Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – you’d think conservative Christians would know better than to lie

A common false claim by many Christians has to do with Darwin and evolutionary theory.  They want to so desperately conflate Social Darwinism with evolutionary theory, in order to try to scare people from accepting evolutionary theory and realizing that the bible is nothing different from any other silly set of myths.

I found this blog post, by “Brother Murf”, and it is one of the more extreme of its kind, with more false nonsense.  I confronted him with his nonsense and he doubled down “Darwinian was the impetus of his actions. Once set in motion, atheists are the gods of their own world. He was going to become a priest when he read THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES…

I responded “Always good to see that some theists have no problem lying and bearing false witness, ignoring their bible as convenient for them. Stalin was a megalomaniac this is why he did what he did. He misused Darwin’s ideas. But nice try to lie about what atheism leads to. If Stalin had become a priest, he would have done the same with the bible.”

Now, we get into the fun parts.   He responded below.  I did a nice bit of research to show him that he is wrong.  I hated to waste that so here it is. Just the bits by dear Louisa McCord are worth it.  She was quite a piece of work.

“Not lying, my friend. The facts of history speak for themselves. Nor have I ignored the bible as you said. In this we agree, Stalin was a megalomaniac and it is highly probable that he would have done the same thing with the bible…perhaps, dare I go so far to posit, he may have even set in motion a new Inquisition? There was no misuse of Darwin’s ideas, he directly used their intended purpose. Most people fail to remember the full title of the book: “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” He never actually touched on the “origin of species” and his theory was failing at best. Everything, without a moral lawgiver, became relative to the person. Man could speed up the natural selection process by killing off the “unfavoured races”…No, there was no misuse of that theory, as it was a partial impetus for the Civil War here in the United States to preserve the white mans favored status, it was the impetus for Hitler’s war against the Jews, Pol Pot’s killing of his own people, Mao Tse Tung’s killing of his own people…ahhhh, the list could go on, but I won’t because you have it all figured out…Godspeed to you.”

So, which is it, Murf?  “Stalin killed millions because he believed Darwin’s philosophy”  or “Stalin was a megalomaniac and it is highly probable that he would have done the same thing with the bible”. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – you’d think conservative Christians would know better than to lie”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique Part 3

Part Three – “A Mind-Boggling Proposition”  yeah, it’s really called that.

So, in addition to the latest bit of nonsense from Lee Strobel about Christmas, I also got an email from another shilling preacher from biblegateway.com about the Jews.   Now, I find Jewish belief just as ridiculous as Christian or any other belief but the desperation of Christians to convert them is rather pathetic.  This fellow, Jonathan Bernis, President and CEO, Jewish Voice Ministries International says “You can help share the Gospel with Jewish people who have yet to hear about their Savior.

As followers of Jesus and Bible believers, our faith is deeply connected to Israel and the Jewish people. And as we enter into the Last Days, it’s more important than ever to stand with Israel and help the Jewish people find their promised Messiah.”

Well, the Jews are quite certain JC isn’t their messiah because they didn’t need to make up a repeat performance to make him fit their prophecies.  Christians are only concerned for the Jews to keep existing for at least a little longer, since their magical end times won’t happen without the slaughter of the Jews.  It’s always a bit hypocritical when you claim you are wanting to “Provide medical assistance to Jewish people and their neighbors” when all you really want to so is make sure that they are in place do die when you want them to.  When you praise a pandemic because it’ll make people run to you, that shows you are a sick person: “This pandemic is prompting Jewish people to search for meaning as never before. In fact, when Israel begins to open back up, we anticipate Israelis will be more open to hearing about the love and hope of our Messiah.” 

Okay, now back to the Christmas silliness.  This is the intro:

“Welcome to week three of The Case for Christmas Online Bible Study with Lee Strobel.

The Lord is the best giver of all. He delights in blessing his children because he’s a good father (Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13).

His best gift of all was, of course, Jesus! Who but God himself would have thought of sending the Messiah through a virgin teenager living in a backwater town? Imagine how much trust in God it must have taken for Isaiah to prophesy that out loud (Isaiah 7:14)!

This week, investigative journalist Lee Strobel asks, “Is the virgin birth consistent with reality?” And he explains why it’s so important that Jesus came to us through a virgin.

At the center of Christmas is the fact that this isn’t just an ordinary birth. This was a supernatural occurrence unlike any other birth in history and it’s embedded in our historic statements of faith. ~ Lee Strobel

Given God’s outrageous penchant for creativity in gift-giving, why wouldn’t he do something so extravagant in introducing his Son into the world?

If a God exists who is big enough to create the universe in all its complexity and vastness, why should a mere miracle be such a mental stretch? ~ Tim Keller

In today’s lesson, consider how an unsparing, bountiful, completely openhanded God loves to wow us!”

Now, if you’ve read the bible, the claims here seem to have a bit of a reek to them.  A god that has to show off.  How human.  I’ve been chatting with some Christians and Muslims this week on youtube and they have been telling me how dare I question the existence of their god, I, a speck of dust asking this god to prove itself to me.  So, this god has to show off to a speck of dust?

So, before I get into what Lee says, “creative gift giving” is a little strange to say about this god.  It gives “gifts” which are answered prayers, but they often require people to die in droves.  If this god gives you a win in a battle, he’ll accept your daughter given as a human sacrifice.  If this god gives you freedom per Exodus, this god supposedly kills thousands if not millions of people who couldn’t do anything about their pharaoh who was controlled by this god so it could show off. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique Part 3″

What the Boss Likes: Snow!

Well, here I am waiting for the big storm that is supposed to descend upon us on Wednesday.   We’re supposed to get between 12″ and 30″ of snow,  30.5 to 76 cm for my friends out in the world that use a sensible measuring system.

So, I’ve laid in things to cook with.  Hmmm, pierogis?   Chinese dumplings?   Some kind of cookie definitely.

Now, everyone in Pennsylvania, no matter if they are getting 2″ or 30″ will be madly getting eggs, milk and bread.  Does that happen in other states/countries?

 

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique part 2

Part Two – Beneath the Fake News

So, here we have week two of the “case for Christmas” and unsurprisingly, we have a conservative Christian using Bumbling Idiot Donnie’s favorite lie.

Per Lee, Christmas has been “victimized” by fake news.  Amazing how a supposedly omnipotent character just can’t do a thing about us puny humans, like keep its story straight.

The claim here is that the similarities of the supposed birth of Jesus by a virgin, into stressful circumstances, like so many other divine heroes aren’t similarities at all.  This is the one “real” time that this happened, and just ignore that many other cultures and religions made similar claims.  This is what Strobel wants everyone to believe.

He starts with some quotes by Thomas Jefferson, etc that state that the myths of Christianity will be considered equivalent to the myths of Rome and Greece in the future.  Then we get a review of Mithraism, that there was a man/god born on December 25, of a virgin who was in a cave.  This man/god was then sacrificed.  Now, as Lee notes, this isn’t quite the right story, and that some things have apparently been added, like the virgin in a cave.  Mithras is claimed to have emerged from rock full grown.   However, one can see that emerge from rock and having supposedly been born in a cave and emerging from it could be construed to mean the same thing, at least in metaphor. However, I agree, the Mithras connection seems to be a little far-fetched.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t virgin birth stories of heroes that do stand up to looking at them as precursors of the invented nativity story.  Indeed there is one in the book, 2 Enoch,  that has the miraculous virgin birth of Melchizedek, a high priest.  This character is mentioned in the Letter to the Hebrews where Jesus Christ is compared to him.   So we can establish a reason why the virgin birth was inserted into the story.   We also have a story that Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroasterianism, was  born of a virgin who was hit with a shaft of light. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique part 2″

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – ooops, they said the quiet part out loud

I ran across this post today “There are consequences for evangelists’ blind support of Donald Trump. Here’s what to expect in a post-Trump America.”   I captured it on a There are consequences for evangelists as a word doc since I’m suspecting that the Christians might take it down.   One might think it is a spoof but I think it is real.

Now it goes on to list how horrible it will be.   But first it says this:

“Christians are now seen as far-right supporters of fascism and blatant racism. This is not what we are of course, but it is how *others* now see us. This mistaken characterization will drive many away from Christianity.”  

Now, look at what these ever-so NOT “far-right supporters of fascism and blatant racism” are terrified of.  This isn’t the whole list just some of the juicy bits.  :

“Federal money will only be distributed to public schools. If money is distributed to private schools, they will be forced to adhere to federal education curriculum and mandates. Secular standards of education would become a requirement.”

aka they won’t be able to lie to children

“Most people accept vaccinations as valid science but do appreciate the choice of whether to be vaccinated or not. That will end. The federal government will likely incentivize states to increase their vaccination rates by repealing all nonmedical exemptions to mandatory vaccinations for children.”

aka they wont’ be able to be selfish idiots when it comes to public safety.

“Faith-based government-funded contractors that provide adoption and foster care services will likely lose all government funding. This has been a sore point for atheists for a long time. We can expect a heavy push to secularize child services.”

aka they will be prevented from only allowing Christians that they agree with to adopt.

“No longer will religious displays on government property be allowed. The Memorandum on Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty will be replaced – likely by something much more restrictive.”

aka they won’t be able to force their religion on others

“The church’s non-profit status will be examined under a microscope and the filing of Form 990 will be required for all houses of worship.”

aka They won’t be able to lie any more about finances.

“Christian support of Donald Trump has angered many. One very effective means to combat Christianity is to change how the nation’s history is portrayed. There will be a push to change the history of the USA from a nation formed to protect religious freedom to once created purely as a secular nation. This has already been proposed by the Christian opposition.”

aka they won’t be able to lie about American history or racism

“The Department of Education could be instructed to limit religious expression in schools. Under the guise of protecting a “increasingly diverse student body”, prayer inside school walls could be much more limited than it is today.”

aka they are terrified of people who are different than them e.g. bigots and racists

“Kneeling during the national anthem or refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance will be reframed as a noble act of peaceful protest. The value and symbolism of the American flag could also be purposely diminished to allow its use in protests (e.g. flag burning).”

aka they won’t be able to force their religion on others and limit others’ free speech ignoring the US Constitution

“Christians know this is coming. It could now arrive sooner than we thought. The religious opposition has already requested changes to what is considered “politically correct” verbiage, removing “nonbelievers” from the vernacular and using phrases such as “secular Americans” and “all faiths and none”.”

aka they won’t be able to force their religion on everyone or have their Christian privilege.

“The word “faith” is used often in government programs and initiatives. Atheists despise the word and prefer words like “conscience” or “interfaith” which dilutes the meaning and attempts to transform the word from a measure of religious belief to a measurement of morality.”

aka they won’t be able to force their religion on others

“This is another sore point for atheists. We will likely see a push to change to national motto from “In God We Trust” to “E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one”.”

aka they will have to admit that other people are equal to them.

So, gee, they are exactly as they are seen “Christians are now seen as far-right supporters of fascism and blatant racism.”

Nice that the author admits that they “Rather than characterizing Christians by their love for others, we are now characterized by our hatred of liberals or our penchant for parades.”  aren’t quite the loving people they claim.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique Part 1

Part One – Setting the Record Straight

Well, Lee has quite a challenge here since the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, and therefore Christmas, is certainly quite a mess.  We have two gospels that just ignore it, two that have the details everyone knows but are contradictory and Paul who has seems to have no idea what the gospels said about JC, except for a few bits about resurrection.

Lee says he thought he’d find that the claims about the nativity were going to be “flimsy”. Well, if the following isn’t flimsy, I’d hate to see what he would consider that.

The first claim is that his sources are too “immediate” to be considered legend.  He also claims that “legends” can have “contaminated” the “actual account of what really took place.”  So, which is it?  Add to this that the bible is supposedly inspired/written by a perfect omnipotent, omniscient being, and it doesn’t look too good for its validity.

First on the block of not being “quite right” is the manger scene.  Lee claims that it would be “unthinkable” for anyone to turn away a “pregnant Jewish woman seeking shelter.”  Nothing seems to support that at all, despite the claim of a “scholar”(Kenneth Bailey, a ThD whose entire experience relevant to this seems to be being a missionary in Egypt) saying it.  He also claims that the “inn” wasn’t part of the story, but again, nothing to show this in the bible which is ostensibly from a perfect being.  Is it lying or is Lee?  Rewriting the denial of shelter denies a bit of theology that insists that how martyred Christians are.  Lee also goes on to claim that there is a special word for “inn” in Greek rather than “kataluma” which is used in the NT to describe a rentable or guest room.  He never says what that other word is.  We also have Lee saying that a translation of the bible nearly 1400 years later goes from “guest room” to “inn”.   Amazing how mangled this perfect god allows its one and only set of words to humans to get.

Lee also tries to claim that somehow Jews and people in the middle east would allow their farm animals into the living area.  Noting how paranoid these people are about being ritually clean, it’s hard to imagine that would be allowed, to the point of having a manger in the living room from the animals to eat from?   I grew up on a dairy farm and often found myself in the milking parlor where the cows would poop whenever they wanted to and sometimes to ah, “explosive”, results.  I also mucked out the area were they lived, especially during the winter.

Lee also claims that the Protoevangelion of James is the source of Mary being really really pregnant and that it is mostly legendary.  One wonders which parts Lee considers true, Mary being fed by angels?  Mary’s hymen being examined?   It’s no less or more silly than the other versions of the story.  (now, if you want a really bizarre one, try the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, written around the same time. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” critique Part 1″

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – “A Case for Christmas” – preview of a critique

Being completely bored, I signed up for Bible Gateway’s shilling of Lee Strobel’s new book “The Case for Christmas”.  I figured this will at least give me something to do and give me a few posts for this blog.  The videos are free, but they really, really want you to buy the books.

Unsurprisingly, this is just a rehash of Strobel’s apologetics books “The Case for Christ”, “The Case for Miracles”, “The Case for Grace/Hope/Faith”  (three separate books), “The Case for a Creator”, etc.  All of these present the same claims and demonstrate that apologetics are not for those who have a question, but for those who are desperate to cling to their religion.  Apologetics are also for those writers who have nothing else and want to squeeze their faithful one more time for the same information.

So continue to read if you’d like.  If you’ve frequented my blog before, it’ll be some, if not entirely composed, of the same counter-apologetics aka facts you’ve seen before. An age ago I ran the local planetarium’s Christmas show, so I have some experience in the range of nonsense that can be offered.

“Even when he was an atheist, Lee Strobel enjoyed the Christmas season–the gift-giving, holiday parties, and being with friends and family. But after his wife became a Christian, Lee started to investigate the real meaning behind all those nativity scenes he had seen outside of churches. In this four-week study, Lee reveals what he discovered as he sought to separate the holiday from the holy day, the facts from the fantasy, and the truth from the tradition. In each session you will explore:

What the Bible actually says about Jesus’ birth and how you can know it is accurate

Whether the Christmas story actually happened or developed from the myths of the day

The Bible’s claim that Jesus was born of a virgin and why it is important to your faith

How Jesus–and only Jesus–fulfilled hundreds of biblical prophecies about the Messiah

The Case for Christmas will invite you to look beyond the familiar traditions of the season, challenge you to examine the evidence for yourself, and consider why Christmas really matters.”

I’m guessing a lot of Christians will be confused since they generally have no idea what is in the bible.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – as expected Christians who supported Trump now insist that they never did

As some of my readers might remember, I’ve clashed with John Branyan and his rather peculiar daughter Amanda before.

They were all for Trump, how great he was, how Amanda voted for him and how dare anyone point out how much he was a failure.  We can see that right here “On behalf of your friends and family who are sick of listening to you but are too polite to stop you, I’m offering 6 things you can do instead of nursing your irrational hatred for Donald Trump. You believe you’re doing a good thing when you “expose Trump’s vile behavior”. You’re wrong. We prefer Trump’s behavior to your endless bloviation…”  You can only see part of his nonsense now.  JB is hiding behind a “membership” wall on his blog.  How expected.

He also had lovely bits like this too:

“Vote by mail requires you to be stupid. To be clear, the people suggesting vote by mail are quite clever. They might even be geniuses. Vote by mail is a brilliant idea that will have an enormous impact on national elections. Only stupid people think that is a good thing.

Universal vote by mail was created strictly for the purpose of cheating.”

Always good to see that poor JB agreed with Trump….once upon a time

and now we get:

“My target audience for this article is Christians who boarded the “Trump Train” back in 2016 thinking it would take them to where America was great again.

Other people would start this article with, “I hate to say I told you so,” but it would be dishonest for me to do that. I LOVE to say, “I told you so.” Being right about things feels great!”

oh gosh, poor JB doesn’t quite figure out that his blog is a recorded media.

Now, how many quatloos you want to bet he’ll try to claim he was just “joking”?

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – yet one more TrueChristian(tm) offers a “challenge” to atheists and fails

So, we have a Christian, Andy Bannister, who wants to ask “Why are some atheists so afraid of changing their minds?”.  This is a video, and of course, the comments are turned off.  So much for being the “confident” Christians that Solas claims on their website, eh?

Unsurprisingly, the video starts off with the usual false claims about atheists, how rude we all are for not blindly accepting what the particular Christian says, that we all evidently can’t come up with anything ourselves but have to repeat what other atheists say (which begs the question “since we are all repeating someone else, who is actually the originator of these things?”), that we have bad grammar and spelling (oh do call the kettle black, pot), and of course trying to be insulting by equating atheist with idiot, in the ever-so clever “village atheist” comment.

We end up quickly in the claims somehow atheists are fearful and this is “why” atheists don’t engage with the “best” arguments for Christianity.  This isn’t a new claim, it is just the “sophisticated theology” bit of nonsense that many Christians trot out, that atheists only pick the low hanging fruit to address.  This excuse is, of course, dependent on the theist being willfully ignorant about how atheists have indeed addresses those “best” arguments too.  This video isn’t for atheists, it is for a Christian to reinforce the false beliefs of himself and other Christians.  Apologetics aren’t for atheists, they are for theists.

Unsurprisingly, Andy says that atheists should “properly” examine the claims of the Christian faith.  The term “properly” comes up often in apologetics and the definition that is used this context is “in an acceptable or suitable way” not “in an accurate or correct way”.  It is nothing more than a code word for agreeing with the theist and not questioning what they say, something that is “acceptable” to them.

Andy goes on to appeal to authority in the form of Alistair McGrath, who evidently must be correct because he has a degree.  This fellow, anglican priest at Oxford (who defines atheists as ” I became an atheist – somebody who deliberately and intentionally does not believe in God and thinks that anyone who does believe in God is mentally deficient or seriously screwed up.'”, supposedly received a letter from a student that who became a Christian after reading one of McGrath’s books and the “very best” Christian philosophers.  Of course, this student was an atheist, because that makes the story.  This atheist never ever read the “other side of the argument” but when he did, poof, he became a Christian.  This of course ignores reality since this doesn’t happen every time, and indeed, atheists often become atheists because they did read the holy book of Christianity and realized what nonsense it is and read other books to see that the bible didn’t reflect reality.  To see McGrath’s other use of failed apologetics, here is a video/transcript of an interview with him.  This is the “quality” of McGrath’s arguments:  “Number one, there are a very large number of scientists who are religious believers; and these are not stupid people at all. ”  Quite a pathetic start, an appeal to authority fallacy.  Here‘s a more thorough take down of McGrath’s arguments.  If he is one of the ‘best’, Christianity doesn’t have much to support  it.

Andy goes on to repeat the claim that atheists don’t address the “best” arguments for Christianity by recommending these “best” authors like Rebecca McLaughlin.  Now, Dr. McLaughlin is one of those with again degrees, beloved by Biologos and is an entirely awful apologist.  This is her on her ‘one minute apologetics.”  “The Jesus of the Gospels is either God in the flesh or a terrible imposter. There is no middle ground.”  That is really all she has, nothing different from Paul saying, yep, we believe becuase we gotta believe.  She wrote a book, Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion.  That’s one assumption right in the title, since we know that Christians don’t consider each other Christians by the millions.  Looking at the amazon preview of the book, we see the usual apologetics, that somehow Christianity has dibs on every good human action and is the only thing responsible for human rights, the claim that persecution makes Christianity true, that somehow atheists have no morality, etc.  In other words, the same false and baseless claims, nothing new or “sophisticated” here at all.

He also of course tries to claim that atheists don’t read these arguments with an open mind and accusing atheists of being cowards and not “serious”, to again try to claim that we aren’t being honest or brave or seriously considering the material.  He also insists that pointing out that a Christian is wrong is being “rude”, doing the typical appeal to politeness when he has nothing else.  Nothing like a Christian accusing someone of lying and having no evidence for it.

It is interesting that Andy never mentions what a single one of these “best” arguments are.  One would suspect that is because when one of the arguments is dismantled, he can insist that wasn’t one of the “best” ones and then run to the next, never taking responsibility for his claims.

Atheists aren’t afraid of changing our minds.  We have no reason to .