Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – that pesky free will

A fellow I’ve corresponded with on Facebook gave me a link to bible verses he claimed supported the idea of free will.  I’m bored, so I went through and looked at all of them.   My usual readers will recognize quite a bit of this, no reason to waste your time again.

Okay, let’s look at these verses that are claimed to support free will.   They may even do so, but then they contradict all of the verses that have this god interfering with human action, destroying free will.

I’ve added some of the context to some of these if appropriate.  One has to wonder about the Biblestudytools.com staff if they think all of these verses support the idea of free will.   They do list some of those verses that indicate predestination but not all.   In my opinion, one can get a far more comprehensive listing of verses by subject out at openbible.info

1 Corinthians 10:13

13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”

Nothing in this about free will.  It’s also a great verse to show how this bible lies when it says that this god won’t test people beyond their strength.  Christian suicides show this to be false.  Of course, Christians will always blame the victim to excuse their god.

Unsurprisingly, a little earlier in the chapter, in context, has Paul claiming that the Israelites were just examples made for Christians.  “Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. “  This destroys free will when someone was forced to do something for someone else’s benefit as part of a *plan*.  This matches what Paul states in Romans 9 that pots are used to be examples and to be destroyed.

2 Chronicles 9:7

Happy are your people! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom!”

Nothing in this about free will.  Servants are under control.  This is the queen of Sheba speaking to Solomon.  No evidence that Solomon ever existed or that this story is true.   The amounts of gold and other precious things are quite ridiculous (42 tons of gold? aka 666 talents), and funny how they all simply vanished.  For the world’s wisest man, the kingdoms in that area contributed nothing of note to the knowledge of the sciences.

Not doing so well so far. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – that pesky free will”

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″

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 – 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 .

What the Boss Likes – Some random photos

I was going through my photos on my phone and decided to put a handful up.

pumpkin pie
pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie that I made this weekend.  I’ve found I like the Joy of Cooking version the best, which uses heavy cream rather than the common American ones that use evaporated and/or condensed milk.

 

two cats
two of our cats

This is Mr. Athena (top) and Hera (bottom).  Mr. Athena (a male cat that we named before we could tell what sex the kittens were) is the kitten of Hera.  Hera had five kittens who grew to this size.  They are about twice as big as she is.

PA forest and creek
PA forest and creek

This is a pretty typical forest/creek in western PA.  It’s in a place called Mineral Springs, outside of Emlenton, PA.   There are many orange colored seeps in Western PA thanks to the coal, iron ore and sulfur in the area.  It is called Mineral Springs because of

Mineral Spring
Mineral Spring

This mineral rich spring.  You can see leaves and branches being coated with minerals.  They’ll probably be fossils someday. At one point, people could take the waters here for their health.

praying mantis
PA forest and creek

A praying mantis that came with a delivery of plants when I was working as a plant merchandiser.  She was having a good time eating.

hummingbird clearwing moth
hummingbird clearwing moth

You can see a hummingbird clearwing moth at the lower left.  He was hard to get a picture of since he was moving fast.  Those are butterfly bushes being visited.

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – oh look a Muslim creationist lies: Atheism succinctly refuted

a theist, muslim in this case, caught in a lie.
a theist, muslim in this case, caught in a lie.

oh look, a Muslim creationist lies.

It isn’t Ilya Prigogine lying, it is our friends over Blogging Theology.   Now, how did I know to question this false claim?  Well, Dr. Prigogine signed the Humanist Manifesto in 2003.  Rather unlikely that someone like this would be an authority that a theist would run to, right?  It stank of a lie.  

this is what the real quote is:

“The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.”Ilya Prigogine (Chemist-Physicist) Recipient of two Nobel Prizes in chemistry I. Prigogine, N. Gregair, A. Babbyabtz, Physics Today 25, pp. 23-28

The statement is misquoted and removed from context so as to inaccurately simplify and overstate the authors’ statement.

The exact phrase is (see also above):
The probability that at ordinary temperatures a macroscopic number of molecules is assembled to give rise to the highly ordered structures and to the coordinated functions characterizing living organisms is vanishingly small. The idea of spontaneous genesis of life in its present form is therefore highly improbable, even on the scale of the billions of years during which prebiotic evolution occurred…

Theists are often lazy and almost always making false claims. How pathetic when their holy books tell them not to lie. Poor Paul has failed to listen ““Lying is not permitted except in three cases: a man speaking to his wife to make her happy; lying in times of war; and lying in order to reconcile between people.””  and “

“O you who believe! Fear Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds).”(9:119)”

Tsk, lying just like a regular ol’ conservative Christian.  

What the Boss Likes – my interview about the event in Harrisburg

It’s on instagram  @keystonecalendar