Would you attend a gay wedding?

I live in The Land of the Left and sometimes it can be scarier than being chased by dinosaurs and stalked by sleestacks. More often though, it is a place where I gay cakelive by principal and risk being despised by some and misunderstood by many. I live where gay marriage is legal. This raises a fairly obvious question because I sure do a whole lot of talking about walking alongside my gay friends and family, don’t I? (See here, here, and here.) So the obvious question is, “Would you attend a gay wedding?”

Nope.

But it was not an easy nope. As you well know there are people in my life whom I love deeply that are gay and if they choose to marry, it would be difficult not to share in their wedding day.  Wading through questions like these is as sticky as being a loud-mouth Bronco fan in the Emerald City a week before Super Bowl 48. Which I am. Excuse me a moment:

HEY BIG 5. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE “ACCIDENTALLY” DELIVERING MY SON’S BRONCO JERSEY TO CALIFORNIA AND IT IS NOT FUNNY. It BEST be here Monday, AS YOU PROMISED, or I will bring charges of a hate crime and write about your BIGOTRY towards Bronco fans in my widely read blog and smear you with my large fan base.

Ok. Where was I?

Here it is.  I would, can and have supported/participated in nearly every other conceivable activity with my gay friends and family.  From holiday celebrations, to hosting them when they come to town, to bringing them meals and gifts and sending them stupid-inside-joke texts about scrambled eggs with broccoli and a slew of other things that my right hand should have made my left hand forget. Heck. I even traveled internationally with my lesbian friends when they adopted because that beautiful orphan needed help and no heterosexual married couple had the cojones to give their lives to that child with such severe medical needs.

Still. I will check the “unable to attend” box.

If I checked the “Yes I will attend + 1 guest”  box I would be lying.  God is not neutral on the subject of marriage, or the idea of gay marriage. (See here and here.)  So neither am I. If it’s a “Christian” wedding, then my attendane would be blatantly lying about God’s opinion and by extension lying about God Himself.  If it is a secular ceremony, then I would be lying about me.  Even if my friends knew where I stood on the issue, to attend would certainly give the appearance of endorsement. As it should. Which is something we should consider when attending any wedding ceremony really. Even more so if we choose to stand for someone at their wedding. It is more than cake and bubbles you know.

But how, you may ask, can I be so seemingly open-hearted in other areas of my life and then slam the door on the wedding day?  And, you may continue, isn’t it hypocritical to refuse to attend your friend’s gay ceremony and yet support a gay marriage crusading corporation by drinking copious amounts of their delicious, glorious addictive coffee?  The answer to both of those questions, dear reader, has to do with roles.

In every role, God requires excellence.  When I am called friend, I am biblically charged to love and sacrifice. It is a roll that involves empathy.  When I am called daughter, my biblical role is to honor and respect my parents.  When blogging about gay marriage I mount my gigantic soapbox and don my voter cap, which in this rare republic-style government is the role of policy-maker.  In our political structure, we are not subjects. We are free to advocate for or against law.  It is a role where excellence and effectiveness means looking at the constitution and our world with unveiled eyes, and in this role we do not sacrifice principle on the altar of feelings.

Man. That last sentence should have the Halleluiah chorus as a soundtrack. I am giving myself an AMEN.

When I go to Target or Starbucks or consider buying an iPhone, my role is consumer.  I have the right to speak with my dollars and choose to get my coffee at Tully’s (lunacy!) if I disagree with Starbucks’ corporate policy which supports gay marriage.  But I wouldn’t stand in front of the store and turn away patrons, or burst into a board meeting with my complaints.  Starbucks has the best Frappuccinos on the planet because it’s their job to make great coffee.  It’s not their job to live the gospel and represent the truth of God. That’s my story to tell.  It’s the church’s story. And it must be told by God’s children who are living faithfully to Him and going into this messy world with His truth.

In all these roles, my identity as a child of God will be foremost.  In fact, that identity will so inform each of these roles that I will be a better friend, more respectful daughter, more appreciative consumer, and a more responsible citizen.

I wrestled with this issue. A lot. I even wrote a horrible wimpy post full of garbage and inconsistencies that I wished I could un-send to Frau M because I knew I was wrong in my initial go at this. It was not easy but I have landed where I needed to land. That said, I won’t fault another Christian for choosing to attend a gay wedding if they can do so honestly.

A parting thought.  For those of us who refuse to participate in celebrating gay nuptials we must be consistent in our reasoning.  God opposes sexual sin and has a design for marriage.  Homosexual behavior is not “above” any other sexual sin, it just the one that happens to be in the cultural spotlight right now.  If you find yourself choosing not to attend a gay wedding, but can’t wait to go to the Four Seasons for what is sure to be The Wedding Party of the year for the man who left his wife and children to marry a trophy bride, then you need to check yourself.  That is not to say that we should investigate the sexual history of the participants of every wedding we attend, but, if you have information about the couple that brazenly flies in the face of God’s ideal for marriage, it should give you pause no matter the gender of the bride or groom.

Cause you know what?

God knows that you know.

I know, right?

Advertisements

221 thoughts on “Would you attend a gay wedding?

  1. Pingback: lurking 7: how to tell a person of principle | violetwisp

  2. This is an issue I have struggled with in the past.

    Due to a miscommunication with the mail or I don’t even know what, my cousin, who is gay, never received the invitation we sent him to our wedding. He was hurt beyond belief and didn’t believe that it wasn’t intentional at all. When he got married to his partner, the whole family went, but I didn’t find out until after the fact. The guilt in my sister’s voice when she revealed that she had been there but didn’t tell me about it hurt. My cousin’s cutting me out hurt. The awkward relationship we have to this day hurts. When he and his partner divorced, it hurt that I couldn’t at least try to comfort him b/c, of course, I am not welcome in that role.

    I have a friend whom I love very much, and she me. We’ve been friends for more years than I care to reveal. We called each other sister, slept at each other’s houses, cried over failed relationships together and concluded that the world of men was a world of shit and we would always be there for each other. Time went on and I found Jesus and got married to my equally “Jesus freak” husband. She found massage school and a married woman who was bi-sexual. She fell in love, the woman left her husband and now my friend and her partner are “common-law married” in their words. We all became close friends, but the times inevitably came when I did have to say no, not just to would I attend their wedding but other things, too. And we both cried. And I felt guilty and she felt betrayed.

    It becomes very hard when the issue is real-life and the price you are called to pay may be as steep as losing that person out of your life or, worse, replacing the loving relationship you have now with a stiff, awkward caricature of what you had. I still love my friend D and she still loves me, thank God.

    But to anyone who has to face the “I’m afraid I can’t attend your gay wedding” talk, go into it knowing that it will be painful, it will be rocky and the relationship may not survive it.

    Sometimes, when I do the hard work to follow Christ, I swear I can almost hear the angels singing. What is fasting from sweets or not complaining about picking up the extra housecleaning/managing slack when you are cooperating with the Savior of the World? It’s a good, clean feeling. This looking into the eyes of a loved one and saying “No” doesn’t feel so good…it feels more like a muddy cross-carrying experience and I really hope I don’t have to go through anything like it again anytime soon.

    Sorry to be a bummer, Askme; guess I’m still processing. I understand, and agree with your position. I think it is sound and logical….I just have found it really HARD…..

    • Tisha, thanks for sharing. I think that this question ( and indeed the whole business of being in relationship with those with whom we disagree) can be hard to navigate. There is so much of an emphasis on love that there is a pressure to approve of everything for the sake of not offending. I feel that pressure. What I have to constantly remind myself is that unity and love of people does not trump truth. Jesus makes this clear with statements such as “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.” Sometime our allegiance to Him means that other relationships will suffer. Mind you, the relationships should not be hindered by our selfishness or sin but only by the person of Christ and His teachings. https://askthebigot.com/2012/10/15/stumblingblock/

      God is continually revealing to me how much I crave the affirmation of people, even those I have never met. But especially if those I love most disapprove of my decisions, it can shake me more than I care to admit. So God is slowly prying back my death-grip related to people-approval. And he tends to use situations such as these to do it.

      Godspeed, dear friend. Thanks for your comment.

      • I was confused about what you quoted here. Why would Jesus need for everyone to hate their mother and father and everybody else in order to follow him? Why are those two mutually exclusive? Am I missing what he is actually trying to say here?

        • In the original language, the word hate literally means to “prefer less.” The idea being that our relationship with Jesus will take primacy over other relationships. We cannot let our parent’s disapproval or social obligations dictate wheather or not we follow Jesus. In an expanded parallel passage, Jesus makes this statement in Matthew 10:

          “Do not think that I came to [ac]bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.
          37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”

          (Sorry for the caps. Just copied from Biblegateway and don’t have time to retype.)

          The idea of both of these verses is that the Person and Truth of Jesus will be divisive. That’s not a prescription. It just describes reality when we present an accurate picture of who He is. When you actually read the New Testament, it’s very hard to present Jesus as a pacifist hippie.

      • Thank YOU, my friend, for your words. As I said to Frau M, this is still a toughie for me. It takes the faith, the love and the Word to help me through 🙂

  3. There is no mention of gay marriage in the Bible. At the very most, you can say that the authors of the Bible disapproved of promiscuous gay sex, as with any promiscuous sex. The rest is conjecture based on majority persecution of minority life experiences. It’s the standard “we don’t feel like you therefore you’re evil” that has featured throughout the history of humanity, and it’s sad to see it ladled out to friends and family in this day and age. You people are the Bible-wielding slave owners of centuries past, and without doubt your children will be embarrassed of your ignorant and cruel actions.

    • Hi Violet. Thanks for the questions. So when Jesus says in Matt 19:4-5 in a response to a question about marriage:

      “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’a 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’b ? 6So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

      He is somehow leaving the door open for same-gender marriage?

      Also, the authors of the Bible condemn homosexual behavior. Can you mention a passage or verse where God states support for a homosexual union/ behavior? Because if not, then it is not I who is employing conjecture to make my case.

      • “He is somehow leaving the door open for same-gender marriage?”
        That’s about as relevant as me asserting that Jesus is clearly saying no-one should be celibate because all humans have to go out and unite in one flesh with the opposite sex. I could go on to say (as many of your kind have in the past) that anyone who can’t breed successfully must be sinning.

        You have to concede there is no mention of committed same sex relationships, and no-one in their right mind needs to read condemnation of promiscuous homosexual behaviour to build a case against marriage. Your logic is completely flawed.

        • The Author of my faith has limited marriage to a man and woman. He said the two, and only two, shall become one flesh in this union. He has stated in the positive what marriage is. Does he need to go down a list of all the things that marriage is not?

          • I only read as a prohibition against divorce. But then in other places he gives circumstances where divorce is permissible, so it’s a bit confusing. The author was obviously unable to conceive of committed same sex relationships and we therefore will never know his opinion. Best to err on the side of loving our neighbours because there’s no disputing that.

          • Jesus has given the definition of marriage. Love it or leave it but don’t try to say that there is flex within that definition. There isn’t. “The author was unable to conceive of committed same-sex relationships…” Or more likely that homosexual practice in any context is forbidden. Why? “God made them one… because He was seeking godly offspring.” (Malachi 2:15) The heterosexual component is not optional if offspring is the purpose of marriage. You can say that it is “conjecture” or that we don’t know God’s opinion over and over, and it will still be a baseless claim for anyone looking honestly at scripture.

          • Following that reasoning, people who are biologically unable to procreate should be banned from getting married.

            Most people approach the idea of a life partner from a compatibility point of view, someone who we enjoy spending time with. Sex and therefore breeding were an inevitable part of that in fertile heterosexual couples. Society has moved on since then. Bronze Age rules have no relevance. We don’t stone people anymore, we don’t have slaves, women aren’t breeding machines and we’ve discovered that homosexual relationships between two consenting adults needn’t be any less about partnership than heterosexual relationships.

            It is not a baseless claim to assert that the Bible doesn’t mention committed homosexual relationships. Besides, anyone looking honestly at scripture would abandon all material possessions, and that just doesn’t seem to happen. Cherry picking to back up prejudices and insult decent people isn’t a pleasant thing to do. When you’ve given up all you own to follow Jesus and start attacking divorcees with as much vehemence people might start taking your dedication to the Bible seriously.

          • You mean like when I said that I wouldn’t attend a marriage of a man who divorced his first wife and children to marry a trophy bride as stated above?

            When it comes to possessions, if you are considering the whole counsel of scripture then you will see that we are commanded to practice hospitality (implying that many of us own houses), that we are not to steal (God acknowledges and defends private property rights), that those who do not provide for their families are worse than unbelievers (we must meet the material needs of our children and elderly parents). AND we have to be willing to give up ANYTHING God asks of us and follow Him.

            When it comes to sex there is one message throughout scripture: God sanctions sex between a husband and wife only. So, as stated regularly on this blog, no sexual activity outside of marriage is condoned.

    • Hey Jason, actually the word pornia is used multiple times in Scripture and especially be Jesus and Paul. Jesus in Matthew 5:27-32 and 19:3-9 and Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:18 and Hebrews 13:4 and 1 Thesselonians 4:8 to be exact.

      Pornia (all forms of sexual immorality outside of marriage between a man and women) was a major reason for the downfall of The Roman Empire. We will follow Rome if we do not turn back the clock.

  4. Depends. If the wedding was in a church full of hypocritical christians, I might think twice.
    But i it were a civil ceremony and the beer was cold and the couple were my friends, or friends of friends then sure, why the hell not?
    If Yahweh felt miffed at not being invited she/he/it could always gate crash, right?

    • Well Ark, thanks for reading the whole post and choosing to comment here. I think your reasoning aligns with your worldview, yes? Good on you. Way to live consistently. But if you follow a God who wants to be involved in every aspect of your life and who has an opinion on the subject of marriage, then the factors on whether or not to attend isn’t just about being nice it’s about representing Him well. And good luck finding any Christian gathering that is hypocrite-free. Most of us a growing, but none of us are perfect. Though I’m sure you knew that…

      • Ah, but I don’t follow a god, and quite frankly, neither do you, as no verifiable evidence for such a deity has been put forward, o in fat you follow a description of a deity that you were probably indoctrinated with as a child, or impressionable young adult. At a guess….

        There is only the Gospels, etc, and the Old Testament, what you would call the bible, a more spurious collection of disgusting immoral archaic documents written by a bunch of unknown Jewish halfwits God, Moses and friends and later, four ”Jesus Collections” etc written by a bunch of unknown (likely) Gentile halfwits four disciples who were definitely eyewitnesses.

        I should just stick with the likes of Ken Ham if I were you. There’s a feller you can trust, right?

      • Hi Ark, you make assumptions about the writer of this blog about being “indoctrinated as a child” – have you asked her? Have your read her story? It appears she came to her conclusions as an adult. By accusing her and name calling it appears you are operating out of stereotype. Isn’t this the definition of being a ‘bigot’? I am not calling you one, but as an atheist I would assume you would be open to dialogue and thus live consistently with your worldview.

    • In what sense is it funny? Would you own a slave because Bible says it okay? I don’t see why not, it’s there in black and white. Would you hurt and embarrass your gay friends by not going to their wedding because your fellow Christians tell you the Bible can be interpreted to be against it? It’s not even there in black and white.

      • You are right, violetwisp, our culture and especially Christians made a huge mistake of affirming divorce. This has lead to so much pain in our culture, especially among the children.

        About slaves in the Bible, it was the culture of that time that affirmed slavery and it was different than American slavery. It was not based on racism, rather it was more like a job. The poor could sell themselves into slavery to pay a debt. And sometimes people were made slaves after losing a war. Because the Bible describes this does not mean the Bible condoned slavery.

        What the New Testament authors do say is that if as a Christian one finds themselves in being in a position as a slave, then be a good and hard worker to win over your boss. And the Paul writes that a Christian slave owner should free his slave (see Philemon).

        You say the bible is not explicit about gay marriage, except for the fact Jesus said marriage ordained by God from the beginning is between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:3-9). In the same passage Jesus affirms traditional marriage as ordained by God, condemns adultery, and prohibits divorce unless adultery or sexual immorality has been committed.

        • “a huge mistake of affirming divorce” – because children enjoy being brought up by parents who loathe one another? And that is what happens to couples who stay together only because they believe it is a deity’s plan.

          “it was different than American slavery”. This is a shocking statement. Being bound in servitude as property is unacceptable regardless of the culture and underlying social factors. The Bible encourages slavery in certain circumstances and sees nothing wrong with beating slave ‘property’, and Jesus encourages slaves to stay in servitude and remain obedient. Trying to justify such passages by pretending it was ‘like a job’ is pretty sickening and desperate.

          The Bible talks about sex and marriage as was understood in ancient times. The notion of committed homosexual relationships was clearly not conceived of, and is certainly not mentioned in the Bible. There is no justification for pretending your god has left written instructions on this matter.

      • Violetwisp, Slavery in Roman times, etc. was more like a live in household servant like a butler. In that culture 10% owned land, everyone else lived in horrible conditions and many were homeless (see Rodney Stark’s The Rise of Christianity or The Triumph of Christianity – he is not a Christian, but an historian and sociologist). People living in unsanitary conditions, living in apartments without glass, breezy, with small charcoal fires to keep warm, and animal skins over the windows to keep the elements out would face suffocation or fires at night. There was no plumbing, people dumped chamber pot contents out the windows, garbage and human and animal feces was everywhere. It was actually a privilege in certain contexts to be a slave to get away from such life threatening conditions. This was the secular culture of the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Hitites, Egyptians, etc., etc. In that context of the entire known world the Hebrews lived. The Hebrew laws, especially about sex, food, washing, family, and taking care of the orphan, sojourner, servant, and widow existed to hold the Hebrews to a high moral standard and to a better way of life. As the Hebrews strayed, the prophets warned the Hebrews it would not go well for them. Jesus called the Hebrews to repent. Jesus did not affirm slavery and He condemned any form of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman (Matt. 5 and 19:3-9).

        Every time the NT authors mention slavery it is always in the context of household relationships. The head of the house in the Christian home was to treat the servants well (like family – which was a higher moral standard than the entire Roman world). We read in Philemon that Paul instructs Philemon to release Oneisemus and treat him like a brother and not a slave. Treat him like Paul himself.

        Some of the greatest advocates for releasing slaves in history have been Christian, for example Abraham Lincoln and William Wilberforce. I would argue this is the biblical way.

        • You must know this isn’t true, or you just relish in self-delusion. The biblical way is that it’s okay to beat your slaves up to but not including the point of death:
          Exodus 21:20-21 ‘Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

          The Biblical way is that even if a person is the property of someone who does not treat them well, they are to meekly submit like they mere property they are:
          1 Peter 2:18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

          Christian interpretation of the Bible continued this trend for as long it was possible within society:
          St Augustine “The prime cause, then, of slavery is sin, which brings man under the dominion of his fellow — that which does not happen save by the judgment of God, with whom is no unrighteousness, and who knows how to award fit punishments to every variety of offence.”

          St Thomas Aquinas “Slavery among men is natural, for some are naturally slaves”

          Reverend Thomas Stringfellow, A Scriptural View of Slavery, Culpeper County, Virginia, 1856 “Jesus Christ recognized this (i.e. slavery) institution as one that was lawful among men, and regulated its relative duties. … I affirm then, first (and no man denies) that Jesus Christ has not abolished slavery by a prohibitory command; and second, I affirm, he has introduced no new moral principle which can work its destruction.”

      • @violetwisp – you took the Exodus passage out of context. The chapter is dealing with issues of slavery and physical disputes between people. In the ancient world outside of Israel, slaves / servants were property and could be captured, treated like property, and were considered sub-human.

        In Exodus 21:20-27 – Moses introduces a new concept, the personhood of slaves:

        V. 20 – the master would be punished for killing his slave / servant (unheard of in the ancient secular world – the Hebrews had a higher standard).

        V. 21 – needs to be taken in context of vv. 26-27 – if a slave / servant is hurt – then the slave earns his / her freedom (unheard of in the ancient secular world – the Hebrews had a higher standard).

        V. 16 – kidnapping another human was to be punished by death (i.e., slave trading is wrong).

        V. 2ff. – a slave / servant (in the Hebrew context) was one who sold themselves into slavery and they were to be release after 6 years. Again, more like a job.

        In the 1 Peter passage, the point was not to affirm slavery, rather Peter was saying if you find yourself in this position and are beat, then you are experiencing what Christ experienced. Peter was encouraging being good workers, kind, obedient, rather than rebellious. The Christian ethic is to turn the other cheek and to not take an eye for an eye. The Christian ethic is for those in influential positions to stand for those in positions where one might be harmed by another.

        • Sorry Faust, but these attempts to illustrate that Christianity advocated a less harmful version of slavery don’t in any way point to the idea that owning another person as property was ever wrong according the Bible. Therefore, Christians who are serious about their Bible reading should still want to have slaves (obviously being better slave masters than those who beat their slaves to death). Do they? No, they don’t, because they know slavery is horrific, regardless of the kindness of the slave master. The Bible is wrong on this by our modern day, and universally accepted, standards of morality.

          To think then that such vicious condemnation of same sex marriage hangs on mere interpretation of non-specific passages about what gay sex was understood to be and what marriage was understood to be limited to, really is sickening.

      • Hi violetwisp, about divorce and marriage and kids suffering because the parents don’t like each other – this perspective assumes the modern western view that marriage is about romantic love and individual choice and happiness above all else. But this is not the historical and global view. Historically and in many cultures today marriage is about family and arranged marriages with lasting commitment being the goal for stability of children above personal romance.

        We no longer have arranged marriages in the west and have developed dating practices over the last 100 years (see the book From Front Porch to Back Seat). And we have developed a romanticism in relationships that has become an ideal seen in many movies, songs, and pop culture. But this redefined “love”.

        In English we have one word for love and it means many different things. I love my wife, I love my dad, I love my kids, I love my dog, and I love tacos… Do we mean the same thing in each of those situations?

        In Greek there are 4 loves. Eros (not used in the Bible) means lust. Phileo means brotherly love. Stergo is the bond between parent and child. Agape is unconditional and sacrificial love. Eros is selfish. Agape, Phileo, and Stergo are foubdational to the Bible and Christian ethic.

        If a modern marriage is based on “in love” feelings, which is more in line with Eros, then when the feelings fade, which they do for most relationships, then people don’t know what to do, want the feelings back, but don’t know how, so they fight and sometimes divorce.

        A couple getting married needs commitment to agape no matter what for the relationship to last. Otherwise people will operate out of selfishness, argue, be miserable, and might commit adultery or get divorced, but those are selfish actions. That is not the way of Jesus who is the ultimate example of agape love.

        • Thanks, that’s really interesting. I’ve read about the different uses for our English ‘love’ in translated texts in the past but had forgotten about it. Communication and the limitations of our languages is a fascinating topic. I speak Spanish so I’m used to distinguishing between three of these loves in general thought and conversation.

          As far as all this relates to divorce and the difficulties marriages face, I’d have to disagree that you can generalise like this. You can’t remain committed to agape when someone you formerly loved (or who you think your god wished you marry and imagined you loved) is driving you crazy. You can cling to the institution of marriage and allow frustration, bitterness, resentment, and eventually hate to define the relationship. That is not a nice place for children, and it’s a shame for the couples who waste their lives being bound to this.

  5. “There is no mention of gay marriage in the Bible”. Much like there is no mention of iPhone’s or cotton candy. Is there any mention of gay marriage ANYWHERE in the history of human kind? This is a new idea. “Bible wielding slave owners of the past”. MAN that is rich and awesome and I bet it took you a while to type that one. Funny that it was those pesky Christians that were greatly responsible for the whole end of slavery deal. Honestly, I marvel that you come back over and again to read this blog and spend precious time blathering on about your crusade. The Bigot seems to have a reason for being here. I think she is here to honor a weight God has put on her and to be an example to other Christians who struggle with how to really handle this controversial issue in their daily lives with dignity and respect. I don’t even think she is here to persuade anyone to her viewpoint. I mean really. Is that even possible these days? So why are you here? How does this serve you or enrich your life? Must you rail against strangers to fill some time in your day? Really. I am actually curious. What drives you? I submit it is not gay marriage.

    • Whoa personal attack! Aren’t you all called to be nicer than this and act in an esteemed fashion? I thought you were. There’s a lot to live up to when you call yourself a follower… Just putting that out there.

      • Where on earth did you get the idea that Christians can’t .defend themselves? Joan of Arc? St. Nicholas slapping the heretic Arius? Jesus mocking the Pharisees? Elijah asking the pagans if their god was on the toilet (I.e., doing his “business”). Your ideas about Christianity are based on 2 dimensional caricatures. We don’t fight back out of pride. We defend the faith and pray for our enemies redemption, immediately forgiving them. You can use us as doormats, but when you go after the Faith – get ready for a fight. Where do you guys get your ideas from? It isn’t the Bible.

        • Thanks for the insight Jason. I would add that Christian love is a protective love. While we may sacrifice ourselves, in terms of letting people slander us laying down our rights, we should rise to the defense of others who are being treated wrongly. It is a self-sacrificing love, not in others-sacrificing love. And in that role of protector and defender, there should be a courage and steadfastness.

        • Jason- Why wouldn’t Christians be able to defend themselves? Everybody has a right not to be a doormat. I think I said personal attacks are unbecoming of anyone, but especially someone who claims to have the upper hand on morality. It sounds like you read into that in your own way. I said nothing about self-defense and diplomatic debate. That should always be encouraged. But Miss Frau obviously lost her cool and it didn’t look good on her.

    • I get involved in conversations on blog posts I read where I think there is a fundamental error that harms others. And I think this happens frequently in the realm of Christian posts. This attitude that gay marriage is wrong is harming society, and it’s harming the lives of people who are doing nothing wrong. I find asktheBigot’s posts particularly disturbing because she’s reaching out to Christian people who are either undecided or who have gay friends and family who they love. She reels them in with talk of ‘love’ but always has a sucker punch up her sleeve in terms of judgement, disapproval and ultimately condemnation of same sex relationships. It’s disturbing and underhand. And all the more because there is no justification for claiming it is the opinion of the Christian god. Perhaps I am driven by embarrassment that I once held the same views. Much like a former Christian slave owner taking up the fight against slavery (but with more justification because at least the Christian slave owner was following clear Biblical instructions, the anti-gay marriage lobby are riding on pure conjecture).

      • If a gay couple wants to spend the rest of their life together, I think that’s fine. But introduce children into that environment and the child will automatically be missing out on his or her fundamental right to be with his or her mom and dad together.

        In seminary we talked through ethics and reproduction. We talked about sperm donation and such. Children born in these circumstances will always have a hole in their hearts.
        Why, because the child was not conceived by natural means and the identity of the father is unknown.

        There was an article a while back called, “My daddy’s name is donor.” It talks about the hurt children experience when they realize how they were conceived and that they will never know their dad. Gay marriage with children born especially by surrogacy or sperm donation will create these problems. And people will self medicate with drugs, alcohol, counselling, prescription drugs, anti-depressants, etc. This already describes our culture due to divorce and the problems associated with the sexual revolution, single moms, and the fatherlessness problem, which is linked to those who are more likely to commit a crime and go to prison.

        People don’t make the link between the family breakdown and societal problems. But it is stark when you look at the studies. And now we have added a new wrinkle, gay marriage.

        • So kids with gay parents or who were conceived with IVF or a donor are going to use drugs because they have to numb their pain? Hello, inductive leap. Children with two loving parents do not inherently yearn to know who biologically created them. They may be curious, and if possible in adoption they want to meet them, but they are absolutely not left with a hole in their heart as you describe. It’s the circumstances that can often surround that, such as the hardships faced by single mothers, that may cause acting out or problems for the child.

          Ejaculating in a woman’s vagina does NOT make you a father or the egg provider a mother. Anyone can have sex, unfortunately. Parent is a title saved for the people who raise you. You are mixed up, sir. If these kids experience any “holes” or feelings of sadness, it is because people like you make them feel this way and tell them they are incomplete because of their siful parents. You purposefully create this by saying it and then claim it was inherent. It’s pretty insidious that you are willing to sacrafice a child by filling their head with poison so you can twist things to be “right” about gay marriage. Two loving parents- it is not problematic.

          • Thinker, no one has to tell a child that it’s painful to have an absent parent. I don’t care who is doing the parenting- grandparents, gay parents, single parents, step-families- kids grieve when they have lost a parent. Even one they never knew. (Thus laws in most states that allow for adopted children to search for birth parents. Also see http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/01/24/more-children-from-sperm-donors-seeking-out-genetic-family/) For some it is a curiosity. But for many it is a wound.

            By the way, parenting is a skill that anyone can learn. I have the best example of a woman in a same-sex relationship who was an exceptional parent. What I find fascinating is the eagerness of same-sex marriage supporters to say that mothers and fathers are interchangeable and a biological connection is irrelevant to children.

            “I had no male figure at all to follow, and my mother and her partner were both unlike traditional fathers or traditional mothers. As a result, I had very few recognizable social cues to offer potential male or female friends, since I was neither confident nor sensitive to others. Thus I befriended people rarely and alienated others easily. Gay people who grew up in straight parents’ households may have struggled with their sexual orientation; but when it came to the vast social universe of adaptations not dealing with sexuality—how to act, how to speak, how to behave—they had the advantage of learning at home. Many gays don’t realize what a blessing it was to be reared in a traditional home. My home life was not traditional nor conventional. I suffered because of it, in ways that are difficult for sociologists to index. Both nervous and yet blunt, I would later seem strange even in the eyes of gay and bisexual adults who had little patience for someone like me. I was just as odd to them as I was to straight people.” http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/08/6065/

            “It is not therefore the taboo against homosexuality that made me suffer, but rather, gay parenting. Homosexuals should naturally be embraced with brotherhood. They enrich humanity and if it is necessary, of course, one ought to show them the same rights as heteros, as much as possible, but this equality cannot be applied rashly to the ‘right to a child’ which exists nowhere and can be drawn from no text at all. I suffered from the indifference of adults to the intimate sufferings of children, starting with mine. In a world where their rights are each day rolled back, in truth, it is always the rights of adults that hold sway. I also suffered from the lack of a father, a daily presence, a character and a properly masculine example, some counterweight to the relationship of my mother to her lover. I was aware of it at a very early age. I lived that absence of a father, experienced it, as an amputation.” http://englishmanif.blogspot.com/2013/01/le-figaro-runs-confessional-of-man.html

          • AskMe… I don’t have a ton of time right now to respond to your reply about children and parenting, but I have a lot to say. Anyone can learn to be a parent! Really? If that were so, it seems like we’d have much better parents raising much better children. And yes, children of gay parents face unique challenges compared to different facing situations. I suppose many alternative situations other than the white, financially stable, married couple who were able to conceive naturally face their own set of obstacles that arise. I don’t see this at all the same way that you do. I believe in exchange they get to skip some of the negatives others deal with and also have unique benefits.

            Of course those articles you found are from Fox News and Christian bloggers- very scientific, which you always require evidence to be. As for that woman, it sounds like she was actually just an awkward person who had trouble negotiating life, and she conveniently blamed her whole character on her parents. Perhaps they were bad parents. Perhaps she is just a weirdo. We can’t know with her biased perspective. Someone who felt this way who does not have a Christian agenda would be more interesting to me. And for these two people who you’ve found, I know of two matching people, children of colleagues and friends, who are thriving and doing well. They did not find the world impossible to negotiate. In one instance, the lesbian parents provided male role models, gay and straight, for their sons and the kids were not awkward with no clue how to navigate the world like your lady. The sons area actually quite masculine and fit into the traditional role more than most men I know. So now we know from these examples that it’s possible for kids of gay parents to have a good experience and a bad experience. So what?

            You think the difference is huge and hurts the child. I think the difference is a difference, a variation, that is negligible and can be overcome with a little effort and openness. I think a lot people face differences in some part of their lives, and what they are missing in one area they may have abundance in another area. I don’t believe at all that it’s so bad that they shouldn’t be allowed to raise kids. That’s nuts to me at the moment. Once unbiased studies come out, more than a liberal study and more than a Christian backed studying with an agenda, I’ll reevaluate what I say. But my common sense tells me this is more about your own negative experience, your exclusive and divisive religion (and I now know Jesus boasts about tearing families apart, because that’s cool), and cherry-picking and molding the facts to fit your worldview.

            I don’t believe any evidence could come out in the future to change your mind. You’re into research: if study after study comes out and you find it meets your standards, will you ever change your mind? Or are you forever stuck here, impermeable to new information, like so many of your fellow followers?

          • “Anyone can learn to be a parent! Really? If that were so, it seems like we’d have much better parents raising much better children.”

            Parenting takes work. My man and I are constantly having conversations about whether or not we were too hard, too soft, too permissive, too involved, etc. in any given situation. It takes practice, reading good material, honestly, and conversations with others who have gone before. It takes EFFORT and sacrifice and many parents can’t or won’t do the work. Some parents would rather plop their kid in front of a TV or outsource the raising of their kids to the schools or others. Many are more concerned about meeting their own needs/desires to the determent of their children. Like you said, just because you can make babies doesn’t mean you will parent well.

            “You think the difference is huge and hurts the child. I think the difference is a difference, a variation, that is negligible and can be overcome…”

            That’s the point, my friend. We don’t know the real impact of “the difference” because the studies that would be demanded on any other issue have not been conducted. It’s interesting to me that the same people who say that the balance of genders are not critical within the staging ground of human development (childhood) are the same people who would be outraged if there wasn’t a woman on the Supreme Court. In any other context, we say that the balance of gender is significant. So why not in the family?

            There is a spry 92-year old woman in my church who drinks a Diet Coke after lunch every day. And she has done so for decades. Do we judge the effects of aspartame based on her experience? No. Because there are many factors at work in her life, such as she takes daily walks and climbs the stairs every time she goes to her apartment. So we (should) do large studies which will mitigate other factors and allow us to see the general effect that artificial sweeteners have on our bodies.

            “I don’t believe any evidence could come out in the future to change your mind.”

            Let’s start with one good study and go from there. 😉

    • Frau M, in Matthew 19:3-9 Jesus defines marriage as between a man and a woman. He quotes Genesis 1 and 2. Jesus is saying this is marriage ordained of God going back to the beginning, and thus this definition transcends time and culture.

      Just thought I’d clarify that Jesus really does cover the topic. Keep staying strong Frau M. Aslan is on the move.

  6. AskMe- what a bummer. I guess nobody is perfect. I obviously don’t know the answer to this, but I’ve read many times that one of the arguments made by Christians as to why they should attend a gay wedding is that “Jesus would absolutely attend a gay wedding, so why shouldn’t we?” What say you? And do you just evade the whole thing, like my “friend” did, and say you have to wash your hair, or do you have an honest convo about how it will hurt you more than it will hurt them but it’s for their own good? Should you also not attend weddings of atheists and non-believers since it is not recognized and potentially sinful? And you said don’t go out seeking reasons not to go, but if they have a promiscuous past or co-habitated or slept with one another before marriage or had an abortion or had threesomes, could you go then? I’m not trying to have a “gotcha” moment, I really want to know. If it was no longer associated with the institution of marriage, and became only a state-recognized civil union, would you go then?

    This is the first time I’ve genuinely felt disappointed by you and your representation of your faith. Reason #723 I would never want to be a part of the whole made up religion thing: It makes even sweet, loving, gracious AskMe seem like an all-knowing, holier than thou, better than thou, unkind person. And that’s hard to do!

    • Well, my darling Sarah (I did figure out it was you but thanks for making it explicit) I do hate to disappoint. I just fear disappointing God more. I think that my people-pleasing tendencies were at work when I wrote the first draft of this post which did leave the door open for me to attend a non-Christian civil ceremony. But it was dishonest.

      You pose some great questions above and I am working on a response.

      • Cool. Thanks for your explanation to the Bible versus about Jesus making sure everyone loves him more than anyone else and making sure we all know that following him will ruin relationships with loved ones and that’s important to him. He sounds like a very pleasant and humble man.

        • He is not a tame Lion, Sarah. But he is good. And he is the ruler of the universe. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He knew you before any of your days came to being. That means that we treat him differently from other relationship. And as I said in the post, it will make me a better friend and a better daughter and a better mother and a better wife. But if I exalt all those relationships above Jesus, then we have missed our eternal purpose. For those who preach the gospel that claims there will be no cost for following Jesus, they are worshipping the wrong deity.

    • Regarding what Jesus would do, he saved his greatest vitriol for the religious elite who lied about God for their own gain- the Pharisees who were so fundamental that they made worship into a works-based system, and the Sadducees whose doctrine changed whenever it was politically advantageous. Those Christians who shut gay people out of their lives will have to answer to a God who cherishes them enough to lay aside his heavenly attributes, take on the form of a servant and die for them. Those Christians who conduct ceremonies under the mantle that gay marriage is permissible within Christianity will have to come up with a convincing response as to why they lied about God’s purpose for marriage.

      So would Jesus attend a secular ceremony? I’ll let you decide for yourself. Here are the scriptures that I think would inform that answer:

      Jesus says: For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality (all sex outside of heterosexual marriage), thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man. Matt 15:19

      And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”… Matt 19:4-6

      But to the woman caught in adultery Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” John 8:11

      “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:2.

      It is clear that Jesus affirms the Old Testament standard for sexual norms and marriage- He is a Jew, after all. But what made Him so radical and controversial was that He did not let those standards stop Him from interacting with those who fell outside of the “accepted” Jewish world (prostitutes, gentiles, tax collectors, etc.) As I wrestled through these scriptures, clearly Jesus sought out and affirmed the worth of those who “needed a physician” (Mark 2:17). But would he have sat passively by while someone pimped a woman in his midst, or engaged in a gentile worship service, or attended a ceremony which celebrated the extortion in which tax collectors commonly engaged? My conclusion is probably not. Would Jesus attend a gay wedding where attendance usually means celebrating the union itself and not just the people involved? That’s one that I will let the reader decide for herself.

      • I had the same question when reading this (why would a Christian attend a secular wedding but not a gay wedding)…and I don’t know if those scriptures really answered anything. But it seems like to be consistent, you would have to refuse to attend any marriage that does not live up to the Christian ideal (especially remarriages). What about a Hindu wedding? And I just don’t know if that’s kind or productive…or if attending a wedding necessarily means you have to approve of or celebrate the union.

        • I understand where you are coming from. And thank you for your comments by the way. I wrestled through this and have talked with other Christians who strive to honor Christ and live consistently as they reach out to their gay family and friends. And I respect that they come to different conclusions. I guess one verse that stands out for me, is when Jesus says that sexual immorality defiles us. When attending a Hindu ceremony or a secular ceremony of a heterosexual couple, we are not talking about the celebrating of what Christ deems an immoral act. Again, I leave it to the individual believer to determine how best to honor God in that situation. But I do think that there is a distinction between attending a secular wedding and attending a ceremony that defies God’s prescription for marriage and family. As for divorce, that issue is not as clear cut as there are biblical (but only a few) exceptions given for divorce. Scripturally, divorce is a big deal but it is permissible (not necessarily recommended) in some cases. Hence the mention of divorce in my post above.

          Thanks again for your comments here.

      • Thanks for your response. I’m glad to hear someone who wouldn’t go to a gay wedding accept that someone’s conscience may honestly discern something different. Sometimes I do hear people say Christians that don’t follow the exact right conservative evangelical doctrine are necessarily dishonest – but I think it’s important (for me at least) to note that two different people can be equally faithful and come to different conclusions. So though we have come to a different conclusion, I appreciate your sincerity : )

        To be honest, this was thought-provoking and I thought about it on the way home today. Although there are exceptions for divorce, I don’t know if I’ve personally encountered a divorce that even meets those exceptions, sadly. But I kept wondering (if we take a biblical view of marriage), what is a faithful person to do if they are in a long-term loving relationship with someone of the same gender? Could they shift into a celibate partnership without tearing their family apart? What about someone who has remarried illegitimately? Should they leave their partner or can there be some sort of redemption in it? Those are messy things but very real situations.

        It’s a bit of a personal situation and as a Christian (who interacts pretty frequently with gay culture), I feel constantly at odds, mostly with my own kind. I know the media can be biased sometimes, but the fact is people think Christians hate gay people because sometimes they’ve heard it with their own ears. And somehow gay marriage is the be-all issue when divorce and broken families are gutting the church. So…this was kind of a rambling response but I really appreciate your tone, your respect and your honesty.

  7. P.S.- I changed my ID. It’s Sarah, aka Dogger Blogger. Just in case you thought Thinker was a random person pretending to know you and then subsequently insulting you out of the blue.

  8. I know that is what you truly believe in your heart, Askme. But I know it’s almost certainly not so, and you are probably wasitng your time snubbing your friends for no good reason. I don’t believe “he knit me together” or did anything of the sort. I believe he is figment of desperate people’s imaginations in their human struggle for things to make sense. A myth that has taken on an unfortunate life of its own and snowballed into the giant mess that is organized religion and the teachings of what God is today. I hope in the end it pans out for you (although on the off-chance I’m wrong, that would suck for me to burn in hell for eternity, but hopefully there will be one iota of a reason to give me faith before that happens, which there has never been and I doubt there ever will be, but my mind is open if there is!), but I hope you aren’t too disappointed when it doesn’t.

    • Sarah, if it was true- that the God who created the heavens and the earth and all it’s beautiful design, the variety of birds, the complexity of the cell, the vastness of the universe, also made you and seeks to know you and has revealed Himself in nature and in the person of the Jesus of the Bible- would it change how you live?

      • AskMe- it’s very complicated to explain over blog comments. But I am only a humble agnostic person, seeking the truth, not an arrogant Atheist or Christian. I don’t pretend to have all the answers or know what is best for everyone.

        All religions try to recruit, all saying they have the answer. This has happened to me so many times. “We are faith-based. They are works-based. Ew.” “We have the one true answer. Follow us.” “We have the correct God who has the answers. If you don’t follow us you’ll burn in hell for all of eternity.” “That is idolatry. Don’t listen to them.” “We are the true Christianity. That church doesn’t know what it’s talking about.” Ad nauseaum. All of you sound pretty much the same with inconsequential variations, but are equally convinced that you have the only truth. And when that is brought up, the answer is the same. “Well, says there will be many false prophets. We are the true ones. We’re the only one based in history or fact.” Never mind the millions of shows and books you can easily find with the millions of historical and moral contradictions that plague each religion. If your God is a God of great clarity, it’s weird that things are totally unclear to most. What an exclusive, elitist God to only present the truth in a way certain people can understand. People who are very similar to the people already following that religion in the first place.

        I’ve gone to Bible study, Torah class, I go to temple as a Buddhist, which is the only thing that has ever even kind of seemed decent and ethical so far, but nothing has been even mildly convincing. Years ago I felt I I did everything I could to believe, and I prayed for direction and to know God whoever he was, and I did everything else I was told, and I came out of that phase with the same feeling: There is likely no God, and there is almost certainly no Christian God. I’m not smart enough to debate what exactly there is, or where everything comes from, but God is anything but the logical go-to choice. Everything I’ve learned about it sounds yucky, absurd, randomly thought up by feeble humans, and non-sensical. It seems important things are explained away. Anytime someone can’t answer, it’s statements like, “Oh, we humans are too small-minded to understand the ways of our loving omnipotent God. We’ll never know. We must be obedient and not expect the answers to too many questions.”

        If there is a God, someone who created our universe, I’m pretty sure he is either cruel or neutral at best. And I know what you might say next, so just to be clear- No, nothing really bad has ever happened to me that has made me “turn away from God.” I’m just realistic and I see how bad humans long for meaning, and this crazy and often sad life is too much for them to accept. So they invented something to help them along and bring comfort. It’s an excellent and often healthy coping mechanism. I encourage it in my clients because it can bring serenity. But I can’t fake a belief no matter how hard try. I’ve tried! I can’t believe in a book, full of contradictions and problems, just because someone tells me to. But my mind is not closed, I’ve just been extremely unimpressed with all organized religions. But I’m a seeker and I know I absolutely don’t know it all. I’m just not sure if anyone does.

        But of course the idea of a loving God is wonderful and I would be 100% compliant and on board if I got any notion of something supernatural; not explanations from Christians who are biased and have a conflict of interest, like all people do when something is important to them. So I learn a lot about myself, try to figure out my selfish wants from what I know is good, be humble (work in progress), and keep an open mind. I don’t think anyone sane would actually intentionally rebel from a God they truly believed to exist. That would be nuts. I’ve genuinely thought about all of the answers my Christian friends, who I love, have given me to all of my questions, and they are deeply unsatisfying. This leads me to believe the whole thing is most likely bunk. But if I’m wrong, cool. I hope I’m shown the truth.

    • I’m glad you got it back, Frau. It wasn’t a good look for you. Someone with a name as esteemed as Frau, like a German Madame, should never lose her cool.

  9. If I knew either one or both of the marriage partners were gay, I WOULD ABSOLUTELY NOT ATTEND THE CEREMONY!.

  10. I am so happy that you are talking about your walk with God to help others! Even though some of it is very personal to you. If you recall I met you and your husband at Starbucks recently, and you spoke of your blog. Well, I have been reading through it. Here are some of my quick thoughts on this blog:

    1. You mention that you believe that it is alright if a Christian can honestly attend a gay marriage. However, while everyone is on different levels with God, meaning that God is working through different things in each Christian, it is also the responsibility of mature Christians through truth, Scripture, and love help guide misdirected, unaware, or rebellious Christians of their sin or error. So, that might mean confronting a Christian you know who believes it is alright to attend a gay marriage, and speaking truth to them, encouraging them to not conform to culture, and not to attend such activities. Many Christians, especially here in Washington, are misguided, misinformed, and unaware that voting against homosexual marriage actually is exercising freedom of choice and not taking it away.

    2. On the subject of your family you speak of, I can only imagine how difficult it has been at times, feeling divided, however Jesus wants us to choose Him (as He is God) over anything that is an idol, including our families. There is always a Godly way in which we can engage with our families, even in the midst of sin. Here is a very important Scripture spoken by Jesus:

    Not Peace But Division
    ““I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:49, 51-53 NIV)

    Here is one more important verse spoken by Jesus:

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. (Matthew 10:34-40 NIV)

    God bless, it was great meeting you and your husband. I will continue to pray for you both and I will continue to read your blog as I am able.

    Edward

    • I would think a humble person would be trying to think of the ways THEY were rebellious, misinformed, or misdirected. I would not assume I was the “mature” Christian who knew it all and think so much of myself that I thought it was my job to tell other Christians how to be with God. Especially if they did not ask for my opinion. Also, I think the writer of this blog cited all of the passages you just quoted in this article’s comments sections or other articles a already. It’s hard to find someone who knows more ersatz Bibleish stuff than this lady. I only point that out to you because she is likely too polite to do it herself.

      • Hi thinker, you describe very accurately what my faith is like. Constantly asking questions, evaluating my love or lack of love of others, always trying to improve, frequently failing, having doubts, struggling with doubts, reconciling many doubts, then being blessed with more doubts to research and reconcile. Sometimes Christians like me are very judgmental, sometimes we get labeled judgmental because we weigh in on social/culture matters and the views do not reflect popular secular ideas.

        • Hi Steve. Don’t know who you are or where you came from, but do make yourself a regular here, would you please? Love your comment above!

    • Hi Edward. It was great to meet you today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I really appreciate your encouragement and comments. I think that the scriptures you quoted are quite pertinent to this discussion and indeed, for identifying who we are trying to please as we face difficult situations.

      On this subject, I actually don’t know if there is an unequivocal biblical answer. I am working on a response to Thinker that gives some background on why I wrestled through this. More to come whenever I have some kid-free writing time…

  11. @ PR Faust

    Hi Ark, you make assumptions about the writer of this blog about being “indoctrinated as a child” – have you asked her? Have your read her story? It appears she came to her conclusions as an adult. By accusing her and name calling it appears you are operating out of stereotype. Isn’t this the definition of being a ‘bigot’? I am not calling you one, but as an atheist I would assume you would be open to dialogue and thus live consistently with your worldview.

    And you didn’t read all the comment, as I also said …”or impressionable young adult.”

    Anyone who bases their worldview on any religious text and then judges other by it is a damn hypocrite of the worst order.
    If they wish to live by such a credo, then first produce evidence of the deity, then demonstrate the veracity of the text that you derive know;edge of this deity.
    Last, but not least produce evidence that this deity is the right one.

    Oh, and as an aside, please demonstrate how Yeshua is the Creator of the Universe.

    If you feel you are able to stand in for the blog host on this issue, then feel free to demonstrate on her behalf.
    I assure you, you will have an eager audience within two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

    You up for it?

      • This is obviously rhetorical so I won’t bother answering.
        I will, however ask what is the relevance?

        Oh, and are you going to take up the challenge re: Yeshua?
        You are a Pastor after all, are you not. So you should be pretty clued up More than me, I would hope?

      • Information in the cell is relevant because it points toward an intelligent source putting it there.

        Scientists can’t explain where it cones from and to try to explain it goes beyond science to philosophy and religion.

        About Yeshua (Jesus I assume you mean vs. Yahweh), the question is did Jesus raise from the dead? Everything hinges on this. If Jesus was not raised, Christians are to be pittied most (1 Corinthians 15).

        My phone is about to die. I can chime in later. I think the main thing we need to realize is this should be a dialogue and not name calling. Ask me is trying to bring about a dialogue, not a fight.

      • PRFaust

        “Information in the cell is relevant because it points toward an intelligent source putting it there.”

        -Please elaborate. How does this “point to” an intelligent source?

      • If you look inside a computer chip and see that information is there, that it has been programmed, logical deduction suggests a thinking programmer placed that information in the computer chip for a purpose.

        A biological cell has as much or more information as compared to a computer chip. Information with a purpose for cell stability and repair. Each part in a cell has programmed information to work together with all the other parts of that cell to function properly. By logical deduction, information could not be placed there by random means (I.e. darwinian evolution). By logical deduction and intelligent designer placed information in the cell with purpose.

        Think of it differently, if you found a watch would you conclude the watch made Itswlf by a random unaided process? Or would you conclude a watchmaker made the watch for a purpose? When you look into a cell, it makes you wonder the same thing.

        Watch this

        http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yKW4F0Nu-UY

  12. Information in the cell is relevant because it points toward an intelligent source putting it there.
    Scientists can’t explain where it cones from and to try to explain it goes beyond science to philosophy and religion.

    Unless you are a scientist with the relevant qualifications to discuss genetics and DNA coding then I strongly suggest you don’t even start, otherwise you are going to look very, very silly, very quickly.

    About Yeshua (Jesus I assume you mean vs. Yahweh), the question is did Jesus raise from the dead? Everything hinges on this. If Jesus was not raised, Christians are to be pittied most (1 Corinthians 15).

    No, the primary question was demonstrate how Yeshua is the Creator of the Universe.
    This is what you believe is it not? And this is the basis of every Christians’ worldview.
    So, please, demonstrate how this is so.

    We can go onto the Resurrection at a later dater, no problem, I assure you.

    <My phone is about to die. I can chime in later. I think the main thing we need to realize is this should be a dialogue and not name calling. Ask me is trying to bring about a dialogue, not a fight.

    A dialogue where the basis for the host’s stance is doctrine from a bronze age/1st century religious book is not conducive to open dialogue relevant to the topic at hand. …it quickly becomes religious polemic.

    • I reference my faith in the above article because it governs my life, and the decision about whether or not to attend a gay wedding is a personal one. When it comes to civil policy I make my case on evidence, reason, history and the constitution. Please see the posts where I specifically address policy and the “Rules for Engagement” where I encourage Christians to not base their arguments for law on the Bible.

      In this discussion and the one on Violet’s posts, I have asked questions based on studies and evidence. You, Violet and MyAtheistLife at the ones who have introduced religion into the discussion. You resort to emotivism and smear tactics to such a degree that real conversation isn’t possible.

      • You introduce some facet of religion to bolster your case on almost every single comment.
        Your objections, while displaying a measure of social concern , are still largely motivated by your faith and your adherence to that ridiculous book, the bible.

        As for parenting. Gay people, do not merely “raise children’, as if they can be picked up from the street and taken home.
        There are formal procedures.

        I refuse to acknowledge your ridiculous arguments any longer.
        Fortunately, you are whistling in the wind, my dear, and the world is inexorably edging toward a secular humanist society and your (and every other person’s) piddling religious based beliefs , however opaquely you try to present them will one day be nothing but a scribble in the page of history.

        Come down here and see what a child dying of AIDS looks like, or one dying of starvation.

        Now tell me that either of these kids would not benefit from a stable, loving environment irrespective of the sexual orientation of the couple who chose to raise that child.
        Your personal views, especially as they are grounded in Christianity, actually make me nauseated.

        • Hence the reason why I spent my vacation time traveling with two lesbians to adopt a child in medical need from overseas as mentioned in the post above.

          I have 93 posts on this blog. Please find an example of where have I have uaed Scripture to advocate for a change in public policy.

          • I reiterate, while any single part of your worldview encompasses belief in a sky daddy or god man, the foundation of which is indoctrination ( cultural or otherwise) and reliant on the bible you have no rational grounds for objection.

            The bible is fallacious. This you should deal with first.

            I am aware of your personal circumstances, from your blog.

            That you you even consider you have the right to judge that a gay couple should be prevented from marriage and or raising children is evidence of unfounded prejudice.

            Imagine if I began a series of blog posts outlining why marriage to a member of the clergy should be cause for serious concern?

            Maybe I should , in fact?
            There are certainly enough studies showing the damage done to children raised in a strict fundamentalist environment.

            Children being led to believe that dinosaurs coexisted with humans and were herbivorous until the ”Fall”.
            being brought up to believe there actually was a worldwide flood, an incestuous family that repopulated the earth, a character called Moses who led 2 million Hebrews across the desert, and a god that commanded the annihilation of every living thing i Canaan.
            Yeah, there are plenty of parents lying through their teeth to their kids over such issues.

            Maybe you’re one of them?

            Well, are you lying to your kids? Because if you are bringing them up in the Christian faith then sure as hell you are…..

            Get off your soapbox, lady.

            It’s bad for your health.

      • Scripture alone is our authority. God’s Word is to inform every thought, word and deed.

        .

        Says it all really, don’t you think? Renders this statement:

        Please find an example of where have I have used Scripture to advocate for a change in public policy.

        somewhat moot.

        I despise religious word games.

    • Hi Ark. You mentioned that if I am not a scientist, then I cannot comment on science. Except for the fact that scientists have gone beyond science to scientism.

      Scientism is scientific philosophy. Darwinian Evolution is an example of scientism; Darwinian Evolution is a theory, not fact. Scientism being confused with science in the mainstream has produced a pre-supposed naturalistic bias by which to view the evidence. But by assuming there is no deity, this is religion and theory that is unproven and skews true science.

      An example of good scientific conclusions would be Micro Evolution (i.e., variation between species – it is proven because it can be observed. E.g., variation of species between dogs or humans or the size of the beaks of finches).

      An example of scientism is Macro Evolution, which has not been proven (i.e., Macro Evolution states that one species makes a leap to a completely different species). This has not been proven. The models used in most scientific textbooks to try to assert Macro Evolution is fact have actually been disproven (e.g., “Peppered Moths on Tree Trunks” or “Haeckel’s Embryos” or “Normal and Four-Winged Fruit Flies” or “Darwin’s Finches”).

      Good science follows the evidence where it leads without bias. As scientists have peered into the cell, what they have seen is something more like molecular machines coded with information and working together to repair and regenerate cells. The four bases of DNA function as chemical “letters” – adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G) – which combine in various sequences to spell out a message. The discovery of this chemical code means we can now apply the category of information theory to DNA (scientism pointing toward an intelligent source of the information – but not proof of the existence of God as a matter of fact). Hence a new “theory” Intelligent Design. Scientists who believe DNA points to an intelligent creator are doing scientism – philosophy. For the secular scientific community to shut them down and say this is wrong and is bad science shows the secular scientists with the power are hypocritical at best, and manipulative at worst. Hypocritical because they are doing the same thing – they are doing scientism as they purport and promote Macro Evolution as fact. So really science can’t be used to categorically disprove the existence of God, and in fact the evidence seems to at minimum support a competing perspective. The question for everyone is are they willing to remove bias and go where the evidence leads?

      About Jesus – you want me to prove he is the creator. Again, it comes down to the resurrection. The Christian assertion is a belief that because Jesus was raised, therefore this proves Jesus’ claims to be God’s Son are true.

      Let us briefly look at some of the claims of evidence. First, there is nothing in history to disprove that he was raised. The Jews and Romans did not produce a body when the Christians claimed he was raise. There is no document that proves the Christians were liars.

      Second, there is extrabiblical support of Jesus’ resurrection. Josephus wrote a history of the Jews in the 1st century and he devotes a few verses to Jesus:

      “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” (Antiquities 18.3.63-64)

      In addition to Josephus, the extrabiblical writings include: Pliny the Younger (62-114AD); Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (75-130AD); Cornelius Tacitus (55-120AD); Pontius Pilate’s wife’s written letter Recollections of the last occurrences from the Life of The Jesus Christ (she was known to believe that He was from God); Publius Lentulus (ruler of Judea) wrote a letter to Roman emperor Tiberius (resides in a private library in England, found 1865 AD); Pontius Pilate, Roman governor, wrote a report to Roman Caesar Tiberius in Jerusalem, 28.III 4147); and Tacitus (70 AD).

      Third, the New Testament writers claimed to be writing history. Matthew Levi walked with Jesus and write in the 60’s AD; John Mark took notes of Peter’s preaching and wrote them down in a chronological story in the Gospel of Mark about 55 AD; Luke, a Gentile, went to Judea and interviewed firsthand eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life and carefully researched the events surrounding Jesus’ trial and then wrote everything down in the early 60’s AD (he would have had access to the Jerusalem library for additional back-up of Roman court documents, etc. – these would have been burned in the destruction of Jerusalem in 66-70 AD); and John, an apostle of Jesus, wrote around 85 AD. The apostle Paul also claimed to have seen the resurrected Christ and then wrote about him and pointed everyone in the church in Corinth back to eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen the resurrected Christ (he names the 12 Apostles, plus some key women, and then mentions some 500 people who saw Jesus at one time – see 1 Corinthians chapter 15). Paul wrote in the 50s-60s AD. When he and the other apostles and New Testament writers were writing, everything hinged on the resurrection and they knew it. If it was made up, then one would think it would be easy to disprove. But these authors named names. And because of Pax Romana and Roman roads, people could easily travel to Judea and go to these places and ask people – “Was this testimony true? Did you really see this miracle? Did you really see Jesus raised?”

      I studied Religion at St. Olaf College where they claimed all these authors did not write these Gospels and Epistles. The St. Olaf professors claimed that other authors wrote pretending to be the Apostles in the 2nd century AD. The St. Olaf professors asserted that this is the only way a “prophecy” could have been written so accurately (e.g., the destruction of Jerusalem predicted in Matthew 24). The problem with the theory of liberal academia is that the carbon dating of the earliest known documents of these Gospels and Epistles shows there were copies made in the first century. Also, the internal evidence of place names and important people in important towns and the archeology described in the Bible and modes of transportation, etc., etc. all support the earlier dating of these documents and thus the 19th and 20th century liberal theologians have consistently been disproven as we have learned more of the facts.

      Does all this prove Jesus was raised? No. Does it point in a direction? Yes. So the question for everyone is – do you believe what first-hand eyewitnesses claimed? Or do you not care? Or do you care but don’t have the TIME to do the research? Or do you discount evidence as implausible because of a belief system? Or do you discount evidence because you were hurt by some Christian and the emotions surrounding this whole God thing sting so bad that belief becomes implausible for you?

      Every religion and philosophical system including atheism makes truth claims. They all cannot be true at the same time. Hence the reason for the whole debate. I would posit we strive to figure out the truth, because there is much riding on the conclusion. If Jesus was not raised, we Christians are idiot bigots. But if Jesus was raised from the dead, then we can trust the rest of his claims, including that he is one with God (John 10:30) and that there will be a reckoning and that no one came come to God the Father except through Jesus (Luke 12:4-5 & John 14:6). If Jesus was a fraud, ignore it. But if he was who he claimed, then at minimum it is worth researching. And not from shoddy 20th century neo-orthodox theologians who have an agenda. Anne Rice thought they would have an open and closed case against Jesus being God’s son. So she started with their scholarship and soon discovered it was poorly done. Then she turned to original documentation and realized the reason the Roman Empire converted by the 4th century is because the weight of evidence is in favor of Jesus’ resurrection. She has accepted Christ, but rejected the church because of the gay marriage issue. Take that for what it is worth, perhaps start with her research and go from there.

      • Honestly, the rubbish you write is almost beneath contempt.That you would think that I had not read as many currently available extra-biblical sources and investigated them to the fullest merely shows the level of your blatant arrogance and the damaging effects of insidious inculcation that you have been subject to.

        If you truly think for one moment that I will stoop to engage in a long drawn out debate with yet another evangelical hothead over something as ridiculous as the Testimonium Flavian you are sorely mistaken.

        All I will say is this. That you quote the whole of this passage merely shows how grossly ignorant you are as even the most basically educated biblical scholars consider this passage a Christian interpolation, probably from Eusebius,.

        It is about time you went and did some proper research instead of regurgitating all this apologetic garbage.

      • Ark, what you stated about Josephus is unproven, historically.

        It seems there is something deeper going on with you. What is the pain you carry that makes you respond the way you do?

  13. Well put. “Gay marriage” is an oxymoron. It is necessary to redefine “marriage” to pursue the idea and that is what has been done. Homosexual people occur as do tall and short ones; they are part of the human condition. Short folk are not deprived of rights by their exclusion from the NBA nor are homosexuals deprived of rights by their exclusion from marriage…

    State subsidies of marriage have aimed at encouraging procreation; it is therefore reasonable and fair to deny them to those who cannot procreate. It it is thought unfair to deprive the non-reproductive, of the subsidies for the reproducers, (as seems to be the present case) it seems better sense to cancel the subsidies for all, as they have lost their rationale…Or so it seems to me!

  14. Ark, what you stated about Josephus is unproven, historically.
    It seems there is something deeper going on with you. What is the pain you carry that makes you respond the way you do?

    Lol..yeah, you figured it out, I was gang raped by a group of Catholic Priests as a teenager and have been in therapy ever since.
    I have Jesus nightmares and begin to shake uncontrollably if ever I get too near a church and start to froth at the mouth at the mere mention of the word Bible…..Aaargh!…… there I go.

    Truly, you are a very sorry individual and in a sense I do pity you, and especially any children that are subject to the mind warping worldview you foister on them.

    That you come back with a whingy-whinny ‘It is unproven historically” crappy one-liner merely illustrates the point that only inculcated evangelical nitwits accept it at face value and have not the integrity to conduct any serious investigation. And this goes for every other ‘source’ you care to mention.

    For crying in a bucket, even a evangelical goody two-shoes like Mike Licona has more integrity than you are displaying at the moment, and this is a man that was dismissed from his post for daring to suggest in one of his books that the ”Zombie Apocalypse” as recorded in Matthew was not to be taken literally. And he refused to issue a retraction. Good for him!

    The TF was generally refuted as long ago as the 19th century and before. Even the note in the Catholic Encyclopedia states the TF has been subject to numerous interpolations to consider it genuine.
    Only fairly recently have a minority of scholars resurrected (sic) the debate ( one can only guess at the reason) and subject this piece of fluff to renewed scrutiny,some considering that it may have a core of Josephus in it.
    But this is grasping at straws, and the internet has merely got the evangelicals all riled up again.
    It is nonsense.

    From a simple common sense perspective if Josephus had written it and truly believed old JC was the “Christ”: then he would of ditched his own faith and become a ”Christian”. Which, of course, we know he did not.

    Have you ever read Origen, Contra Celcum?

    Have you never wondered why the passage was not quoted by any christian apologist/scholar before Eusebius?
    There are plenty of very informative links if you are prepared to grit your teeth and not merely follow the evangelical line of thought.

    And you really ought to go and do a bit more in-depth research of the Tacitus passage.

    Start with Gibbon, if you like.

    I am making an appeal to what ever intellectual faculties you may still possess and I sincerely hope you take a deep breath and consider what I have written without thinking I am some demented Satan possessed atheist .

  15. Ark:

    Whether you were gang-raped by Catholic priests or are simply a man with a chip on his shoulder, the world may never know. But it boils down to this: you are invited to faith. You accept the faith or you do not. Whether or not you accept the faith dictates how you think and how you act. Railing at others for their point of view is useless. You are as unlikely to change their point of view as they are to change yours. It involves a whole different level of thinking.

    Religious people might call it conversion; non-religious people call it a paradigm shift. It occurs when your mind stretches away from what you know and you are able to see brand-new information or to see old information from a new perspective. It happens in academia, it happens in teaching, it happens in medicine, it happens in law. It happens all over the place, but it especially happens in religion. It’s part of what makes us separate as a species from other living creatures and it’s a big part of what helps us to grow, collectively.

    Trying to explain belief in God and, flowing from that, how our beliefs affect our actions to a non-religious person is like explaining the Internet to a medieval man or woman. It simply isn’t in their schema….it isn’t something they can imagine or act on or relate to. It seems impossible to understand, much less achieve. Until the click happens, if it happens.

    If you are trying to turn others away from God b/c you truly believe He doesn’t exist, it is probably useless. Their schema includes Him and they can’t unknow what they already know. They can choose to convince themselves they don’t need Him or don’t believe in Him, but that’s not the same as being convinced by someone else that he doesn’t exist . You cannot force someone, no matter how reasonable you believe yourself to be, to either believe or disbelieve.

    If, on the other hand, you enjoy insulting others and engaging in ad hominem attacks on others, then I suggest you take PR’s advice and look a little deeper into what thorn it is that pricks you.

    Regardless, I hope for peace for you that quiets the agitation you seem to feel.

    • @ Tisha

      I think you will find that the ”insults” normally begin with the religious, who have had centre stage on the soapbox for more than 2000 years.
      In fact the insults continue to this day, not least of all the rather nasty threat of an eternity in hell.
      And, that most fundamental Christians live in a secular democracy is evident by the freedom they have to espouse the nonsense and often vitriolic waffle that is the bane of modern society.
      And of course , this situation is a lot worse in fundamental Islamic countries,where you and yours would be arrested very quickly for any sort of proselytizing. And any attempt to raise a church would be laughable!

      I am not trying to turn others always from any god. In fact I am unaware of any fundamentalist who has decided to deconvert on the say so of an atheist.

      Most deconvertees arrive at a point where the religious claims begin to make no sense. When these people begin to apply critical thinking the religious claims as well as the biblical narrative begin to unravel.

      If you read any deconvertee’s story of escaping from fundamentalism, or simply turning away from their religion whether Christian or Muslim the stories are generally quite similar.

      The road they travel from then on is usually fraught with emotional anguish, not least of all coming from many of their former religious friends,family and associates who in many cases deride their decision and often harass them to rethink. In many cases they are accused of never truly being Christians as a ”true Christian” (sic) would not walk away from their faith.
      Of course, a Muslim apostate is under a death threat, as I am sure you are aware.

      Be this as it may, I engage because I find religion fascinating and the religious fascinating also.
      I have no axe to grind although I do tend to get a bit irate because of the inculcation suffered by defenseless children. In this, I feel legislation would not be amiss to protect them until they were at least old enough to make an informed decision.

      Other than this, I am really quite at ease with it all, confident in the em>fact that the world at large is inexorably moving toward a secular humanist society.

      And Amen Ra to that.

      Peace

      The Ark

      • “I feel legislation would not be amiss to protect them until they were at least old enough to make an informed decision.”

        Can you imagine the government setting the “informed decision age”? Would you really cede that kind of power to the government? That is exactly what the communist government does to registered Christian churches in China. Pretty scary thought…

          • Government regulation of religion is the hallmark of many countries I hope the USA never becomes like. Can you point to evidence that shows raising children with Christian values is harmful? My wife and I raised our 2 daughters with those values and they are now adults and amazing people. Far, far beyond where I was at their age. One of them has dedicated many years to helping abused women in Ukraine where there is precious little help for them. She could have easily been successful in business or many other things. Both my daughters would give at least partial credit to the values they were raised with. I have witnessed the same results with so many of my Christian friend’s children too. Not to say there aren’t terrible Christian parents out there, I am sure there are plenty, I can only relay my personal experience.

          • Are you serious , Steve? Serious about examples of harm raising kids with “Christian values”

            Like stoning homosexuals, and adulterers for instance?

            How about those kids who were raised in Fundamentalist Christian homes where they grew up in fear of Hell? And were threatened by it? Because parents genuinely believe in it?
            Have you ever listened to one of these people?

            Some of them were scared out of their wits.

            What about Creationism? ACE schools for instance that teach a literal understanding of the bible to the extent that dinosaurs existed with humans …and some were tamed because there were vegetarian ( herbivorous) before the ‘Fall’
            I mean, really! This is taught as fact. Your religion merely a different version. Or maybe the same?

            And what about other religions where women are regarded as little more than property?

            You are suggesting that your kids would not have turned out as great as they sound if it were not for your religion? Even partially? That’s sad. Truly.
            This is an indictment on you as a parent if you believe this; that you couldn’t teach them to discern right from wrong and all that goes with it without the bible.

            How did you explain Divine Command Theory to your kids, Steve? Or the incest perpetrated by Noah and his family?
            What about Sodom and Gomorrah, and the nonsense of the Exodus?

            Are you suggesting that my two kids have less morality and ethics simply because I am an outright atheist?

            No, I am sure you’re not. Not intentionally at any rate, yet there is a tacit implication underlying your comment to this effect that even you might not be aware of.
            I should be offended, but I will assume you behave in this manner because you, like every other religious person, has been indoctrinated to think this way.

            If you would like a few links to blogs right here in WordPress hosted by former Christians who left simply because of the lies preached by your religion and the realisation of how corrupt their childhood really was, then simply ask.

          • Love your neighbor as your self.

            To practice, love, joy, peace, patients, kindness, goodness and self discipline. To seek truth and the best in others. Just for starters…

            I have no idea who you would say that Christians teach their kinds to stone gays, Christ said whoever is without sin cast the first stone. I have been a Christian for 43 years and what you assert is unrecognizable in any general sense, there are always extremes that can be cherry picked from any group with a huge representation.

            You keep bringing up Ken Ham like all Christians believe what he believes. My views on origins are best represented on reasons.org and are not the same as Ham’s.

            Peace.

          • Love your neighbor as your self.

            To practice, love, joy, peace, patients, kindness, goodness and self discipline. To seek truth and the best in others. Just for starters…

            So, basically a version of the Golden Rule, not original to Christianity in any way and taught by many who/that preceded Jesus and Christianity.
            I thought the primary belief was in the Resurrection?
            Without this your belief crumbles…and as far as I am aware anyone who calls themself a Christian is obliged to believe in the Resurrection yes?

            Sorry are you not familiar with the Old Testament?
            You religion is based on this god, Yahweh, only metamorphosed in a different form.
            As for Ken Ham…
            Well, he worships the same god as you do.
            he reads the same ‘Divinely inspired’ bible as you do.

            So he is cherry picking then but you are not?
            How about the Virgin Birth, Steve? Do you ascribe to this?
            What about the Zombie Apocalypse in Matthew?
            How do you feel about the ”Long ending” in Mark?

            You see, there are so many versions.
            What Christianity do you actually follow?

          • My dear Ark, the Christians on this thread may hold different views on tongues, a six day creation, etc. Despite those differences, while they have not necessarily spoken about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, they have DEMONSTRATED those attributes in the face of the stone god who has frothed at the mouth toward them. Even without the vast archaeological, historical, and extra biblical support (patiently, gently, and kindly presented by the Pastor) I would gladly subscribe to this worldview because the product is someone who can respond with meekness even in the face of emotional, slanderous, combative bloggers. You are the greatest apologetic against an atheist world view, and the Christian contributors to this thread have totally out-classed you.

          • Your Pastor is whistling in the wind and has been unable to produce any verifiable evidence whatsoever related to our conversation. Not a scrap.
            Maybe you could ask him yourself if he has anything other than an apologetic view to punt?

            Let’s see his claims backed by secular archaeologists with no axe to grind?

            It’s unfortunate you are upset that some folk are prepared to stand their ground in the face of such fallacious diatribe.
            It’s equally disappointing that while you claim to seek the truth you more readily put up with lies and skew presentations that merely confirm the indoctrination you have suffered.
            I really do feel for you lot at times.

            Your religion has had over 2000 years on centre stage.
            Now the chickens are coming home to roost.
            You peddle lies then expect that someone will eventually notice your nose is growing.
            Having someone challenge the ”Playground Bully” that is religion is a bitch is it not?

          • Ark, so you consider this representative of teaching Christian values to children? That is seriously sick! I can see from your comments on this thread that you are really not interested in a dialogue, so demagogue away.

          • I see from your comments that you are only interested in a white washed cherry picked inculcated version of Christianity.
            Why do you run from the truth?
            It is all out there. How about a Pentecostal version?
            How do speaking in tongues gel with your Christian values?
            Or handling snakes, or the Benny Hinn version?
            How about Mary Baker?
            Maybe the Baptists?

            I note you do not respond to the harmful practices of ACE education either.
            So exactly which ‘version’ of Christianity do you subscribe to, Steve?

            Is it the first time you have come across these other versions?
            What are you hiding from, Steve?
            If your Christian Values are worth defending then let’s hear what they are.

          • Yes, I followed the link Arch provided on your post.
            And this lot over here just don’t get it.
            It’s the same old ”They are not proper Christians” we hear all the time.

            I see someone on Unklee’s blog ask why Christians can’t even sort themselves out. His answer was another religious two step answer.
            I see you aren’t getting much joy ether.

            “Pick a god…any (version) god.”

            Look at PR’s comment about his ”Nazareth Synagogue”.
            I just shake my head in total dismay at what religion has done to these people.
            It truly is sad.

          • Was it all the ”G’days” he leaves dotted about, I wonder?

            Oh, we’re sidetracking the post again?

            Let me just say “Hello” to the hostess in case she’s lurking.

            Wotcha Askme. Happy Friday.

            😉

          • Yes, we are talking in class, but i’d never been to his blog before, so it was the first time i’d seen the “g’days”… which, as an Australian, i can say is pretty retarded.

          • The only other Aussie I heard use this term was Paul Hogan. I don’t think this counts, does it?
            Even your mate, Mr. Warney is not on record saying it…not that I’m aware.

          • I would say that side tracked is accurate. Honestly gentleman, do you need to litter my thread with the one liners? 😉 “G”day to both of you.

          • Honestly, I was just curious based on your responses and examples (creationism, very literal views of the Bible, hell). Most Christians I know don’t have much to do with those things.

          • Then you obviously have little knowledge of what happens down in the Bible Belt or what these nutters are pushing re school curriculum then?

            If “most Christians” don’t have much to do with these things then don’t you think that ‘normal’ Christians should speak up fr the sake of children if for nothing else?

            I mean, would would you want your kids subject to ACE teaching?

          • Actually, I lived in the Bible Belt for quite some time so I’m quite aware of the culture wars.

            I absolutely agree “normal Christians” should speak up and I know many who do and many who would never subject their kids to such teachings. I suppose they’re just not as outspoken sometimes and outnumbered in some states.

          • Tongue in cheek reference to dear Ken Ham and his Tame Dinosaurs and biblical literalism.

            Did you not see his debate with Bill Nye?

            Can you imagine him as President of the US?
            Mind you, could he be much worse that George W?

          • Ark, we are all done on this thread. There’s really nothing new or constructive being said at this point. I am sure you will join us again on future post.

          • I was done but dear Steve left comments and then it began to snowball once more. Sigh…not my fault

            Best plan? Close the post for further comments then all those religious do-gooders can read and seethe in frustration at the terrible atheist.

            I will of course join you…so long as I am ‘welcome”
            ( for any given value of welcome, of course ;))

    • Ark- don’t you get it? You’re just not nearly as evolved as Tisha is, so you could never even come close to truly understanding her beliefs. It’s because you’re a simpleton- for her, trying to explain God to you is like trying to explain the internet to someone in the dark ages who doesn’t know anything. You are not a chosen one, like she is. You’re too low and your mind is too small to even attempt to be on her level. So don’t try. And the award for most condescending comment goes to….

      • No no, my dear. This is not about intellect. Ark has had his over-developed cranium on display in every stitch of this thread. He’s a smarty and no one is denying it. Tisha, valiantly, seems to be attempting to bring a measure of conciliation. (Mt. 5:9) What I believe she is saying is that there is an experiential aspect to faith in Christ that animates doctrine, but that isn’t something that can be measured in a discussion. Don’t add exclusivist language when she didn’t say it. She is right, everyone is “invited to faith.” Please do not attempt to lower Tisha’s statement to the below-the-belt level of commentary that Ark sprinkles into each post.

      • Thinker: It appears you read my post in a light I wasn’t even considering when I wrote it. If it came across as condescending, then I apologize…it wasn’t my intent.

        In comparing the internet to medieval man, I was merely attempting to explain how far apart our experiences are and, therefore, they are almost impossible to explain to someone else who doesn’t have the experience. Different does not mean better, it simply means different.

        As far as evolution goes, I have a far, far way to go before I am “evolved” in Christ, that’s for sure.

        I am an adult convert to Christianity and therefore, I have the experience of “before” and “after”….this is what I was trying to share, not that I feel superior to anyone else. I feel comforted and extremely lucky to be where I am, but I also realize it is a place that others find difficult, if not impossible, to understand.

        In the future, should you have a question as to whether I am being condescending or if I am putting someone down, could you please do me the favor of asking before you assume? I would appreciate it.

  16. Please do not attempt to lower Tisha’s statement to the below-the-belt level of commentary that Ark sprinkles into each post.

    As opposed to the “‘Above the Belt” verbiage that accompanies every Sunday Sermon?
    The intellectual high ground occupied by Ken Ham?
    The open and clear approach to apologetics offered by William Lane Craig.
    The trustworthy foundation that is the Catholic Church. Meet you friendly child minder…EeeeK!
    The immaculate dress sense of Benny Hinn lol….( the immaculate dress of the Pope, for that matter)

    The un-tampered scriptural text of the gospels. Long ending on Mark? Wasn’t me…honest.
    The scholarly integrity of Eusebius. “Me lie? Well…yes if necessary? But I am doing for God, you see?”
    The incredibly sound educational basis of A.C.E schools in the States, SA, Australia and the UK .
    “Look, kiddies, a farmer riding a tame Triceratops”

    “Yes, welcome to the world of religion. You cant go wrong with us…and if you do, well, meet Nick, he’s the guy with the pointy tail and the pitchfork, kiddies. So, have you been naughty or nice?”

    • An excerpt from my Rules of Engagement:

      “You are invited to think critically. I encourage you to present and attack arguments… You absolutely, in no way, may attack people. If your comments degrade persons, people or a group of persons, you shall be excommunicated…”

      Ark, I have offered you more leeway than some commenters. When I say “below the belt” I refer to statement such as these:

      – “you were probably indoctrinated with as a child, or impressionable young adult.”
      – “you are a very sorry individual and in a sense I do pity you, and especially any children that are subject to the mind warping worldview you foister on them”
      – “evangelical nitwits”
      – “what ever intellectual faculties you may still possess”

      I allow it because it says much more about you than it does about those who have been willing to engage you.

        • Ark, your post gives an account of horrifying events which should make everyone sick and outraged. I am. I am not as familiar with modern day Judaism or the prevalence of abuse therein, but the outrage over the Catholic sex abuse scandal is justified. For any organization, especially the church, to turn away from such crimes in the name of forgiveness is insanity. There must be punishment and prosecution for anyone who preys on innocents.

          I know you don’t care about what scripture says, but exposing wrongdoing is a command. God is not looking for surface-level goodness but genuine righteousness/health and that involves honesty. The churches I have been a part of remove from leadership men who struggle with porn and as well as a man who developed an inappropriate relationship. Once the youth pastor reported his friend (a volunteer) to the police when a line was crossed. Good leadership protects women and children in accordance with the high value that God places on the most vulnerable. Cover-ups do not have a place in the church.

          “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them…

          Eph 5:3-13

          • I’ll be honest, quoting scripture to me, an atheist, after you have read that post I find highly offensive.
            I would prefer if you kept that stuff to your self or if you must trot it out do it among your evangelical buddies, okay? Thanks.

            When you realise what is really going on in religion then you might not be so forgiving.
            I am not talking about some nut-job conspiracy either.
            You need to read that book of yours with new understanding. Open your eyes, then open them again. You are ( by all accounts) an intelligent woman, and a mother.
            Use your intelligence and think a bit more….

      • Ark, the sinful leaders who claim to be representatives of Christ like priests taking advantage of kids or Bennie Hinn, they don’t represent Jesus and the Apostles.

        And by the way, my faith is not based on what Eusebius or Josephus said. My faith is in Jesus based on the Apostles teaching in the New Testament.

        Biblical minimalists try to discredit scripture as reliable, but the more we learn of archaeology and the more copies we find of the NT, the more that the scriptures are validated to have been written predominantly pre destruction of Jerusalem with the exception of John, Revelation, and 1, 2, 3 John who wrote around 80-95AD.

        These firsthand eyewitnesses I trust.

        I’ve studied at St. Olaf, American University of Cairo, American University of Hong Kong, Yansii University, Denver Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I’ve been to Greece to study history, Switzerland to study religion and politics, Jerusalem and the West Bank to study history, religion, and international relations in the Middle East, Egyptology and world history on lpcation all over Egypt, religion in India and Nepal, and have visited Sri Lanka in the midst of civil war, and served tsunami victims in Indonesia, and gone on mission to Muslims in Spain, and lived in Taiwan and have studied religion and art in China. I have questioned and studied. My faith was almost destroyed in my undergrad schooling and then I learned in my masters program and in my doctoral studies that the evidence of history lines up with “conservative” scholarship and that “liberal” scholarship is being disproven the more we learn.

        My testimony, when I was at rock bottom I cried out to God at 2am to prove himself to me. He did, my friend whom I had not seen or spoken with for 8 months called me the same day and said he was praying and felt God was telling him to call me and he did.

        Coincidence, hardly. God radically changed my life that day. He took away temptation, gave me joy and happiness that lasts to this day, it was like euphoria for 6 months and has continued to a lesser degree but still fills me in a way I can’t explain.

        That is God. His word is alive to me. When I read it the euphoric feelings are heightened. He continues to change me and make me a patient and loving father, a dedicated and loving huaband, and a man who strives to be more like Jesus.

        God is so good.

        And he loves you.

  17. Tisha- next time I’ll ask if I think that. But it seemed pretty clear to me this time. AskMe- Sorry, my dear, to upset you on your blog. My response was exaggerated because it felt insulting to read. It’s hard to deny that telling someone trying to explain their beliefs to them is like trying to explain technology to someone in the dark ages, even if it’s likely subconscious, feels condescending. With this recognition that many who believe this religion God thing have had a spiritual experience, why so much defense in history? Why apologetics if it’s an experiential thing that does not involve intellect. It seems like there wouldn’t be a need to prove and try to explain. It seems like people would just say, “You’ll know when it happens to you. It’s not a choice, I can’t explain it.” Faust said it took a spiritual experience for him, and also for Tisha, you’re saying, so why try to convince us you’re right if you could not be convinced before you had a spiritual experience? Why should I believe your (Faust, Tisha) experience that you admit cannot be proven or verified? Would you just take it as “not a coincidence” because someone who is now invested in religion existing says so? I just think it’s silly to try and convince people who have not had this experience to believe and vote and act like you, when you likely would have not done the same thing.

  18. @prfaust.

    Biblical minimalists try to discredit scripture as reliable,

    The bible discredits itself. Biblical minimalist merely point this out to inculcated people who have been so blinded by their own emotional turmoil that they have gorged themselves on lies and are unwilling to step back and rethink their position.

    They are so intellectual numb that even rubbish like the prophesied virgin birth and other ridiculous nonsense they accept at face value and cherry pick whatever they can to fir the worldview they prefer; as long as it
    There are no first hand witnesses. When you realise this then maybe you will come to recognise how you have suffered indoctrination.
    Yes, your rock bottom story is oh so familiar.
    Odd that the vast majority of adult convertees all seem to be in the poo to varying degrees before this god turns up.
    be it sex drugs or rock n roll.
    Your ‘god’ is capricious, selfish, genocidal, and most of all….made up.

    The bible is merely a working tool to bolster lies.
    Go search the clergy project for example and see what they have to say.
    I have heard your argument a zillion times. You will have try a lot harder than this, and sadly, your knowledge of the bible, its history and that of your faith is biased and has more holes than a Galilean fisherman’s net.

    You want to demonstrate some credibility?
    Explain how Jesus went to heaven and how Jesus is the Creator of the Universe.

    Got the balls to take on this challenge or will you obfuscate and duck and dive like every other apologist?

    Come on…let’s see what you’re made of shall we?

    The floor s yours PR….

    • Ark, you haven’t disproven anything. All youve done is insulted people.

      About “proving” Jesus is God’s Son and that he ascended to heaven, I don’t understand what you are asking. Do you mean the theology he is God’s Son? The theology he is creator? The theology of his descending to humanity and then ascending to heaven?

      Also, do you like to insult people? Or is that a tactic of debate to make it feel like you are winning?

      Its called emotivism. I humbly request you calm down and dialogue.

      • I did not say I disprove anything.

        About “proving” Jesus is God’s Son…

        I am not interested in the silly theology of it…I can do that myself.
        You lot claim it is fact, and proselytize it as such, to the point of having doctrine that condemns the likes of me and any non believer to Hell. I want you to demonstrate the claim that Jesus is the god you say he is and how he ascended to heaven and created the universe.

        Also, do you like to insult people? Or is that a tactic of debate to make it feel like you are winning?

        Win? Win what? I dispute the claims of religious people simply because they claim they are facts and instill this diatribe in children.

        I could care less what you believe as an adult – although I do extend a measure of sympathy to you for being unable to discern a reasonable adult level of reality – but you have no moral right or verifiable evidence whatsoever to claim it as truth or proselytize to and inculcate those who have not yet developed the faculties for critical thought.

        If you feel you would like reasonable , adult non emotive dialogue then let’s discuss why you believe Yeshua is the creator of the universe and what evidence you have to support this.

      • Why I believe Jesus is the creator: virgin conception, which you disagree with but where you there? I believe it based on the authority of those who wrote about it – Matthew Levi and Luke – if they are lying, the rest of the story is suspect, but if they are telling truth passed to them presumably from Mary herself, then we best listen because there has never been a virgin conception before or since; Jesus walking on water, he either did or did not – I believe this based on the authority of the apostles who saw him do this; Jesus calming a storm, the apostles asked, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” This either happened or it did not – I believe based on the authority of those Luke interviewed to write Luke 8; Jesus healed many people and raised Lazarus from the dead, these are not everyday occurrences but people testified if happened – I believe based on the gospel accounts’ authority; Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared to the apostles, disciples, Saul, and to more than 500 at one time – I believe based on the authority of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and even Paul that this occurred; and about his ascention to heaven, again Luke records this In Acts and the epistles refer to this as well. The apostles who witnessed this were either liars or telling the truth.

        You gotta realize that all history is taken on someone else’s authority. If you doubt the NT you have to doubt anything you have not seen with your own eyes. The apostles were told to recant and bow to the Emperor. They refused. Who would die for a lie?

        Does this prove it? No. But it makes it likely to have occurred and worth considering.

      • Why I believe Jesus is the creator: virgin conception, which you disagree with but where you there?

        This response merely makes you look silly and churlish. ”Were you there?” Good grief! This is the type of asinine question Ken Ham instructed kids to ask of their school teachers whenever a challenge was offered to Creationism vis a vis dinosaurs and humans coexisting and Noah Ark.

        The Virgin Birth concept was a later Christian addition to their doctrine. It is a misinterpretation of the supposed prophecy in Matthew of the passage in Isaiah. 7:14 . You state you have attended all these institutions of higher learning I am surprised you are not aware of the etymology of the words involved and who in fact the prophecy actually referred to.

        ……if they are lying, the rest of the story is suspect,

        The authors of the gospels are unknown. Names were added later. Only evangelical apologists consider the names attributed to the four gospels were actually the people that wrote them.
        Mathew used Mark as source material for his own gospel and the amount of material in ‘his’ gospel, around 600 verses, is testament to this.

        I believe this based on the authority of the apostles who saw him do this; Jesus…

        All you have is hearsay. Nothing more…

        Jesus healed many people and raised Lazarus from the dead, these are not everyday occurrences but people testified if happened

        History is replete with people being raised from the dead, in every culture, and every religion. Even latter day accounts. The bible account is nothing special in this regard. If you wish me to give any credence to the bible story then are you prepared to accept Resurrection claims from other cultures and religions? Yes or No?
        Please state your reasons.

        The apostles were told to recant and bow to the Emperor. They refused. Who would die for a lie?

        Serious? I can think of several Islamic Fundamentalists who flew a couple of planes into the World Trade Centre for a kick off. And there are numerous Islamic suicide bombers that we could trot out if you like?

        But it makes it likely to have occurred and worth considering.

        Then no doubt it is likely that Mohammed went to heaven on a winged horse as well then, naturally? There are several hundred million Muslims who consider this absolute fact, along with the ‘fact’ that the Koran was given to Mohamed directly from God( Allah)
        You will no doubt accept this as truth too, I suppose, yes, or do you think over a billion Muslims are
        a) Lying
        or
        b) Have simply been mislead?

        Please answer a or b.

        Do you think you could possibly be in the same boat as over a billion Muslims?
        If not, why not?
        Please explain.

        So far you have merely used the gospel’s to try and justify your belief; this is faith. I asked you to demonstrate that Jesus is ‘God’ and the creator of the universe and for you to explain how he went to heaven.
        Do you fancy another crack at it, only this time without resorting to mining scripture?

      • One at a time – Ark.

        First – the virgin conception, yes I know the etymology of the words. ‘alma in Hebrew means a maiden of marriageable age. It can mean virgin, but it can also refer to a woman who has not yet become pregnant. “It is evident that the primary meaning of the word has to do with sexual maturity and, by extension, the age of the young woman, not with sexual experience or the lack of it…” (New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis: Vol. 3, Willem A. VanGermeren, General Editor, 418). So we don’t know from the word usage itself in Hebrew what was meant. And so we turn to the LXX (Septuagint), which was the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible post Alexander the Great. The Hebrews had an oral tradition of interpretation when interpreting that was passed down through the scribes and in Hebrew school at the local synagogue. When the known world became a Greek speaking world in the 300s BC, the Jews living in the diaspora had to translate the Hebrew with the intended meaning of certain words so that the Bible and it’s theology could be preserved. Its interesting that the LXX uses parthenos to translate ‘alma in Isaiah 7:14. Parthenos in Classical Greek means “…one who has as yet not been touched by a man.” (New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Vol. 3.Colin Brown, General Editor, 1071). As stated above, parthenos was used to translate ‘alma in the LXX only twice – in Genesis 24:13 and Isaiah 7:14. In both cases virgin is explicitly meant or implied (Colin Brown, 1071-1072). In the NT “Mary is called a parthenos indirectly only in Matt. 1:23 and directly only in Luke 1:27.” (Colin Brown, 1072).

        My point is four-fold: (1) the LXX helps us understand the author’s intent in Isaiah 7:14; (2) the author’s intent was established in the writing of the LXX some 300 years before Jesus was born; (3) the NT author’s believed Jesus was conceived of a virgin; and (4) Joseph knew that he had not impregnated her (Matt. 1:18-25).

        Yes – I take this on faith; just as you dismiss it on faith.

        I will answer your other questions as I have time.

      • About Mahar-shalal-hash-baz in Isaiah 8, the word ‘alma allows for a double fulfillment prophecy. Immediately in Isaiah 8 concerning Isaiah 7:14 and later in Jesus. I am sure Matthew Levi was not ignorant about this point.

      • Isaiah 9:6-7 makes it clear that the one the prophecy of Isaiah 7 ultimately refers to is “mighty God, wonderful counselor, prince of peace” etc.

    • About Muslims flying into a building, they lived 12 1/2 years ago, did not know Muhammed and could not testify about his life. They were 1400 years removed from the time of their human leader. And Muhammed may have claimed in a dream to have flown on a horse to Jerusalem, etc., but he still died and was buried.

      You claim there are several religions with “resurrections” in history. There are several myths of resurrections, but there is a reason people did not convert as a result – they were myths without any evidence, eyewitnesses, or proof. The evidence of Jesus’ resurrection is eyewitnesses and the fact the Jewish leadership of Jerusalem and the Roman leadership could not produce a body.

      On Josephus, he made two mentions of Jesus’ life and the broad consensus of scholarship agrees that the second quote is entirely original and written by Josephus saying Jesus was the Christ and had a brother James. Scholars have a broad range of opinion about the first quote (listed above in this thread). Some say it was entirely original from Josephus. Others say a few words were added by Christian interpolation to clarify that Jesus’ crucifixion happened under Pilate. The point being the broad consensus of scholarship is the majority of the quote was written by Josephus and can be trusted as historical.

      About the authors of the Gospels – take Mark for example – “All the traditions cited, indeed all that have been preserved from antiquity, support John Mark, companion of Peter and Paul, as author…[including] Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Jerome, and the Muratorian canon…the oldest and most important testimony, from very early in the second century…is that of Papias.” (Craig Blomberg, “An Introduction and Survey: Jesus and the Gospels” – 123).

      “Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not indeed, in order, of the things said or done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had he followed him, but later on, as I said, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong in writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.” (Ecclesiastical History 3.39.15)

      The dating of Mark is best understood to be in the early 60s AD because of internal evidence (i.e., facts that jive with the culture of the time of Christ and Judaism pre-70 AD). If it would have been written in the 2nd century as liberal scholarship suggests, then whoever was writing would have to have intimate knowledge of a time some 80-100 years before that person was writing. It would be like me writing about the WWII era even though I wasn’t alive then. It would be relatively easy, though, for me to write about that era if I did the research – BUT the downside for someone claiming to be Mark writing in the 2nd century is they didn’t have the internet, and abundant resources we have today to make up such a story and purport it to be facts about Jesus.

      I’ve run out of time. I need to be with my kids and wife.

      Cheers.

      • Additionally, Clement of Rome wrote a letter to Corinth quoting 10 of the 27 NT books in 95 AD, showing much of the NT had been written.

        The primary reasoning given by liberal scholars for why they believe the Gospels were written post 70AD is because Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple. But is this valid reasoning? From their perspective Jesus could not have predicted these occurrences and that authors after the fact put those words in Jesus’ mouth. But this shows their bias and is not proof or sound reasoning, unless of course one already dismisses prophecy and the supernatural – in that case the liberal scholars reasoning is the only possibility in their minds to maintain their view that these are just books written by men with an agenda.

        Again, the internal evidence points in a different direction.

      • Finally, because of the fact Christianity grew at a rate of 10-40% per year going from a few thousand at Pentecost to 14% of the Roman Empire pre- Constantine in 312AD, despite all the efforts of the emperors to eradicate the empire of Christians by edicts and death penalty shows that this movement grew not by force, but for some other reason. It is illogical to think the Christians were manipulative by scaring people into belief. The opposite is actually true. Christians had their beliefs and lived them. The reason people kept converting is because the Christians had a better ethic, better morals, and they lived longer as a result and lived in better conditions. They rescued babies that were discarded by the Greeks as weak or deformed. They would sit in boats with nets to catch the children thrown in the river to drown. And then the Christians would raise them as their own. They would rescue the homeless children used for target practice by the Roman soldiers and raise them in a community of unconditional love. They didn’t have aboetions, which in that time was donw with crude instruments often killing the mother or permanently inhibiting her ability to have children. The list goes on. Read the Rise of Christianity by Stark for a bwtter understanding.

  19. PR Faust:
    1. Agreed, Christian leaders are called to live in Christ and to exemplify, by their words and actions, His teachings. As a Catholic, I am so, so saddened and disgusted by what some of the leaders of my Church have done.
    2.. Your experiences sound wonderful; would love to have done that! Thank God for His trustworthy response to your call. Awesome witness!
    3. Ark doesn’t seem to want dialogue or to be seeking honest exchange of ideas. He seems to be one who gets his needs met by engaging others for the purpose of challenge and ad hominem attacks. This adolescent form of communication doesn’t leave room for a productive discussion.

    Thinker:
    1. Thank you. Like I said, it’s appreciated.
    2. IMO, I think modern man has a lot to learn from medieval man in quite a few ways. This was the context in which I made the comparison, not from a inferior-superior line of thought. I realize I did not make this clear in my original post.
    3. Your statement that I am condescending in a “likely unconscious way” seems to me to, ironically, be the height of the condescension that you were quick to accuse of me. The way it seemed to me was that it is a convenient way for you to dismiss my points and my experiences out of hand because, after all, the poor thing can’t help it….it’s unconscious, you know.
    4. In reading your posts, I find you to be open and honest about your doubts, to be sincerely seeking and to be a good questioner of things. But I’ve also found you to be quick to judge based on pre-conceived notions and caricatures of what a Christian is. Again, I find that ironic. All I can say is I hope we can find our way to treating each other with respect for both the person and the beliefs each holds. You seem to have found this with AskMe, which is great.
    5. Why are there apologetics? Really? Thinker, consider this: Christians are called to evangelize….to share their knowledge and experience of Christ and you (collectively now and throughout) freely engage them. You categorically dismiss all spiritual/conversion experiences as unreliable….you want logics, you want proof. When logic (apologetics) is provided, you then say why the need for logic and proof. This seems illogical in itself. You can agree or disagree with the logic of apologetics, but if it’s asked for and provided, I don’t see why it’s presence is questioned.

    AskMe: Great post again, my friend! 102 comments indicates a good, meaty post. Love your blog, but you already know that. 😉

    • Dear Tisha

      3. Ark doesn’t seem to want dialogue or to be seeking honest exchange of ideas. He seems to be one who gets his needs met by engaging others for the purpose of challenge and ad hominem attacks. This adolescent form of communication doesn’t leave room for a productive discussion.

      The irony of course, is that your little comment is also ad hominum in its way. Especially that last sentence with its delicious little dig…. 😉 Good one!

      This is an open forum. Our host has already politely extended me quite a margin of leeway …and of course, by extension you lot as well. Which is great for you as it’s lots of fun having a go at the ”silly atheists”, is it not?

      There is no honest exchange when one party steadfastly maintains a worldview based on corrupt literature and belief in the supernatural.
      However, demonstrate that your god is THE god and the creator of the universe; sole disher-outer of Morals then I will bow down just as you do. You have my word. I’d swear to god but…well, you know how I feel about gods, right?

      Tell me, how much credence do you give to the Muslim beliefs?
      They worship the Abrahamic god, just as you do, but only in the single form, not the Trinity. ( that marvelous confabulation dreamed up by the church so’s you lot wouldn’t be polytheists – clever! )

      It’s okay, Tisha, everyone knows the Muslims don’t worship the real god, God, and they made all that stuff up in the Qu’ran, right?
      ‘course they did.
      Smile…..

    • Tisha- You got me. I’m a snarky bitch sometimes. Before I know people, they bug me, and I say whatever without thinking out of anger and disgust. AskMe won me over because in response to all of my negative comments, she was always gracious and polite and calm. I really admired that and I told her so. So we’ve evolved and although we vehemently disagree on some things, we’re cool.

      When I said subconsciously, I didn’t mean to diss you there. I meant it seemed condescending, even if you didn’t mean it to be that way. So that time I didn’t mean anything rude that time, but I def can be condescending when I want to be. I’m sure we will move past our issues. I almost always like people once I get to know them a little better.

      About apologetics, spiritual experience etc.: this is where you really don’t get me. It’s a true genuine question. I’m asking for perspective, not in an adversarial way. Don’t you think the whole thing is interesting that most people come to believe from a very personal spiritual experience but everyone is asking for proof? That was kinda rude when you dismissed my question by snakily saying “Really?” as if I’m a total idiot. I just meant I find the whole thing fascinating and the questions were genuine. Do you think you would genuinely believe without a personal spiritual experiences? Would you expect others to? It’s just so weird that what convinces most people to truly commit to religion cannot be verified, and the history can be debated forever, so it shows how this whole thing gets so convoluted and heated. It can just go on and on. But it’s sure interesting to discuss it sometimes. (When we maintain our manners.)

      • Thinker, I won’t put this as eloquently as CS Lewis, but he describes the relationship between “experience” and doctrine/arguments like this: Doctrine/Theology is like a map of the ocean. Our experience is like walking along the shore of the Atlantic. The feeling of putting your toes in the water is more real and likely more exciting than looking at a bit of colored paper. And if you are content with your strip of beach then a map is unnecessary. Likewise, one can know every contour of the Atlantic she sees in her atlas, but if you never get in a boat and sail to England you miss the point of the map altogether. A good map accurately reflects the depths of the sea, the location of each channel and inlet, and the distance from shore to shore. It is wonderful and thrilling to watch the waves break on the shore. “But you will not get to Newfoundland by studying the Atlantic that way, and you will not get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God in flowers or music. Neither will you get anywhere by looking at maps without going to sea. Nor will you be very safe if you go to sea without a map.”

        http://www.imperishableinheritance.com/2005/cs-lewis-on-the-importance-of-theology/

  20. First – the virgin conception, yes I know the etymology of the words. ‘alma in Hebrew means a maiden of marriageable age. It can mean virgin, but it can also refer to a woman who has not yet become pregnant. “It is evident that the primary meaning of the word has to do with sexual maturity and, by extension, the age of the young woman, not with sexual experience or the lack of it…” (New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis: Vol. 3, Willem A. VanGermeren, General Editor, 418).

    Wrong!Straight out the blocks and you recite this Christian polemic. We know what the the word means, but for that you must study what the Hebrew scholars have to say, and not someone with a Christian bent. Let me help you.

    http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/alma-virgin.html

    In fact, although Isaiah used the Hebrew word almah only one time in his entire corpus (7:14), the prophet uses this word virgin (betulah) five times throughout the book of Isaiah (23:4; 23:12; 37:22; 47:1; 62:5).
    Go read. Go learn….

    (c) Tovia Singer 2011

    Furthermore, this still does not answer my challenge abut whom was the prophecy directed? And it sure as Hades was not your supposed Messiah, as well you know.
    It was directed at Ahaz, wasn’t it?

  21. As for the rest of your comments; this quote of yours takes care of it all.

    Yes – I take this on faith; just as you dismiss it on faith.

    I actually dismiss it on lack of evidence as it happens.

    And although, some of those who may be following this dialogue will be cheering from the cheap seats at your learn by rote apologetic rebuttals I have neither the energy or inclination to educate one who continues to refer to the author of the gospel of Matthew as ”Matthew Levi.” as if this was a real historical person.
    You might as well have written Harry Potter….

    Enjoy your faith….

    • Jews believe Isaiah 7 refers to Mahar-shalal-hash-baz in Isaiah 8. Jesus on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24 states otherwise.

      Betulah does mean virgin in all uses and Is used in Isaiah. Why didn’t Isaiah use betulah? Unknown. But this does not nullify that ‘alma can also and often does mean virgin. The parthenos translation in LXX gives us a clue as to what the Jews meant.

      • The writer of Matthew made an enormous cock up and Christians have been trying to do an apologetic snow job ever since.
        face it, the word it the word and no matter what you try and do it won’t go away or suddenly metamorphose into the word you would like,
        And if you truly think I would take the word of an inculcated Christian over a Hebrew scholar you must be smoking your socks.

        Furthermore, the ”prophecy” refers to King Ahez, as well you know, and not some made up messiah hundreds of years in the future.

        Oh, and in case you were thinking of it, please do not come back with the double prophecy line…I am familiar with that as well.

        And let us bear in mind that this is the same writer that claimed dead bodies climbed out of their graves and went ”walkabout” in Jerusalem like bloody tourists, an event so staggering that it was mentioned by absolutely nobody.

        Please, I have had enough of this nonsense.
        It’s not that I haven”t had such discussions before its just that I am fed up dealing with people who claim they are intelligent yet display all the characteristics of the remedial by clinging on to lies and superstition.
        Discussing this nonsense with you is like listening to Ken Ham discuss the ”science” of creationism.

      • Why? He believed Jesus of Nazareth was real. Why should I consider such an apologist as Lewis?

        Please understand, there is nothing of a philosophical nature you can propose that will offer anything to your argument.

        Historically you have already demonstrated your woeful ignorance which is merely bolstered by Christian apologetics.

        I am just surprised you haven’t yet recommended Lee Strobel or Gary Habermaas.
        Or perhaps they were next on your list?

        That you ignore the virgin birth issue speaks volumes in itself.
        You are beginning to sound like a hypocrite.
        Why not merely state that your belief is based solely on faith., not evidence.
        Keep it simple and honest.This I would respect,

      • CS Lewis was an Atheist with a professorship in Medieval lit before he became a Christian. He had all the same arguments you have until he was challenges by Tolkien to run the New Testament through the same grid historians and literature experts run any manuscript through to determine If it was meant to be read as history vs. myth.

        To dismiss him shows bias.

      • The grid used by historians to determine if a document is myth, falsified, or historical:

        1) Is it written in a documentary style?
        2) Reliable transmission.
        3) Early composition.
        4) External corroboration.
        5) Character of the witnesses.

      • Take Luke – he’s claiming to write history in 1:1-4 and 3:1-2. In chapter 1 he claims to be writing history and to have interviewed eyewitnesses and to write the document in chronological order.

        In chapter 3 he gives the names of the emperor and three tetrarchs and the names of the high priest, giving several cross references to date the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry to 29 AD. All these details could have been checked out by those at the time who could go to a library and check out if these were historical figures.

      • Correction above, Chester Beatty comes from 150, Magdalen Papyrus (P64) has been examined by Carsten Thiede the Paleographer to discern its style of writing to be from 70-100 AD.

    • Concerning Matthew, what do you do with the Chester Beatty Papyri? It was dated late 200s until Paleographer Peter Thiede noticed the Greek letters have a style from 70-100AD. This shows the fragment was from a copy of Matthew with a much earlier date than previously thought by liberal scholars.

    • For those who want to know, ‘The Hero with 1000 Faces’ by Joseph Campbell is a book written by a man with a BA in English Lit from Columbia University in 1925 and a MA in Medieval Lit from Columbia in 1927. He was an American Mythologist and taught on comparative religions and comparative mythology.

      In this publication (Hero of 1000 Faces), Campbell discusses his theory of the journey of the archetypal hero found in world mythologies. He is heavily influenced by Carl Jung (Psychiatrist and contemporary of Sigmund Freud). The basic theory (theory means he is not basing this in facts but psychological and philosophical theory) is that the human psyche longs for a spiritual hero, and so people throughout history have made up religion and their heroes to fulfill the human “need” for spiritual salvation.

      C.S. Lewis had a similar career, he received a First in Honour Moderations (Greek and Latin Literature) in 1920, a First in Greats (Philosophy and Ancient History) in 1922, and a First in English in 1923. In 1924 he became a philosophy tutor at University College and, in 1925, was elected a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Magdalen College, Cambridge University (all before he became a Christian – he was a committed atheist) where he served for 29 years until 1954. He was slowly converted to theism in 1929 by reading the works of George McDonald, G.K. Chesterton, and through conversations with J.R.R. Tolkien became a Christian in 1931.

      Being an expert in Latin, Greek, Mythology, Ancient History and Writings, he was challenged to use the methodology of historians to filter the New Testament. In doing so he converted. Campbell did not. So which one should I trust? Here is the grid historians use:

      1) Is it written in a documentary style? (I.e., what genre is a piece of literature written in. Is it written as myth? Poetry? Wisdom literature? History? Epistle or letter? Apocalyptic?)
      2) Reliable transmission? (I.e., how many copies of the document exist? Are they in agreement with one another? Do they exist in multiple locations or only in one particular location?)
      3) Early composition? (I.e., what is the proximity of time between the writings of a document and the events themselves? If there is a huge gap of time, for example hundreds of years, then the document can hardly claim to be historical).
      4) External corroboration? (I.e., are there events, people, places, things, ways of thinking, ways of living, etc. that can be verified outside of the document as historical? This is why archeology is important. This is why other historical documents are important.)
      5) Character of the witnesses? (I.e., do we have reason to believe the document was a forgery?)

      So let us run the Bible through this grid (for the sake of time and space this will be a short version):
      1) Is the New Testament written in a documentary style?
      – Take Matthew – the author starts with lineage of Jesus in the line of David. He talks about the time period of King Herod being when Jesus was born. Matthew talked about Jesus and his family returning to Nazareth after Herod’s death and that this was the time period Archelaus was reigning over Judea. All of this places Jesus birth around 6-4 BC.
      – Take Luke – the author states he is documenting the testimony of eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life in an orderly account. Luke heard the evangelists preach to him and then travelled to Judea to interview eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4) and then he gives titles of the Emperor, 3 tetrarchs, and the high priest of Judaism at the time of Jesus placing the beginning of Jesus’ ministry at 29 AD. All the above could have been verified at that time and can be verified today.
      – These are just two basic examples of two of the gospel accounts being written as historical documentation. This was Matthew and Luke’s intended purpose. They were not intending to write a myth.

      2) Reliable transmission?
      – There are close to 14,000 ancient document copies of the New Testament. Approximately 5,000 Greek manuscripts (which are the earliest and most important); There are 8,000 of the Latin Vulgate (since many spoke Latin, the Bible was translated from Greek to Latin); more than 350 Syriac copies (Christian Aramaic); and others that are Coptic (Egyptian), etc.
      – There were no copy machines then, and so they had to rely on copyists, who sometimes made mistakes. Even still, when we compare all these ancient documents, they are 99.999% the same with no major copyist errors. The two sections that are the biggest “errors” so to speak are the end of Mark and the beginning of John 8. In your English version it should have a footnote saying these sections were not in the earliest manuscripts and therefore were not likely in the original but were later additions by a copyist.
      – So when a Christian speaks of the inerrancy of Scripture, this may be true for the original autographs, but we don’t have the originals – but based on what we do have we have a good idea what was in them with 99.999% agreement.
      – Compare this to other ancient documents:
      – Caesar – 100-44 BC – earliest copy 900 AD – time span 1,000 years – # of copies – 10
      – Plato – 427-347 BC – earliest copy 900 AD – time span 1,200 years – # of copies – 7
      – Tacitus (Annals) – 100AD – earliest copy 1,100AD – time span 1,100 years – #copies – 20
      – Thucydides (History) – 460-400BC – earliest copy 900AD – time span 1,300 years – #copies – 7
      – Herodotus (History) – 480-425BC – earliest copy 900AD – time span 1,300 years – #copies – 8
      – Sophocles – 496-406BC – earliest copy 1,000AD – time span 1,400 years – #copies – 100
      – Demonsthenes – 383-322BC – earliest copy 1,100 AD – time span 1,300 years – #copies – 200
      – I could go on, but you get the point. The above is where we get our ancient history. The reason there is such a time gap between copies is because documents decay over time and needed to be copied. Historians consider the above to be valid history. If they run the Bible through the same grid then the Bible is the most well attest and historically reliable ancient document that we have.
      – To question the historicity of the Bible you would have to dismiss all ancient history.

      3) Early Composition?
      – The earliest Epistle (letter of instruction to churches) was written by James between 45-46AD.
      – The Pauline Epistles (letters to churches) were written between 49-63AD.
      – The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) were written between 55-65AD. Acts was written around this time as well.
      – Johanian writings (Gospel of John, 1-3 John, and Revelation) were written 85-95 AD.
      – Many of these writings were quoted by other sources as early as the end of the 1st century and beginning of the 2nd.
      – Many copies of these writings can be dated to the early 2nd century:
      – Magdalen Papyrus (P64) – between 70-100 AD (fragment of Matthew).
      – John Rylands manuscript with a few fragments from John are dated to 120 AD.
      – Chester Beatty with major portions of the NT 200AD.
      – Codex Sinaiticus containing the entire NT dates to 350 AD.
      – Codex Vaticanus containing almost the entire Bible OT and NT dates to 320 AD.
      – By comparison, the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in the 1940s AD validate with almost 100% accuracy the OT Hebrew Bible. Prior to this discovery the oldest Hebrew Bible document in existence was from 1000 AD. What this means is we found the OT well preserved that is 1000 years older and the copy is almost exactly the same (showing copyists took great care in copying the Bible word-for-word).
      – What liberal scholars tend to do is run an ancient document through this filter and validate other books as historical, but then say it is not possible the Bible could be historical because it writes of miracles, etc.
      – This shows bias on the part of liberal scholars and a double standard.

      4) External corroboration?
      – Does the events, history, and description of the Bible fit with what we know about history?
      – Hans Conzelmann would say no. He lived 1915-1989 AD and dismissed Paul’s missionary journeys because he said the boats and sailing trips of Paul followed implausible routes (i.e., his journeys go against common sense and hence the stories were made up).
      – Let’s examine his claim with what we know from history: What Hans did not take into account was sailing in 1st century boats in the Mediterranean Sea (I.e., Hans assumed Paul was sailing in a swimming pool like sailing with the wind always at his back and without ocean currents). But when Hans learned that Paul’s sailing voyages lined up with meteorological and nautical conditions and principles he grudgingly accepted the accounts of travel in Acts as accurate.
      – Another example – Geography: the historical reliability of the NT frustrates its attackers because again & again Scripture lines up with what we know about geography, archeology, and topography (e.g., location of wells, streams, springs, gorges, cliffs, city gates, etc.) all support the stories of the Gospels and Acts.
      – Another example – People – Individuals, famous and obscure, are increasingly being confirmed by extra biblical sources as historical:
      – Example: In the book of Acts, Luke uses the term politarch to describe officials and magistrates in Thessalonica. Only someone who knew their stuff would use the correct Greek word in that setting, for the word politarch was only used in Thessalonica [i.e., they did not have the internet super highway to fact check – and by the way the internet is a bad way to do research, but some things can be confirmed] – because politarch was used, this points toward the author of Acts writing history and not being made up after the fact.
      – Example: Paul names the City Treasurer of Corinth (named Erastus) in Romans 16:23. Some scholars said this was made up and that there was never a treasurer in Corinth by this name. But in 1929 AD, archeologists discovered a 1st century street in Corinth with the inscription – “Erastus, Procurator and Aedile [public official], laid this pavement at his own expense.” This validates Romans as historical in the time setting it claims to have written.
      – Example: A recently discovered Ossuary identifies Caiaphas as High Priest who presided over the Sanhedrin when it condemned Jesus just as the Gospels and Josephus maintained.
      – Example: Inscriptions found in Caesarea Maritima in 1961 identify Pontius Pilate as governor of Judea at precisely the same time the NT places him there.
      – Example: Priscilla and Aquila moving from Rome to Corinth as described in Acts 18:2 lines up with Emperor Claudius’ order that all Jews leave Rome in 49 AD. This banishment had to do with Jews fighting about the issue of the Christ if He was Messiah.

      Ark claims the Bible is made up. But it keeps lining up with the extra biblical material we keep finding.

      5) Character of the eyewitnesses – good or bad?
      – These people simply told the story and were killed for it. That much you can read about in extra biblical history.
      – John the Apostle was boiled alive, lived, was imprisoned on the Island of Patmos, and died near the end of the 1st century.
      – The rest of the Apostles were crucified, beheaded, speared to death, etc.
      – These men preached peace and brought the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
      – The world scoffed at them, threatened them, beat them, but they turned the other cheek.
      – These people wrote the gospels and letters of the NT. They challenged in their writings for people to check their claims against eyewitnesses listen in their writings. No one in the first century could silence their testimony. Hence the reason Christianity grew despite Edicts against them to stop out their story.

      You decide. There is much more to what I have written. I recommend:

      “Scaling the Secular City” by JP Moreland.
      “The Reason for God” by Tim Keller
      “Truth Project” DVD series
      “True U” DVD series
      Etc.
      Etc.

      • “The Rise of Christianity” by Rodney Stark (he is a non-Christian by the way)
        “The Triumph of Christianity” by Stark
        “Evangelism in the Early church” by Michael Green
        “Jesus and the Gospels” by Craig Blomberg
        “From Pentecost to Patmos” by Blomberg
        “The God Who Is There” by Francis Schaeffer
        “The Universe Next Door” by James Sire
        “How Now Shall We Live?” by Colson and Pearcey
        “How Then Shall We Live?” by Francis Schaeffer
        “Total Truth” by Pearcey
        Etc.
        Etc.

      • “To be sure, they are doing their theology in order to oppose traditional religion. But the opposition is driven not by historical concerns but by religious ones.

        “But why would mythicists be so violently opposed to traditional religion? My sense is that it is because they believe that historic Christianity…has done and continues to do more harm than good in the world…

        “I have to admit that I have a good deal of sympathy with these concerns. But I am also a historian who thinks that it is important not to promote revisionist versions of the past for ideological reasons rooted in nonhistorical agendas. The writing of history should be done by following strict historical protocols. It is not simply a means of promoting a set of personal likes and dislikes.

        “I should say that even though I happen to share some of the biases of many of the mythicists when it comes to harm that has been done over the years in the name of Christ…I also see that a tremendous amount of good has been done in his name, and continues to be done…

        “But neither issue – the good done in the name of Christ or the evil – is of any relevance to me as a historian when I try to reconstruct what actually happened in the past. I refuse to sacrifice the past in order to promote the worthy cause of my own social and political agendas. No one else should either. Jesus did exists, where we like it or not.” – Bart D. Ehrman, “Did Jesus Exists?” pp. 338-339.

      • Pastor, this is exceptional. Thank you for taking the time to share the methods and evidence for the textual criticism of scripture. And THANK YOU for doing so in a way that all Christians should emulate- standing firm and doing so with patience and gentleness. Hope you make commenting on this blog a habit.

  22. Thinker:

    Thanks for your reply. You show integrity and a strong character to say what you did and I admire you for it.

    Thanks also for the clarification on the issue of “unconsciously”…when you put it that way, I understand where you’re coming from.

    Sorry for the “really”, it’s an automatic response on my part, but I’ll be more cognizant of it from now on.

    Hmmmm….good point re: why apologetics. I definitely think you have to have a spiritual experience (in addition to whatever logic/proof you also may have) with Christ in order to follow Him. As far as why people don’t say “You’ll know when it happens to you, I can’t explain it”, I think it’s probably pretty complicated (like all human issues), but I have a few thoughts:
    1. a truly convicted Christian is a joyous Christian and most people who are joyous want to share that experience. I would guess apologetics has evolved as an attempt to bridge that gap between those who want to share and those who don’t understand what in the world they are talking about.
    2. From almost the beginning of Christianity, people have been offended by and attacked his Word. They have used it as a reason to put Christians to death (which is why it can be hard to understand why Christians have put others to death for their views, but I digress). At that point, it became a matter of life and death to come up with a logical explanation that will convince a persecutor.
    3. there have been, literally, huge numbers of people who have come to the Lord through apologetics. Whether they begin with apologetics and have a spiritual experience later on; whether they are able to see the logic of the logic, as it were, and then had a spiritual experience or whether (like myself) it was a walk with both apologetics and spiritual experience hand in hand, it’s hard to say. It’s clear to me, however, that apologetics has a firm place in evangelization.
    4. Plenty of people DO say “I can’t explain it” and the usual response to that is “Then it must not be true and you’re delusional”. That’s where my feeling that those who do not believe are setting up a no-win situation for Christians as a means to dismiss them out of hand. I realize now that to believe that of you would be incorrect, but it has certainly been my experience and that of many other Christians. So, we Christians have a role to play in not pre-judging someone’s motives, as well.
    4. Lastly; because others ask for it. “Show me proof” is the hue and cry of many non-believers. And, even though I’m pretty sure it’s a futile attempt to understand God, who by His very definition is omniscient and omnipotent and so understands what the human mind cannot, people attempt to oblige.

    Hope that I’m understanding you better and that my answer shows same.

  23. To dismiss him shows bias.

    Smile..you re an apologist, skilled in obfuscation. CS Lewis was a christian and he showed biased.
    And I am sure you are familial with his liar lunatic lord argument, as am I so don’t try and run that bias crap by me, thank you….

    • The point is he was an atheist who converted when he was challenged to use his education to run the bible through the same grid.

      His bias was against Jesus.

      • CS Lewis’ bias was peeled back by the grid he used to determine the historicity of other documents. This scared him. He had to be honest with his bias. He worked it through logically and came to the Lord, Liar, Lunatic conclusion you mention above. He walks people through his logic in Mere Christianity starting with atheism as a worldview and realized there were major flaws, most importantly this idea of a conscience. How did It get there if we came about by random chance? And why is it all cultures all time has the same basic morality? He concluded, because there must be a Law Giver who wrote truth on our hearts. Or else people wouldn’t argue about standards. If atheism is correct and moral relativism is truth, then why do people appeal to a moral standard when offended? If there is no standard, who cares. And there can only be a standard if the Author of that standard exists, otherwise its just your opinion vs. mine. In that case the strongest wins. Isn’t that what the Germans were fighting for? Isn’t that the basis for the founding of Planned Parenthood?

        But if there is an Author of truth, then morality is worth arguing about and it is worth discovering what the moral standard is and who this moral Law Giver is.

        CS Lewis walks through the religious beliefs to work through the logic of each one. He also did his homework about the history of the various faiths. He concludes the Bible is reliable once he worked it through the same grid used of literature and history professors for any document.

        Conclusion: not myth, historically reliable, philosophically sound, and makes sense of human experience, and so he converted.

        His book Miracles actually walks you through the argument the Bible is myth and he shows how you determine what is myth and what is history. It is Mere Christianity amplified.

        Francis Schaeffer wnet through the same process: atheist, Christian, conaidered neo orthodoxy, almost became an atheist again, thought it all through, concluded Christianity is tenable.

    • Even liberal scholar Bart D. Ehrman who wrote Did Jesus Exist? Concludes, “Like it or not, Jesus did in fact exist.”

      You make bold claims Ark. If the case were closed, as you say it does, why is there so much scholarship to the contrary to you claims? Why does archaeology and extrabiblical sources corroborate with the biblical record?

      • I did not say that someone called Jesus/Yeshua, an itinerant eschatological preacher did not exist.

        You really need to pay more attention.

        I stated that the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth did not exist.

      • You said he was “narrative construct” – which implies you believe he was not historical and did not exist. That would not fly in academia.

  24. Why does archaeology and extra-biblical sources corroborate with the biblical record?

    And this is merely a steaming pile of unsubstantiated rubbish. Archaeology? LMFAO.
    Where are you getting your history? The back of a Cheerios packet, or do you subscribe to the Eusebius monthly newsletter’, Lying for the Church, Lying for Jesus

    You apologists slay me. Honestly, you and your pseudo intellectualism more and more, make Ken Ham look like Captain Sensible

      • Only because you proselytize. As I have said, as an adult you are entitled to believe what ever you like.
        This is your right and yes, I would defend your right to believe it. But not to proselytize it and most certainly not to children kids.

        Aside from that.. no problem whatsoever..

      • I have stated oft times, that as an adult you have the right to believe whatever you like, providing it causes no harm to others.And this is the problem, as can be seen worldwide as proselytizing is part and parcel of the Christian faith and apostasy carries a death sentence in Islam and there is rampant child abuse and misogyny in all aspects of the Abrahamic religions.
        So, this is why I, for one, challenge the diatribe you ( and others) so ignorantly go on about, especially as it is largely based on inculcation.

        Believe what you like. Truly, No problem. Just keep it to yourself, okay?

    • Christians are called to evangelize. I will not keep it to myself. And to point out contradiction, GLAAD and such groups are pushing Christians into the closet. So there will be push back by Christians against those with a double standard.

      • Yes, and this is why I call you out on the BS you espouse.
        As for being pushed in the closet.
        LOL…oh dear. ‘Scuse me while I choke on my coffee.

        Well, you have had the better part of 2000 years of centre stage on your theological soapbox which include such memorable christian landmarks as the Crusades and the Inquisition, Slavery, conquest of the Americas including the genocide of the Native Americans and latter day church sanctioned goodies, like Apartheid.
        And lets. not forget what is happening in all the Islamic countries, in case you think your piss-willy religion is so special.
        No, PR, your day in the sun is on the wane and common sense will prevail as humanity moves towards secular humanism and a more tolerant understanding and compassionate way of life, devoid of nation splitting religious diatribe.
        In the meantime you can bleat all you like you sanctimonious ass, there is only so much of being religiously shafted in the arse – literal and metaphorical that people will tolerate.
        And one day, your kids will turn around and ask/wonder, “Why did you lie to us, dad?”

        peace.

      • About the Crusades – what you all learned in school is revisionist history. Truth be told, Islam spread by the sword through the Middle East and North Africa in the 7th and 8th century AD. In the 700s the Muslims came into southern Spain from Morocco. When they came near to France, the military protected its people and repelled the Muslims back into North Africa. Because of the combination of Church and State (which creates problems because: (a) when the State is a “Christian” State, many false Christians in sheep’s clothing claim to be Christian – whenever a religion becomes the State religion this happens; (b) the Emperor tries to control the Pope and the Pope tries to control the Emperor; and (c) religion informs politics and politics informs religion. Hence, the Emperor influenced the Pope to have preachers preach from the pulpit about forgiveness for sins if they go to “Holy War” and engage in the Crusades to take back the Holy Lands. The problem with this is this was not Jesus’ ethic. Self defense is one thing, a military campaign in the name of Jesus is not biblical because Jesus has not called for such war. And so the State was wrong to manipulate the Church to manipulate the people to think they were doing something spiritual. What this shows is false Christians with bad theology were in leadership.

        And so on behalf of all people who have claimed to be Christian – I apologize to you for the offensive tactics of the Church in the Crusades. Christians had the right to defend themselves. They should not have gone on the offensive in the name of Jesus.

        The Inquisition – “Jonathan Kirsch placed the Inquisition’s casualty list as ‘countless thousands.’ The Encyclopedia of Religious Freedom puts Torquemenda’s total at ten thousand as does Edmond Parish, who also claims that another 125,000 died of torture… Yet another claims that overall the Inquisition condemned more than three million, ‘with about 300,000 burned at the stake.’

        “Despite these immense variations in estimated fatalities, everyone agrees that the Inquisition was a blood bath perpetuated by sadistic fanatics…

        “But the most shocking truth about the Spanish Inquisition is that everything above is either an outright lie or a wild exaggeration!

        “The standard account of the Spanish Inquisition was invented and spread by English and Dutch propagandists in the sixteenth century during their wars with Spain and repeated ever after by malicious or misled historians eager to sustain ‘an image of Spain as a nation of fanatical bigots.’

        “That such bigotry flourished during Europe’s era of religious wars is not surprising. Nor is it so surprising that this hateful nonsense was sustained during the era… But there is no such excuse for those irresponsible contemporary ‘scholars’ who continue to support such claims while ignoring or dismissing the remarkable research on the Inquisition that has been accomplished in the past generation…

        “These historians [who have discovered the truth] …have read the careful records made of each of the 44,701 cases head by these two Inquisitions between 1540 and 1700… The inquisitors were far more concerned with repentance than with punishment and therefore an auto-de-fe [act of faith] consisted of a public appearance by persons convicted of various offenses who offered public confessions of their guilt and were thereby reconciled to the church. Only very rarely did an auto-de-fe end with an offender being surrendered to the civil authorities for execution (the inquisition did not ever conduct an actual execution)… So, how many did die?

        “…a total of about 2,300 deaths spread over more than two centuries… In fact, fewer people were executed by order of the Spanish Inquisition over more than two centuries than the three thousand French Calvinists who were killed in Paris alone during the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Or compare this with the thousands of English Lutherans, Lollards, and Catholics …that Henry VIII is credited with having boiled, burned, beheaded, or hanged. The fact is that during the entire period between 1480 through 1700, only about ten deaths per year were meted out by the Inquisition all across Spain – and usually to repeat offenders! By modern Western standards, of course, even ten executions a year for various acts of religious nonconformity seem a dreadful excess. But during the time in question there was no religious toleration anywhere in Europe and capital punishment was the norm for all offenses, religious or otherwise. In context, then, the Spanish Inquisition was remarkably restrained.” – Rodney Stark, “The Triumph of Christianity” – pp. 333-338 (he is not a Christian – but a historian).

        Again – the main problem was human nature throughout all of Europe corrupting the Church and the State. The Inquisition was a very small part of this by comparison and the Inquisition did not actually kill anyone, but rather turned people over to the State and the State had laws of punishment, which included death for certain “crimes” which the State deemed worthy of capital punishment.

        For those who still blame Christians for the Inquisition – I challenged you to read the history books. Yes the Church has standards. The Inquisition had standards that are based in the Bible. And so they would excommunicate people who did not live by the Biblical standards. But the Inquisition did not actually kill anyone. Blame the State – not Christians. And be mad at your history professors who took propagandist history and mislead you. There is truly an agenda here to re-write history to make Christians the goat!

        • I’ve read Stark and was amazed at what the historic records *actually* report about these two events. Thank you for referencing his book here. But this is the best part of your comment:

          “And so on behalf of all people who have claimed to be Christian – I apologize to you for the offensive tactics of the Church in the Crusades. Christians had the right to defend themselves. They should not have gone on the offensive in the name of Jesus.”

          Again, thank you for being an example of how to engage on difficult subjects, Pastor.

      • Again – the main problem was human nature throughout all of Europe corrupting the Church and the State.

        Lol.. yeah, like the Church was the bastion of virtue.
        What a laugh. You are so funny!
        Go see if you can find the records for the Siege of Carcasonne during the civil war against the Albigenese. There are still a few extant records, including testimony. It’ll give you something to do. Warm the cockles of your heart on a cold evening.
        The city is beautiful, I have been there.

  25. <blokquote.You said he was “narrative construct” – which implies you believe he was not historical and did not exist. That would not fly in academia.

    I know exactly what I wrote and stand by it.
    There my very well have been an eschatological itinerant preacher called Yeshua; of this I am not denying at all. But, and I repeat, the miracle-working biblical character known as Jesus of Nazareth is/was a narrative construct. And yes, this would be accepted by every non-christian biblical scholar. Including, Muslims, Hindus, Jews atheists and surprisingly, more Christians than you might be comfortable with.

    • I quote a professor in your camp who agrees with your ideology, but critiques your historical methods:

      “To be sure, they are doing their theology in order to oppose traditional religion. But the opposition is driven not by historical concerns but by religious ones.

      “But why would mythicists be so violently opposed to traditional religion? My sense is that it is because they believe that historic Christianity…has done and continues to do more harm than good in the world…

      “I have to admit that I have a good deal of sympathy with these concerns. But I am also a historian who thinks that it is important not to promote revisionist versions of the past for ideological reasons rooted in nonhistorical agendas. The writing of history should be done by following strict historical protocols. It is not simply a means of promoting a set of personal likes and dislikes.

      “I should say that even though I happen to share some of the biases of many of the mythicists when it comes to harm that has been done over the years in the name of Christ…I also see that a tremendous amount of good has been done in his name, and continues to be done…

      “But neither issue – the good done in the name of Christ or the evil – is of any relevance to me as a historian when I try to reconstruct what actually happened in the past. I refuse to sacrifice the past in order to promote the worthy cause of my own social and political agendas. No one else should either. Jesus did exists, whether we like it or not.” – Bart D. Ehrman, “Did Jesus Exists?” pp. 338-339

      • Yes, a figure called Jesus may well of existed. I have never denied this. Not once.
        But the magic man-god; the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth whom Prof. Ehrman rejects out of hand is a narrative construct.

        Let me try to explain to you in plainer English as you seem to be struggling and sadly, I cannot type in crayon.

        1. At the time of Jesus; supposed ministry there was No Nazareth.
        2. There are no contemporary records of any such character having existed.

        Thus, while someone called Jesus may have wandered around Palestine preaching eshcatological clap trap sometime during the beginning of the first century, Josephus makes mention of several blokes called Jesus, the one described in the bible is fiction. Are we getting it yet?

        This is the meaning of Narrative Construct.

        Now, we are done…go away.

        You are a very silly person.

        Go and learn some real history.

  26. Take Luke – he’s claiming to write history in 1:1-4 and 3:1-2. In chapter 1 he claims to be writing history and to have interviewed eyewitnesses and to write the document in chronological order.

    Lol…No you take the writer of Luke.

    This is the historian that obviously has no knowledge of local geography at all. This is the ‘Luke’ that refers to Nazareth as a city….how many times? Lol..right? This is the Luke that refers to a multitude that wanted to pitch ole JC off a cliff where the ”City” of Nazareth is built. The multitude that got pissed off because their local boy behaved like an uppity prat in the …wait for it…synagogue. Ahem…
    Tell me, have you ever studied the topography of the area?
    Have you ever, in fact investigated the archaeology?
    Are you aware whom Bagatti was?
    Have you ever read the Nazareth Farm report?
    Are you aware of the etymology of the word, Nazareth?
    Have you ever heard of the Priestly course and how it is now considered a likely fraud?

    Or do you simply read the gospels, and all your apologetic crap and say…”Yep, this’ll do for me…”

    This is why religion…alll religion and especially those ignorant people like yourself who punt it should be legally obliged to undergo examinations – not merely theological clap trap – similar to those a doctor or engineer sits before being unleashed on the unsuspecting public.

    And this is why the Clergy project http://www.clergyproject.org/ is taking in more and more members of the ”faith”
    who can no longer live with the bullshit nonsense they have been preaching.

    You may continue to prattle on so vacuously for as long as you like…

    I am done with you, sir.

  27. Pingback: The problems inherent to religious thinking. Spéciosité Defined: Would you attend a gay wedding? | The Pink Agendist

  28. Although I flatly disagree with the topic of this post I would like to say thanks to the host for allowing the extended dialogue between PRFaust and Myself.
    It has been quite…. revealing.

    Good one, Askme.

    • Graciousness looks good on you, Ark. For a stone god you sure have a lot to say. While neither you nor the Pastor were likely going to convince each other, I’m grateful for you both and the time/energy you put into this thread. I learned a good deal and hope others will as well. Indeed, the conversation was “revealing.”

  29. I appreciated Arkenaten’s remarks because they caused me to reflect on my accumulation of inculcated beliefs. It was good for me to review the validity of what I have come to consider, “my beliefs”. I must continue to ask, even now, “with all the new data I am constantly receiving, will I continue to accept my beliefs unchanged at the end of the day”?
    I have come to the conclusion that unquestionable proof for the existence of God isn’t within our grasp. We can site all kinds of examples as to why it seems more logical to believe He exists than that He doesn’t but in the end they are not irrefutable. With what then are we left? There is a finite amount of data and a finite amount of time to subject it to analysis. So we scrutinize as much data as necessary to make a decision. Then reanalyze new data as it is presented in order to retain, modify or reject elements as it seems appropriate to us. We choose to accept or reject the existence of a Deity based on our interpretation of the data, not necessarily facts. That is the intellectual part.
    If God exists and resists irrefutable analysis in the physical realm then perhaps it is logical to postulate that He operates in the spiritual realm (it is worth considering at the very least) and to seek Him there through spiritual means seems most prudent. There are records that indicate He interfaced(es) with the physical realm at various points in time. We will make decisions as to the validity of those assertions (about the spiritual realm and God’s interface with the physical). Accept, reject, modify, reanalyze the data, ask more questions, whatever it requires, we will decide. Having made my choice based on the data I have examined in the fields of genetics, molecular biology, physics, chemistry, statistics, philosophy, logic, etc., I feel my intellect has been satisfied. I had to take a different approach with the spiritual. After concluding, according to my interpretation of the data, that it was more logical that God probably existed and that I could somehow communicate with Him and that He would want to communicate with me, I began the spiritual portion of my quest. I simply asked the question, “God, if you are there, would you reveal yourself to me?”
    Arkenaten, you appear to have a formidable intellect (both a blessing and a curse). It must be used with great caution because of the power it can wield. It can become a scaple or a hand grenade, a flame thrower or a healing balm. To present one’s position without conviction is akin to keeping silent on the position. You have admirably demonstrated conviction. But in any pursuit of knowledge there are multiple caveats. We are all susceptible to holding strong opinions that can appear as prejudicial, exclusive, aloof, superior, or even condescending to others. I for one, would like to hear more from you that reveals the vast storehouse of data you appear to possess. I would hope that your emphasis would reveal genuine shortcomings in others perspectives but in such a way that it does not convey arrogant disdain for their opinions. Your opinions, whether right or wrong, can fail to gain the respect they might deserve because you verbally shoot the reader/responder instead of exposing the erroneous idea. I want to anticipate hearing more of your thinking that will precipitate deeper thought and analysis on my part without the feeling that you also desire to execute the people who participate. I respectfully submit this for your consideration.

    • There are plenty of more intelectually savvy people than me who are better at educating Evangelical idiots unfortunate inculcated folk like PRFaust
      For what it’s worth, I am unaware of any Indoctrinated Fundamentalist whoever ditched their faith on the say so of an uppity atheist.

      Those that do Leave the Dark Side generally exercise their own intellect without any atheist intervention.
      They really read the bible, for one thing.

      Many deconvertees began to realise that it was impossible to square away the notion of a loving Personal god with the egotistical meglomaniacal genocidal deity featured in the Old Testament, who, as we all know, becomes meek and mild Jesus of Nazareth in his next incarnation.

      Even the Divine Command Theory so often touted by William Lane Craig, bless him, won’t cut it with normal people.
      And once such major questions are asked it is usually only a matter of time before the average Christian puts on his walking boots and crosses into the light.

      I just get teed off with the intransigence SOB’s like PRFaust who are adamant they will proselytize to kids.

      That’s fighting talk and we take no prisoners.

      😉

  30. Nope – walked through the archeological site and actually stood in and touched the remains of the synagogue of Nazareth where many historians believe Luke 4:16-30 took place.

    Er….what synagogue and what historians?

    • Dr. Howard I. Marshall, Dr. Craig Bomberg, Dr. William Klein, Dr. Ekleberger, Dr. Wenig, Dr. Bougher, Dr. David Carrie, Dr. Darrell Bock, Dr. Ray Vanderlay, Dr. Stephen Meyer, Dr. Stephen Pfanne, Ross Joseph Voss, Dr. H. Bernath Dr. R. Frankel Dr. Y. Hirschfeld Dr. A. Killabrew Dr. E Levine Dr. E. Myers Dr. E. Netzer Dr. J. Strange Dr. V Tsefaris Dr. K. Bailey Mr. Yeshua Drey Dr. Etan Ayalon

      • I am so relieved to see you included Pfann. Smile. This is the same chappie that is quoted as saying that the place was a 35 family farm over 2.5 hectares,if memory serves? Again, with no evidence to substantiate this statement.
        He also stated until the discovery of the ”house during the time of Jesus” that they had no real evidence of Nazareth.

        That was a statement I am sure he wished he hadn’t uttered.

        This article appeared on an IAA press release….and quickly disappeared.

        To conclude, while I have no doubt you most definitively believe you were standing on the same ground your man god was supposed to have wandered on, not a single piece of verifiable or peer reviewed archaeological evidence has ever been produced to substantiate a single Christian claim that there was a ”City” of Nazareth at the turn of the first century.
        What was there before had been completely destroyed by the Assyrians.
        What has been found..the graves, wine press etc are all surface finds.

        Archaeological evidence has confirmed that the area began to be repopulated toward the end of the 1st century beginning 2nd and later.
        Bagatti found nothing to support the description in Luke and no other archaeologist has either.
        Period.

        It is also worth considering that Eusebius, who was Bishop off Caeseria and lived metaphorically just up the road ( less than a days ride in a donkey) never visited the place.
        If I knew the place where my hero lived,let a,one the Creator of the Universe, was just up the road you can bet your backside I would visit every opportunity I got.
        Wouldn’t you?.
        In fact no mention of it is made until Helen began finding stuff…

        Obviously such characters were a dime a dozen in Eusebius day which is why he never bothered to visit…

        Yeah, right!

        Find me an independent peer-reviewed archaeological report that states your synagogue is the one mentioned in Luke and I’ll be in church this Sunday…

      • Are you serious? Here’s your list:

        Dr. Stephen Meyer…. WOW! An Intelligent Design philosopher!!!
        Dr. H. Bernath… a chiropractor
        Ross Joseph Voss… i see the word “archaeologist” but no reference anywhere to tenure at any university at any time.
        Dr. R. Frankel is a medical doctor.
        Dr. Y. Hirschfeld… No mention of him anywhere
        Dr. A. Killabrew… No mention of him anywhere.
        Dr. E Levine… a medical surgeon.
        Dr. E. Myers… also a medical doctor.
        Dr. E. Netzer… an architect and amateur archaeologist.
        Dr. J. Strange…. is a Dentist!
        Dr. V Tsefaris…. might be an archaeologist, but i can’t find him holding tenure at any university anywhere in the world at any time.
        Dr. K. Bailey… is a linguist.
        Mr. Yeshua Drey… ??? Did he make the sandwiches?
        Dr. Etan Ayalon… finally! A real archaeologist!!
        Dr. Howard I. Marshall… an evangelical New Testament scholar.
        Dr. Craig Bomberg…. is a medical doctor.
        Dr. William Klein…. is an animal dermatologist!
        Dr. Ekleberger… no mention of him anywhere.
        Dr. Wenig… a pathologist!
        Dr. Bougher… can’t find one associated with anything archaeological.
        Dr. David Carrie… the Psychologist, or the dentist?
        Dr. Darrell Bock… an evangelical Christian “scholar.”
        Dr. Ray Vanderlay… No mention of him anywhere.

        Heads up, PR, appeals to authority look pretty pathetic when they fall so flat. The simple fact is, Nazareth (the valley area, that is) was abandoned in the 6th century BCE, and the modern town only settled in the late 2nd Century CE.

      • You looked stuff up on the internet, good. You know that there are multiple doctors with similar names and so when you say a chiropractor, that isn’t the same guy.

        I continue:

        Dr. Leon Morris
        Dr. D.A. Carson
        Dr. Walter W. Wessel
        Dr. Walter L. Liefeld
        Dr. Joel B. Green
        Dr. Robert A. Guelich
        Dr. William L. Lane
        Dr. Donal A. Hagner
        Dr. Merrill C. Tenney
        Dr. Rodney Stark
        Dr. Michael Green
        Pope Benedict XVI
        Alfred Edersheim

        • Pope Benedict XVI? B’wahahaha! Yes, he is a famous archaeologist and has led many digs 🙂

          Listen, you can delude yourself all you like. Facts, though, are facts, and no amount of evangelical christian “scholarship” performed by dentists and MD’s is going to change those facts.

      • “YES, THE HISOTRICAL JESUS OF NAZARETH DID EXIST. Known as a master explainer with deep knowledge of the field, Ehrman methodically demolishes both the scholarly and popular ‘mythicist’ arguments against the existence of Jesus. Marshaling evidence from within the Bible and the wider historical record of the ancient world, Ehrman tackles the key issues that surround the mythologies associated with Jesus and the early Christian movement. Throughout ‘Did Jesus Exist?’ Ehrman establishes the criterion for any genuine historical investigation and provides a robust defense of the methods required to discover the Jesus of history.” – quote concerning Bart D. Ehrman’s book, “Did Jesus Exist The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth” – author of New York Times bestseller “Misquoting Jesus”

    • How does Rene Salm and Mythicist theories on Nazareth square with the following? (quote from “Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth” by Bart D. Ehrman, author of “Misquoting Jesus”)

      “Many compelling pieces of archeological evidence indicate that in fact Nazareth did exist in Jesus’s day… For one thing, archeologists who did the excavation (remember that he himself [Rene Salm] is not an archeologist but bases his views on what the real archeologists – all of whom disagree with him – say). For one thing, when archeologist Yardena Alexandre indicated that 165 coins were found in this excavation, she specified in the report that some of them were late, from the fourteenth or fifteenth century. This suits Salm’s purposes just fine. But as it turns out, among the coins were some that date to the Hellenistic, Hasmonean, and early Roman period, that is, the days of Jesus. Salm objected that this was not stated in Alexandre’s report, but Alexandre has verbally confirmed that in fact it is the case: there were coins in the collection that date to the time prior to the Jewish uprising.”

      “Salm also claims that the pottery found on the site that is dated to the time of Jesus is not really from this period, even though he is not an expert on pottery. Two archeologists who reply to Salm’s protestations say the following: ‘Salm’s personal evaluation of the pottery…reveals his lack of expertise in the area as well as his lack of serious research in the sources.’ They go on to state, ‘By ignoring or dismissing solid ceramics, numistic [coins], and literary evidence for Nazareth’s existence during the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman period, it would appear that the analysis which Rene Salm includes in his review, and his recent book must, in itself, be relegated to the realm of ‘myth.'”

      “Another archeologist who specializes in Galilee, Ken Dark, the director of the Nazareth Archeological Project, gave a thoroughly negative review of Salm’s book, noting, among other things, that ‘there is no hint that Salm has qualifications – nor any fieldwork experience – in archeology.’ Dark shows that Salm has misunderstood both the hydrology (how the water systems worked) and the topography (the layout) of Nazareth and points out that the town could well have been located on the hill slopes, just as other nearby towns were, such as Khirbet Kana. His concluding remarks are damning: ‘To conclude: despite initial appearances this is not a well-informed study and ignores much evidence and important published work of direct relevance. The basic premise is faulty, and Salm’s reasoning is often weak and shaped by his preconceptions. Overall, his central argument is archeologically unsupportable.'”

      “But there is more. As it turns out, another discovery was made in ancient Nazareth a year after Salm’s book appeared. It is a house that dates to the days of Jesus. The discovery was reported by the Associated Press on December 21, 2009. I have personally written the principle archeologist, Yardena Alexandre, the excavations director at the Israel Antiquity Authority, and she has confirmed the report. The house is located on the hill slopes. Pottery shards connected to the house ranged from roughly 100 BCE to 100 CE (that is, the days of Jesus). There is nothing in the house to suggest that the people inhabiting it over this time had any wealth: there are no glass items or imported products. The vessels are made of clay and chalk.”

      “The AP story concludes that ‘the dwelling and older discoveries of nearby tombs in burial caves suggest Nazareth was an out-of the-way hamlet of around 50 houses on a patch of about four acres…populated by Jews of modest means.’ No wonder this place was never mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, Josephus, or the Talmud. It was far too small, poor, and insignificant. Most people had never heard of it, and those who had heard didn’t care. Even though it existed, this is not the place someone would make up as the hometown of the messiah. Jesus really came from there, as attested in multiple sources.” – Bart D. Ehrman, “Did Jesus Exist?” – 194-197.

      • Smile..you love to quote mine do you not?
        And the house ?
        Well, well, well. Now I am flabbergasted.
        Gobsmacked, to use the vernacular.
        Wow…I had never heard about this house. Really.. amazing.
        And they release details days before Christmas. Good public relations, I’d say.
        And who funded the dig?
        And what did Stephen Pfan say after they uncovered this building
        And what happened to it afterwards?

        Really PF…

        And after dear Bart published HIS book the dating of the house was later put at….

        Oh, to hell with it…You are not the type of person that is interested in truth as you believe a man walked on water.

        You truly are a silly person.

  31. This is a very tough issue and I’ve shared your article with friends on Facebook. The reactions are as expected but my hope is that IF THEY READ your article they will gain some perspective. We shall see – thanks for taking an honest stand.

    • I agree that it is a tough issue. Because it is personal, and that is the place where we are the most called to offers concrete acts of sacrifice, mercy, and love. And that is why I said that I would not go to a gay wedding- but with a “,” not a “!” at the end of the statement.

  32. Kudos to those who have dealt so graciously with “several” who have consistently attacked them personally for their views. It’s a super hard skill to learn and apply and you have done it in exemplary fashion. You truly live the words of Christ!

    Thanks for the model!

  33. There are two different sites I was referring to (one in Nazareth and the other in Capernaum).

    My mention of the PhDs — they are archeologists, historians, and Theologians who all confirm the existence of Nazareth in the first century during the time of Jesus (as seen by a quote above). Not all confirm the synagogue in Nazareth to be first century. But they all confirm there is a synagogue and there is an archeological dig next to the Greek Catholic Church in efforts to confirm the date of the synagogue. Part of the trouble of archeological digs in Nazareth is a modern city is built on top. So archeological digs are usually started by accident (i.e., when a road needs to be re-done and low and behold an archeological building is discovered and archeologist are called in).

    The other site is in Capernaum. The synagogue on top is 3rd century, but the synagogue remains that are below confirm to be first century.

    I’ve tried to post my pictures but this website won’t allow it.

    • Are you fishing for evidence on the article written by Holden by chance?

      So, your evidence for a 1st century synagogue as described by the writer of Luke amounts to….

      …and a third-century A.D. Jewish synagogue which was probably built over the top of an earlier synagogue that was familiar to Jesus.

      Probably? Really?

      You Christians…honestly. While youy don’t appear to tell Porkie Pies ( because that would be a sin, right?)
      you can twist the evidence so’s it sometimes becomes a wormhole.

      The facts are …simple. There is no corroborating evidence for the claims you or the bible, in relation to our discussion , are making.

      Capish?

      End of Story.

Comments are closed.