Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – 7 responses to common Christian nonsense

I stole this list from Bruce Gerenscer, a wonderful atheist who used to be an evangelical pastor.  Do read his blog.  I added my usual short and sweet responses.  Nothing new, but if you want to cut and past them, you are more than welcome.  Most can be used for any type of theist.

  1. I’ll Pray for You

“Oh that’s nice.  So, what are you praying for? I do need to know so I can give you reports on how well you are doing. ”

If they own up to what they are praying for:  “Hmmm, okay, so how long should that take?   And if nothing happens, what can I put you down for as why:  your god doesn’t consider you a Christian and thus won’t answer your prayers as it promises; your god loves an honest atheist and is fine with me; your god doesn’t exist?”

  1. Have You Ever Heard the Gospel?

“Why yes, I used to be a Christian and I’ve read the bible in its entirety as a Christian and as not. Now, do tell me what your magic decoder ring is that tells you what is to be taken literally and what is to be claimed as metaphor or simply ignored since it is inconvenient and how do you know that it is better than the magic decoder ring that your fellow Christians have?”

3. God Laid You on My Heart

“God did what to you?   Oh, you’re claiming that your god told you to bother me.  Nah, that’s just you needing external validation and you think I’d be a prize to be won to make yourself feel better.”

  1. God is Trying to Get Your Attention

“What, with you?  You’re the best representative this god has? Such a shame.  How about if this god pays attention to those dying of hunger, who suffer from amputations, etc.  He can help them.  I don’t need it.  But it’s easier for you to lie and claim your god is interested in me rather than it doing something.  Oh and claiming that misery is this god’s actions to force people to worship it?  I sure as fuck won’t worship some vicious asshole like that.” 

  1. You’ll Go to Hell if You Don’t Accept Jesus

“Umm, which hell?  Christians don’t’ agree on what it is or even if it exists.  Your sadistic fantasies don’t bother me. Oh, it isn’t *your* fantasies, it’s just what this god needs?  Nice “I am only following orders” excuse, my dear.”

  1. I Know the Holy Spirit is Speaking to You

“Really?  What is it saying?  I do know that Christians all claim that the ol’ HS is speaking to them, but funny how it always give everyone a different message.”

  1. Do You Want Your Children or Grandchildren to Grow Up Without Knowing God and Having No Morals?

“Yup, I do, if they are your morals.  Sorry, dear, I don’t react well to attempts at engendering fear for someone’s imaginary friend.  Pity that Christians can’t agree on what morals their god wants.  You just get back to me when you can do what the bible promises every baptized believer in Christ as personal savior can do.

addendum:  always curious when Christians like e.g. “to feel attraction toward or take pleasure in; enjoy” my posts.

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 4

Part Four – The Prophetic Fingerprint

Well, happily this is the last of the “Case for Christmas” videos.

Here’s email’s spin:

“Some people believe the Old Testament doesn’t apply to those of us who follow Jesus. They think the ancient history, poetry, and prophecies are irrelevant to today’s modern culture. Yet, the Old Testament is the foundation on which we stand. 

Against all odds [the multiple Old Testament prophecies] were fulfilled only in Jesus… confirming His identity as the Messiah and the Son of God. ~ Lee Strobel 

Someone has said the probability of a person fulfilling every single Old Testament promise and prophecy about the Messiah is as likely as if the entire state of Texas was covered in quarters 12 inches deep with only one quarter painted red and a blindfolded child selected that quarter on the first attempt: a 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 chance! 

Jesus is the One! He’s the Lord! Whether we buy gifts or give our friends and family something homemade, whether we’re in the snow or sand, whether we’ve known him all our lives or we’ve only now put our faith in Jesus through this study, let’s praise him with joyful hearts this Christmas! He’s the Gift!”

No, no one has said that bit of nonsense Lee claims, unless we want to claim Lee himself.  Always fun to see a Christian inventing someone else to agree with him.  Hmmm, who else does that?  Ah yes, Donald J. Trump, the orange moron we have as president for about another month (unless he resigns so Pence can pardon him and his family).

That JC didn’t fulfill OT promises is notable since we still have Jews around who are quiet sure of it.  I do enjoy the Jews for Judaism website when it comes to seeing just how badly Christians make up nonsense.

Of course, Lee is one of those Christians who want the OT for their supposed prophecies but oh when it comes to following those laws that JC himself said were to be followed until the earth and heavens pass away, well, those laws are legibus non grata.

Lee starts with the claim that the OT “prophecies” only apply to this messiah of his, that they cannot apply to anyone else ever.

So, let’s start with his claims about Micah 5.

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth;  then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,  in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth;and he shall be the one of peace.” – Micah 5, NRSV

Other bibles break this set of verses up differently to get different meanings.  Lee uses the NIV, strangely enough, and that’ll drive the KJV-onlyists right over the edge.

Now, why Lee doesn’t include verse 5 is a mystery.  But looking at what we have, there is nothing to this that is unique and can apply to only one person.  We also know that JC never made anyone secure or was considered great to the ends of the earth or made peace. Christians had to invent a “second coming” to get this to work, something never mentioned in the OT, a messiah that had to come twice to get things right.  Finally, this passage has that the messiah is not God, showing that the claims of Christianity of this messiah being God doesn’t work.

Again, Lee tries to claim dozens of fulfilled prophecies, but they don’t exist and he doesn’t give examples.  What he does do is return to the false claims about verses in Isaiah about the supposed “virgin” birth.   Lee tries to argue that the prophecy was for someone else but was somehow *also* for his version of the messiah.  There is no reason to believe that this is the case, other than Lee needs a bit of verse to claim his god is special because of the virgin birth.  Lee offers a theory that the “first” go through for the prophecy was for some other Jewish leader, but claims that might not be right since that one wasn’t named “Immanuel”.

Funny how his messiah wasn’t called Immanuel either.

We end up in Isaiah 9, where Lee again tries the magic changing prophecy trick.  What we read there is:

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

For all of the promises here, the christian messiah fails in all of them.  The same thing happens in Isaiah 11 where the Christian messiah has nothing in common with the Jewish one “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might,the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,  and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.”

It may be pointing out a messiah, but JC fails in being that messiah.

Lee also tries to argue that since almah means young woman, then it has to mean virgin since all young women were assumed to be virgins.  However, the verse makes no remark about how strange it would indeed be to have a virgin birth.   We also have the problem of Lee’s claim that betulah can mean widow, when that isn’t exactly true.  Folks who speak Hebrew can be assumed to know their language better than Lee or Glenn Miller, an apologist who presupposes that the popular mixed version of the Christmas story is true and does his best to make the bible fit.  Here they explain the issues with betulah and almah:  Jews for Judaism | Chapter 18f – THE VIRGIN MISCONCEPTION MYTH

Now, Lee tries to reference a medieval rabbi who notes that some people consider the verse from Isaiah about the young women thought it was meant to be a virgin

This is what the rabbi wrote:

“the Lord, of His own, shall give you a sign: He will give you a sign by Himself, against Your will.  

is with child: This is actually the future, as we find concerning Manoah’s wife, that the angel said to her (Judges 13:3): “And you shall conceive and bear a son,” and it is written, “Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son.”        

the young woman: My wife will conceive this year. This was the fourth year of Ahaz.      

and she shall call his name: Divine inspiration will rest upon her.   

Immanuel: [lit. God is with us. That is] to say that our Rock shall be with us, and this is the sign, for she is a young girl, and she never prophesied, yet in this instance, Divine inspiration shall rest upon her. This is what is stated below (8:3): “And I was intimate with the prophetess, etc.,” and we do not find a prophet’s wife called a prophetess unless she prophesied. Some interpret this as being said about Hezekiah, but it is impossible, because, when you count his years, you find that Hezekiah was born nine years before his father’s reign. And some interpret that this is the sign, that she was a young girl and incapable of giving birth.”

This is all he says.  Two differing opinions on what this “really” means.  If this fellow is the end all and be all of Jewish interpretation like Lee claims, then why believe the part that he mentions in passing as evidently wrong?

Lee does try to get around the problem of JC never once being called Immanuel, and saying that bible names can be symbolic.  Yep, they can be.  But Lee just wants to claim that since people want to pretend that this god is with them, then that’s why no one ever called Joshua ben Joseph Immanuel but it’s okay.  Problem is that Lee’s millions of people never ever call JC Immanuel either.

Unlike what Lee says, this supposed messiah didn’t fulfill prophecies and most certainly not all before the destruction of the second temple.  That’s why we have the “second coming” nonsense.  The psalms never “predicted” the nailing of cruxifiction, but the bites of animals.  Unsurprisingly, Rabbi Reshi, so important to Lee before, is now ignored when he doesn’t agree with Lee.  The rabbi wrote this

like a lion, my hands and feet: As though they are crushed in a lion’s mouth, and so did Hezekiah say (in Isa. 38: 13): “like a lion, so it would break all my bones.”

We finally seem to be ended up at Isaiah 53 and Lee does try to pretend it describes his messiah.  But we have problems:

“He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.”

however, JC is claimed to have been followed by crowds who lauded him.

“Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.”

When was JC ever sick and considered struck down by this god?

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,  and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” 

Per John and Mark, JC is quite chatty.

Yes, there are similarities and that’s what you get when making a story based on what you want to claim is prophecy.  It’s just a shame that they didn’t do a very good job of it.

Claims of mathematics and probability are invoked by Lee and they are meaningless since one can’t show that what he claims are prophecies or that they were somehow fulfilled JC.  Probability doesn’t work with presuppositions that magic happens.  There is nothing that shows that trillions (lee uses the term trillion 13 times, which seems to end up being something like 1156 if I’m using my scientific calculator right or maybe just 13 trillion) which isn’t what he claims earlier, a quintillion.  Lee then simply lies and claims that “scientists” have said that things “ain’t gonna happen”.  Nope, scientists would say, it is very unlikely for it to happen.  And since we have no evidence for it happening, that’s the only time when you can say “It didn’t happen.”

Jesus didn’t maneuver his life to fulfill prophecies.  There was no Jesus, son of god nor were there any prophecies he fulfilled.  There was no “rejection” of sacrifices for the years after JC, since no one can agree on when that was.  Listening to a Messianic Jew, aka a Christian isn’t the best place to get information, especially when they can’t say what these three “signs” were or where in the Talmud to look for this information.

Lee ends with the claim that Jewish people have become Christians so that should be evidence that his nonsense is correct.  He, in his appeal to popularity, forgets that many more haven’t.

There is indeed something to take away from Lee’s videos.  Christianity is based on nonsense, cherry picking and ignorance.  The promise that everyone would kneel at the mere mention of JC’s name is just one more failure of the bible.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

 

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″

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.