Archive for June, 2011

Taking On Theology Pt. 1:Original Sin, And Why I Think Christians Have Misread Scripture.

Posted on June 14, 2011. Filed under: Apologetics, Atheism, Original Sin, Personal, Religion, Rob Bell, Universalism | Tags: , , , |

Authors Note:  Before deciding to comment on this post, please read other posts on this blog.  I was going to hell (or not) before I wrote this post, and my personal opinion of a longstanding Christian doctrine is the least of my problems, assuming you have some brilliant insight into the veracity and mind of your God.  This post is meant to challenge the doctrine of original sin, and if you think it falls short-the comment box gives you a place to argue your case.

From What Is Clearly Seen…..

When I was a boy, my mother used to read “Bible Stories For Children” to me at bedtime.  The second story in the book was about Adam, Eve, and a talking snake.  It was a watered down but engaging version of the story of “The Fall” from Genesis 3.   When you are a child, you don’t worry yourself with talking snakes, or eternal curses.  What I took away from it is four simple things:

  1. When you are given an order, even if it seems stupid and unreasonable, you may not fully understand the reason why it was commanded, or the consequences

    She obviously grabbed the wrong "low-hanging fruit"

    of disregarding it.

  2. Peer pressure can get you in trouble.
  3. If a snake starts talking to you, you should really just walk it off.
  4. God should have made the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil bear walnuts instead of fruit, at least then it would have made it difficult to eat.  Or at the very least mangoes, because they taste like crap.

As I got older, and started becoming active in church, I learned that other people had interpreted the story entirely different from myself.  There were a few new lessons that I guess I was supposed to garner from Genesis 3.

  1. Women ruin everything.  They are incorrigible.  Men are the head of the household because just look what happens when you let women get their way.
  2. I am born evil.  Adam passed his evil homunculus down to every succeeding generation, making me and my progeny forever culpable from conception for displeasing God.  Way to go, Jackass!

Here’s the thing though.  I read that story in my storybook and in my bible.  I just was not seeing it at all.   So I read it again.  Still not seeing it.  I asked someone else.  They said “Ahh, read Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, and it will all make sense.”  So I ran to my bible, thinking I had finally got the key that was going to unlock this whole issue.  I read Romans.  Then 1Corinthians.  Then Romans again.  Then I thought, “really?”.

I’m looking at the text, and I’m not seeing man as having a “curse of Adam”, or being born sinful, or depraved. I think there is something instructive about the comparison between the two, or else why would Paul draw the comparison.  Something is being taught here, I just want to examine what that is.   Let’s go verse by verse (All passages in red are from NKJ Version): (more…)

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Happy Birthday, Misplaced Grace: A Meta-Post

Posted on June 8, 2011. Filed under: Atheism, Atheist Ethics, Personal, Religion |

It was one year ago today that I published the “About” page on this blog.  It was two more days till I stopped being rude to visitors  and published a “Welcome to My Blog”, and my first post on global warming.

There have definitely been some changes around here in the last year, and I hope that there will be many more years of changes for this evolving blog of mine.   Here is a list of some of the things that have changed since June 2010…..

My Blogroll:   This was the first major addition to this blog, and has been updated several times since it first appeared.  If you want some idea of who I am following daily on the internet, this is the place to go.  My newest additions are Oscar, of Some Musician, and K. Syrah, of Shoes Never Worn; both recently graduated to my daily rounds.  Both are fantastic writers and both deserve as many new readers as I can give them.

Heterosexuals For Same Sex Equity(HSSE):  My sidebar hosts a link to HSSEs website.  This is a Toronto based organization that was co-founded by one of my good friends.  If you want information, or wish to order their “Straight, Not Narrow” swag, the site is a click away.

Planet Atheism, and by virtue, an RSS feed:  Thank Dan (Camels With Hammers) for this one.  I was added to Planet Atheism in November, and had to install an RSS feed to join.  I’m not sure if anyone else uses my RSS, but it’s there if you need it.

A New Contributor:  ZQTX, who I met through John Barron Jr., accepted my offer to be a guest contributor from time to time around here. The first post ever on Misplaced Grace that was not authored by me appeared on May 11th, and I hope that his contribution helps to keep the conversation going around here.

The Best Christian Blog Ever….SeriouslyMeet John Shore.  Here is why you probably counted him out before you read one word authored by him…..1) He is a Christian, and founder of Thru-Way Christians  2) He is a contributor to the Huffington Post

Those two things alone would normally guarantee that I was not going to like him.  Here’s the thing.  He is a gifted writer; I wish I had a fraction of his talent.  He takes what Christians tell us their faith is about, and actually demonstrates it in a way that makes sense.  Best yet, I so far agree with 99% of everything he says (save that nagging Jesus is God incarnate thingy,oh, and that there is a God to be incarnate….. and a few other minor quibbles).  I’m sure this was not an endorsement he was looking for, but I recommend him highly.  As does Dan Savage.

John should be required reading for every person, Christian and not-so-Christian alike.

Christian Friends of This Blog: You know, there is more to blogging than just a community of people who slap you on the back and tell you how great you are.  I spend a lot of time around here coming down on Christianity, and I’d like to show that there is a side to that faith that is inquisitive, revolutionary, and reasonable.  There are Christians who are trying to make a difference.  This is a list of Christians that for one reason or another, have impressed me enough to make me want to give them free advertizing.  In order, with an explanation they are:

Julie Ferwerda:  Over the last few months, Julie and I have become fast friends.  She is a published Christian author whose next book, Raising Hell: Christianity’s Most Controversial Doctrine Put Under Fire, I helped to edit.  Her commentary is smart, well supported, and entertaining.

Dan Trabue (Through The Woods): Dan is an Anabaptist and Christian blogger.  I really like his voice and consider him as good a representation of progressive Christianity as I have found anywhere.  His views are controversial in Christian circles, and that is why I find myself agreeing with so much of what he says.  He is not afraid to be castigated and disowned by his fellow Christians, and often is.

John Barron Jr.:  I don’t agree with John very often.  O.K., like almost never.  His views are Evangelical Orthodox, and there is not much for me to love about that.  John is different in some ways though.  He publishes dissenting comments.  He addresses those comments logically.  He doesn’t often quote the bible, and prefers to use reason to sway opinions.  If I am going to recommend someone who represents the Christianity that is so familiar to all of us, and represents it reasonably well, this is him.

Blogging is really about conversations.  It is about throwing your ideas out for others to see and hopefully starting a dialogue that helps to better form the way we view and understand our world.  My blog is a year old, and hopefully in its infancy it has helped to forward this goal.  Hopefully by the time Misplaced Grace is celebrating another year, it will have evolved enough to warrant another post full of changes.

I want to thank all my regulars, even Dan the Atheist Debunker, for helping me to keep the conversation going.

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Why William Lane Craig Is A Vacuous Tit, Part 2: Craig Considers Abortion A “Loving Act”, Feels For The Poor Abortion Doctors Who Do God’s Good Work.

Posted on June 4, 2011. Filed under: Apologetics, Atheism, Atheist Ethics, Humour, Religion |

Us atheists hate William Lane Craig.  He’s such a paragon of bullet-proof logic.  I find myself having

Dr. Death shows his fangs in this file photo.

to re-think everything I’ve ever assumed based on his biting critique of my worldview.

God has certainly blessed this man. (fair warning, that link takes you to la-la land)

He almost had me rushing down to the river for a baptism, ready to drown in The Spirit- until I found out that he is not just Pro Choice, a stand I completely agree with….but Pro Abortion.  As in it is the best possible thing for a mother to do.  As in it is preferred to letting fetus’ go full term.

William Lane Craig thinks killing babies is the Christian thing to do.  I can’t possibly condone the senseless murder of children just to save their precious little souls.  I guess I’ll have to remain an atheist.

Quoting Dr. Death himself:

Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation.  We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy.  Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

So Dr. Death Craig is making it perfectly clear that the murder of infants actually constitutes their salvation.  My own un-Christian worldview has me tied too firmly to my earthly, naturalistic perspective.  Shame on me for putting earthly value on these poor little souls.  I should be ashamed of myself, I guess.

So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites?  Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement.  Not the children, for they inherit eternal life.  So who is wronged?  Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves.  Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children?  The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

This is where Dr. Death Craig is pleading for Christians to show compassion and

In this photo, Dr. Craig contemplates how he might undermine his own arguments.

mercy to the poor abortion doctors, who are just assisting in the salvation of infants.  Shame on you for being so judgmental!

But then, again, we’re thinking of this from a Christianized, Western standpoint.  For people in the ancient world, life was already brutal.  Violence and war were a fact of life for people living in the ancient Near East.  Evidence of this fact is that the people who told these stories apparently thought nothing of what the Israeli soldiers were commanded to do (especially if these are founding legends of the nation).  No one was wringing his hands over the soldiers’ having to kill the Canaanites; those who did so were national heroes.

That last part dovetails nicely with Dr. Death Craig’s  statements in several debates that morality is objective.  I believe it is.  Dr. Death wants you to know that it isn’t really.  If you lived in  the Bronze Age Middle East, it is entirely relevant to remember and give weight to the moral compass of the time.  Since an eminent and well respected Christian Apologist has told us that proper interpretation of the bible is that morality is relative, and since he concedes along with me that morality is objective, he is de facto telling me that the bible is not to be trusted.

Or maybe he is not to be trusted….

Regardless, William Lane Craig is a Vacuous Tit.

Thanks to Café Witteveen for the heads up.

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