Atheists. He just logged in under a different name.

I respect your more inclusive and magnanimous view of Jesus. I would be glad to read your books. Are they available through book stores? Do you have a large publisher? I’m currently swamped with research of my own on a few projects I am trying to get off the ground. I’m even contributing to a faith and spirituality television program that is produced by a close friend. So, by all means, take your time with the editing process. It may be several weeks before I am able to give your book the time it deserves.

This is partially why I am going on twenty days without a new post. I keep trying to find the time to get writing, but between this discussion, others I am having on other blogs, and life in the real world, I am quickly falling behind. I don’t need a Personal Savior right now, I need a personal assistant! That was probably in poor taste. Oh well.

I want to say that I really appreciate you going to bat for Jesus in this conversation. I am reluctant to turn these conversations into a dichotomy between views like Dan’s and my own. You have been a breath of fresh air. I want to get your opinion on an article that was brought to my attention yesterday. I’ll talk to you about it soon.

I have written 3 books, but I was only speaking of the one that isn’t published yet. It will probably be 1-2 more months before it is in print so I will ask you about it later. I avoid large publishers for many reasons, but I especially like having the control and flexibility of publishing my own books.

Sounds like you have a lot of interesting things going, and just being a dad is such a time consuming endeavor. You may not even want to read it. As an atheist the only part you may find interesting is how I came to not believe in hell (and all the research thereof). I also present my case for the all inclusive love of God, which has revolutionized my perspectives on everything. Please don’t feel obligated to read for any reason.

Julie,

From what I gather so far, I believe your argument is fallacious (Taxicab – getting out when your point is made and discounting everything in context) and are basically discounting the entire Bible. Also your eisegesis is quite apparent. For example Mark 4:10-12 speaks about the lost not being able to discern what is being said. This is why Jesus used parables. The apostles being filled with the Holy Spirit, had the means to understand the inner meaning.

>> I had hoped for a harder question but here is my answer. Jeremiah 8:7–9

Then how come you NEVER answered it, if it were so “easy”? Did you even read it, in light of what you just said, that the Bible is perceived to be completely corrupted.

“Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, and what kind of wisdom do they have?”

I find this ironic even though, in context, the “Word of the Lord” is His Laws. Please understand that it says “they are dismayed and caught” speaking about a specific situation probably where the scribes were altering the copy or writing Apocrypha, or whatever. I will have to flesh it out further but do you really think if they were “dismayed and caught!” that the text would STILL make it to the final draft? They were caught! You do not give God too much credit. Finally again, you NEVER answered the question. I believe you understand by committing to a yes or no to my question, “Do you believe its possible that omniscient, omnipotent being could ordain that His Word be infallible, inspired, and inerrant?”, would expose your logic for what it is. Truth is liberating. A move to truth, is a move towards God. Just answer the question directly, please.

Now, if you reject the Bible as corrupted, what authority do you appeal to? Yourself and your “research”? (“and what kind of wisdom do they have?”) If so, you are placing your self in the Judges Chair again, God’s Chair.

You are also apparently trying to remove the fear of the Lord and that is how it persuades men. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” 2 Corinthians 5:11

You are negating the need for repentance, trusting in Christ, and preaching of the Good news entirely! If we are all saved already then there is NO NEED for Christ! These are the basic tenets of Christianity! Maybe I am not getting what you are claiming entirely. My curiosity is increasing. I would like to flesh out your position to see its value, or not. You too are trying to make the “ride more comfortable.” Its not Biblical.

>>Unlike the view of Calvinists, God did not blind people to damn them.

So the “crazy” Calvinists got it wrong when they read, “Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” ~2 Thessalonians 2:10-12? Pretty plain to me.

>> Again, there was a great reason why He did so

You do understand that people eternally tormented in Hell is glorifying God still. In that they rejected God and wants not to be with Him, He honors them even in their unrighteousness. So IF, big if there is a real Hell where people are in for eternity, would that change your view about God? Would you still worship Him?

If you want some exposure you can have your publisher contact me (DebunkingAtheists@gmail.com) and send a copy of your book to review. If you have a Kindle version, its even easier. Many authors, even Atheists, have sent me a copy of their book for review on my blog to get exposure to tens of thousands, all over the world, that peruse my blog. I do give fair reviews but pull no punches for things that needs addressing. If your pursuit is for truth, it should not be a problem at all.

>>Maybe you are one that the truth has been hidden from, like I was not so long ago.

It actually sounds like you are reading too much Apocryphal writings. I remember one that said that all people will go to Heaven. Anyway, so you use the source of the Bible to determine the Bible is not God’s Word.

I am sorry George to hijack your post but this Julie is an interesting subject. I hope you view all of this as a couple of people at a BBQ just having a conversation. You both are interesting conversation.

On account of the three of us being the only people commenting on this thread at this point, I’m not going to be a stickler for staying on subject. Don’t worry Dan.
The problem between you and Julie is that you read the bible in one context and she reads it in another. Given that I believe faith, knowledge, and redemption to be a path rather than a destination, I tend to side with Julie on this. There is only one person claiming to have all the answers here, and it is neither me nor Julie.
In light of this, and given the fact that pride, hubris, and arrogance are one of the few sins that permeate every chapter of the Bible, I believe that Julie is more right with scripture than you. God has a special place for those who claim to have all the answers, if you read the bible with an open mind. That revelation doesn’t serve your judgmental version of Christianity, you are essentially just a Christian so that you can pass judgment on others. That is the purpose of your blog, it is the purpose of this conversation, and until I see any other side of you that you keep hidden from public, that appears to be the purpose of your faith.
You claim Julie is playing judge, yet no one here has cast more judgment on others than yourself. You feel you are right to do so because you have a Bible with your interpretation. If someone comes to you with a passage that contradicts your worldview, you are happy to shout “CONTEXT” yet you feel that those verses that support your thesis transcend context.
You are as much or more of a “Contextual Christian” than Julie. You just fallaciously argue that you are right because your God is meaner and more petty, and because it is both harder and more futile to follow such a God, that your added sacrifice is proof that you are right.

Here is my take. I think that the Bible is a great way to see what is truly in someone’s heart. Every person who reads the bible will find the God they want to find. They find the God that they would be if they were able. If you are petty, judgmental, arrogant, mean, and proud; so too will your God be. If you are loving, kind, forgiving, magnanimous, inclusive and seeking; so too will your God be.
You can put on airs all you like, you can fool everyone into thinking you are kind, you can act hard and strong though you are not, you can pay lip service to whatever virtue you like, but your God will give you away. The best proof, to me, that the bible is truth is that there is all of us in it. The best proof, to me, that Christianity is broken is that so many want to take that away.
At least we now know that Dan is a strict Bible literalist, so thankfully we won’t have to hear about the rapture coming in our lifetime. That conversation is really pointless.
I’ll leave you with two of my favorite bible quotes. They sum up my feelings about Christians who think they have it all figured out.
Job 5:17- “Blessed is the one whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
and John 9:39-41-
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

George,

A couple of things. I do not claim to know ALL things. That would make me god after all. I am not God.

Second, I do not read the Bible literally. No one should with the obvious parables and hyperbole. No, I read the Bible plainly.

Yes I am interested in Julies take on the subject. Mainly so I can see the fault in either her argument or MINE! I would love to know my Mom is in Heaven right now but I am afraid its just wishful thinking. But if there is a chance, like Julie is posing, then I will evaluate it to see its truth. I am open and welcome for people to tell me I am wrong. Like I said, perfect love is a constant confronter. If you didn’t love me enough, then you wouldn’t tell me I am wrong.

Just know that, with that same love, I am warning you of your impending doom of Hell. Its lovingly warning you, not judgmental. Like I sad if I am curt, forgive me, but time is of the essence here. No one here will know when its too late for any of this. We must go on the assumption that its imminent. My Atheist Father in law is in the ICU right now. I sure wish I would have stood him up, and discussed these things, even more then I already have.

[insert C.H. Spurgeon’s quote here]

Hey Dan-the-debunking-atheist-man,

You do tend to make a lot of judgments, I will agree with George. How do you know my argument is fallacious when you don’t even have a clue what it is? LOL. How can you say I am discounting the entire bible when you don’t even know how I arrived at my conclusions (nor have you really asked)? Part of the reason I would not be inclined to tell you is that I’m afraid, based on our short history together, that you wouldn’t listen to me anyhow. The other part is…why should I make that much effort when I’ve already written a book about it? You can just read the book if you’re really interested.

When the time comes in the next couple months, you can feel free to buy a hard copy or download it on kindle (cheaply either way). Wouldn’t it be marvelous if you found new hope in regard to your mother or your father in law? I would think someone in your position would be more than willing to consider any shred of potential hope, not dismissive before even looking into it.

>>“Do you believe its possible that omniscient, omnipotent being could ordain that His Word be infallible, inspired, and inerrant?” Just answer the question directly, please.

Anything is possible, but that does not necessitate a particular expected result. He has already told us many times in His word that He HIDES truth from people. Might He do it by allowing errors to creep in at the hands of corrupt or ignorant translators who are relying on tradition and job security instead of what the original language says? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find glaring errors in our Bibles—a little old (senile) lady or a child could find them with a few tools or guidelines.

Do you believe that the modern versions of the Bible are infallible and inerrant?

Is it not clear that truth has been hidden? Look at all the dissenting doctrines, dogmas, and opinions on Scripture.

I never said I reject the bible as corrupted. I certainly do not take anything I read for granted anymore, but go back to Greek and Hebrew and study it out. There are definitely many words or verses I reject in the bible as corrupted! Even the different modern versions contradict each other. So which one is right? Which Bible do you use Dan? Is it inerrant?

>>You are negating the need for repentance, trusting in Christ, and preaching of the Good news entirely! If we are all saved already then there is NO NEED for Christ!

Dan, I would love to address this statement, but first answer a question for me. What are we saved FROM? Do me a favor and answer this question out of Genesis or Paul’s letters. After all, Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles. So answer from Paul, what are we saved from? Or answer from Genesis where the stage is set.

>>You too are trying to make the “ride more comfortable.” Its not Biblical.

How do you know what I’m saying is not biblical? Again, you are only posing such a claim from your history of traditions of men and reading the bible through tainted lenses. You have no basis for saying what I’m saying is unbiblical unless you have thoroughly investigated what I am saying and why.

Are you a Calvinist? Arminianist? It will help me to understand where you are coming from if I know.

>>You do understand that people eternally tormented in Hell is glorifying God still. In that they rejected God and wants not to be with Him, He honors them even in their unrighteousness. So IF, big if there is a real Hell where people are in for eternity, would that change your view about God? Would you still worship Him?

This says a lot about your god, Dan. That you believe God could or would be glorified while most of His own children are burning to a crisp for all eternity…very warped (but again, I believed this for at least 39 years, so I’m not necessarily faulting you yet). Do you have children? What wrongs would your children commit that you would find glory in building a bonfire and watching them roast in it? Rejecting your love? Can you find even one loving parent in this world who would agree that their child is ever worth giving up on or who would sentence them infinite misery for a finite crime? Would you then say that that earthly parent is more loving and more forgiving than God?

A few years ago, I did worship that god. Today, I would never bow to or worship that god again because I am more than 100% convinced that he does not exist, except in the minds of man made religion. My God will not be satisfied until every one of His creatures is restored and reconciled in relationship to Him. If you think I’m preaching a different gospel, I dare you to read my book. Yes, I am preaching a different gospel than yours. Mine is the Good News, what is yours?

Dan, have you ever studied history for the first 500 years after Christ to find out what went down with the formation of the bible and most of the tenets of Christianity—where they came from and how they got worked into the Church? With all information available, it would behoove you to check into it more. You can focus on a few key characters and their contributions to many of the practices of modern Christianity—Constantine, Athanasius, Jerome, and St. Augustine.

I really loved George’s sentiments: “Here is my take. I think that the Bible is a great way to see what is truly in someone’s heart. Every person who reads the bible will find the God they want to find. They find the God that they would be if they were able. If you are petty, judgmental, arrogant, mean, and proud; so too will your God be. If you are loving, kind, forgiving, magnanimous, inclusive and seeking; so too will your God be.”

Dan, until we understand the true heart of our Father and begin to emulate Him, we will never, never be able to really love people or value them. For all the “love” I thought I had as a Christian living under the belief of hell, I had the attitude toward people that if they didn’t “want to know God,” then they were basically a waste of time. How is an unbeliever going to find God in that equation? How are my unbelieving friends going to feel genuinely loved if they sense I have an agenda? The mainstream Christian “gospel” is one that will never truly change lives or reach the world because it is exclusive, unjust, vindictive, weak, and it short-sheets love. Oh yeah, it is also false.

For all those people who are going to hell who rejected God, according to mainstream Christianity (many by default), how is that fair for an orphan living on the streets of India who never heard about a “Father God who loves him”? How did that child reject God and choose a destiny of hell? Apply this to about 90% of people who have ever lived who, by no choice of their own, grew up in conditions where even if they heard about Jesus, had nothing to draw upon to “choose Him.”

>>Yes I am interested in Julies take on the subject. Mainly so I can see the fault in either her argument or MINE!

Is this really how you feel Dan? What if you’re wrong? Are you willing to consider that possibility enough to weigh the evidence, or is this just about winning for you? If it’s about winning, there is nothing more to discuss. If it’s about honest assessment and being willing to question like I was, then there might be many amazing new perspectives that could challenge your beliefs. Two years ago I was maybe not much different than you in my beliefs and convictions, but I decided to approach the Bible and my faith with new eyes and a willing heart, and not to try to prove or disprove anything…to see where the evidence led. It has been a wild, exhilarating, and amazing ride, and I would never go back to the “gospel” of death and failure I once believed.

My prayer for you is that you would open your heart to the possibilities of a much bigger, more powerful Gospel than you ever imagined, and a much more loving, powerful, victorious God who cares about every single one of His children and will not lose one.

As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive, but each in his own order… 1 Cor. 15:22-23

Julie,

>>You do tend to make a lot of judgments, I will agree with George.

Is judging wrong? The entire Bible is judging. We are to judge to see if things are of God or if its evil. We are even to judge ourselves to see if we are on path or not. God will certainly Judge. Judging is a good thing. But you’re right, I was placing you in a “crazy” box pretty quick. Any claim of no hell when the Bible clearly says there is, automatically gets a first reaction of suspect. Especially when God’s wrath is mentioned almost 200 times.

It appears, when you say things like God is cruel to send people to Hell, that you are placing God in the defendant’s chair. Its a huge red flag.

>>What wrongs would your children commit that you would find glory in building a bonfire and watching them roast in it?

If they were raping and murdering their sisters and brothers? It would be just. You see, Hell is for the unrepentant criminals. Period. They are not able to be rehabilitated. They are pure evil. God is a JUST Judge, even if He determines to place someone in Hell for eternity. Releasing criminals is unjust. But I believe you know all this, so I just don’t see how you get to where you’re at. What was your influence? Where is the research. State your case for these extra ordinary conclusions.

Just do me a favor. I am always receptive to truth and I am not afraid of it. If you are speaking, truth I welcome it! That is why I need to know what you know to determine that. Forgive my prejudices initially but you have to understand what is being said here. So, if your book on the subject is not ready, can you at least point me to the research that you gathered? Maybe the pinnacle “ah ha” moments that changed your mind so abruptly. It sounds suspiciously like Buddhism, but I am not saying that is the case…just yet. You must understand that what you are claiming is extraordinary even in your own mind (two years ago) so you must give me some wiggle room here. I cannot see how you get to the point of not fearing our Lord. Especially in light of Scripture (Jeremiah 5:18-25, Isaiah 5:20-21, Psalm 36:1-2, 4)

>> With all information available, it would behoove you to check into it more.

You are completely discounting the Holy Spirit’s abilities here. You are saying its impossible for God to preserve His Word. Another red flag.

Look, all I need is 11 minutes of your time. This is MY STARTING POINT. This is what I believe. Convince me I am wrong. Do you have anything that states your case? I will even be willing to read your book to help you convince me. BUT if you make me buy it, and I find it false, I will not hold back any words explaining such. If I am swindled, I get loud and “turn the tables” much the same as Jesus did to the money changers, I will do my very best and make it my mission to assist the “Cleansing of the Temple”. If you gift it, I will merely treat it as a review (a job), strait forward with my opinion, of what I read. No investment, no lose, not personal. If you understood my position, you would probably understand more about this. You see, I home school my kids (5 of them) and my wife works. So I am careful to what we spend our funds on. You swindle me, and take my wife’s hard earned money, then we will have a real problem. It will be personal. I am rooting for you though. I want you to win this argument.

>>Are you a Calvinist? Arminianist?

No, I am a Christian. I do not follow men, I follow Christ. I do like the five Solas (Sola Scriptura” (Scripture Alone); “Sola Gratia” (Grace Alone); “Sola Fide” (Faith Alone); “Solus Christus” (Christ Alone); and “Soli Deo Gloria” (To God Alone Be Glory).) Now, if I was pigeon holed I might be a believer in Christian Reconstructionism but I weigh everything against God’s Word to determine its validity. What about you? What is your gauge?

>>Even the different modern versions contradict each other. So which one is right? Which Bible do you use Dan? Is it inerrant?

As for the original Greek and Hebrew, I live at Blue Letter Bible and I am always looking things up. I agree with you, about to be wary of the translations, but yes God’s Word (original Hebrew and Greek) is inerrant.

As far as the different translations though, there is a sliding scale so I take all of them into account and not trust any ‘one’ thing that man has done. I stay close to literal and conservative as possible. The translations start from very conservative and literal translations like Young’s Literal, Darby then to KJV then on up to the top (or bottom in my perspective) of the more modern and liberal translations like NLT, NASB, and the most liberal New Jerusalem Bible (NJB). I do not even bother with, imho blasphemous, paraphrased bibles like “The Living Bible.”

Actually, “Biblical documents are 98.5% textually pure. The 1.5% that is in question is mainly nothing more than spelling errors and occasional word omissions. This reduces any serious textual issues to a fraction of the 1.5% and none of these copying errors affects doctrinal truths. Dead Sea Scrolls showed how accurately it was transmitted.”

My prayer for you is the ability, and tools, to convince me I am wrong. You better bring your “A” game to do so though. I have been wrong before, and I am man enough to admit so. I have been humbled before. I just don’t believe, at this time, you have any game to do so. Prove me wrong. Pretty please.

Blessings.

Dan,
There is a difference between making a judgment and being judgmental. You are right that we all make judgments. Not all of us are arrogant enough to believe that we can speak for Jesus. Not all of us are arrogant enough to believe that we deserve to take the place of the ultimate judge. I am constantly amazed at the amount of projection that goes on in the mind of theists. Only one person in this conversation has put himself in “the judges chair”, and he is also the one who has made that accusation of the other two most often.

Let’s be clear. You do this for your own human pride. You do not do this for God. You do not do this because you care about the souls of others. You do this for you. So that you might consider yourself better, smarter, superior to others around you. You are the antithesis of what Jesus asks of us. You are a Pharisee. I can prove it.

First though, I want to see if there is anything you might like to retract, or at least clarify in the comments you have made here and on your blog. I think that people deserve the opportunity to teach themselves.

I would like to wrap this conversation up. I’ll leave you with this Dan. It is something I held to when I was a Christian:
God did not give you the word that you might be right,
He entrusted it to you that you might be better.
The truth does not belong to you,
you are it’s steward, not it’s lord.
In this, you can be sure,
All God gives you is potential,
not pretense.

Oh, and Dan,
Just in case you think I’m entirely against religion, I’ll direct you to a discussion I had this week over at a different blog where I defended religious education. I figure since you homeschool your kids, you might like to chime in. My kids attend Catholic school, which I’m sure you think is about as worthwhile as public school; I defend your right to teach your kids nonetheless. The original post is at Camels with Hammers. You might excuse me for not direct linking it, I think it is more fitting that you start on the main page where today they are celebrating Darwin Day. Just type “religious school” into the search bar on the left hand side and it should be the first post that comes up. Oh, and don’t forget to click on Richard’s site, he’s even got a section on homeschooling.

Dan,

No one is telling you to BUY my book. I just told you that if you really want to know more about how I arrived at this place, you should get a copy. I don’t need your review and I’m not asking for it, so I’m not inclined to send you a free copy. However, we will probably make the book available on kindle for like $1-2. If you call that being swindled, that is your opinion to feel that way.

You are right that we can make judgments. The only judgments we can make are on the fruit and the actions, not what is in someone’s heart. That is God’s job. I think George has demonstrated that there is a lot of good fruit in his life, therefore you should not be making judgments as to what is in his heart.

Point you to my resources? I use over 50 resources in my book, and it is a compilation of effort over at least 1.5 years of nearly full time devoted study. To point you to my resources would be a silly waste of my time.

>>“Biblical documents are 98.5% textually pure. The 1.5% that is in question is mainly nothing more than spelling errors and occasional word omissions. This reduces any serious textual issues to a fraction of the 1.5% and none of these copying errors affects doctrinal truths. Dead Sea Scrolls showed how accurately it was transmitted.”

This is really just circular reasoning since I am mostly taking issue with modern translations of certain Greek and Hebrew words. I would wager a big fat sum of money on there being much, much more than 1.5% of serious translation errors and hence modern textual errors…

I need to move on from this discussion. Thanks for the banter and I do hope you continue to research a lot of your beliefs.

I need to rescind one of my statements today:

>>The only judgments we can make are on the fruit and the actions, not what is in someone’s heart.

I think that was a bit of my old Christianese poking through because as I was pondering this thought this afternoon, I was reminded of one of my favorite sayings.

“Who can tell if it’s good or bad?”

I am not qualified (and I have to remind myself of this often) to make judgments on anything, not even the fruit or actions of people, because I can’t really know the verdict on anything until later in the Story.

For instance, was “the fall” good or bad? Was the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt good or bad? Was the sin of David with Bathsheba good or bad? Was Solomon good or bad (or his actions or fruit)? Was the fruit of Judas good or bad? Was the crucifixion good or bad?

I may be way ahead of you on this because I have spent a lot of time contemplating (not trying to be condescending), but hopefully you can see where I’m coming from. As I learn more about life, I see that many things are nothing more than the other side of a two-sided coin.

Anyhow, just a few thoughts and I am really working on not judging, but most days it doesn’t go so well…I need a lot more practice.

George,

What a coincidence, I am a lifetime member of HSLDA. They have been very helpful for our homeschooling although I had no idea some may have been Christian Reconstructionists. Plus, Its a relatively new term for me as I had not known there was a term for what I believe until I came across it. Anyway we all understand the battle that is going on in our, failed, public school system.

Look what an American Humanist named John Dunphy said back in 1983:

“I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level–preschool day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new–the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.”

Julie,

Before you go, I did enjoy our conversation. Maybe you can let me know the name of your book or when its due to come out. Or when its out, drop me a line and let me know so I can p/u that, very reasonable, Kindle edition. I am intrigued as to the avenue to the conclusions that you have come up with.

Somehow, I suspect, you will fail miserably. Not judging, just being reasonable as to the task at hand. You must have a Howard Huge sized eraser to evaluate the Bible in that light. I look forward to your argument…whenever it arrives.

Thanks Dan. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s out–should be in the next month or two. In the mean time, as a homeschool dad, you might enjoy my inspirational book for parents–“One Million Arrows: raising your children to change the world.” I feature several homeschool families and kids. It’s not a how-to parenting book but a visionary, inspirational parenting book. The kindle is $4 so hopefully you won’t feel swindled in having to pay for it. 😀


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