The God Who Hides

Isaiah 64: 6-7
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
Yet no one calls on your name
or pleads with you for mercy.
Therefore, you have turned away from us
and turned us over to our sins.

One of the most perplexing things that ever happens to anyone is when God hides His face and becomes absent. The great theologian Karl Barth described how even a pastor or student of scripture can possess all manner of knowledge but still ‘lose the scent’ of God’s presence and the whole enterprise of studying God becomes empty and fruitless.The most precious thing that we have or lose is the presence of God Himself.

At the end of this chapter (64:11-12) Isaiah says:

The holy and beautiful Temple
where our ancestors praised you
has been burned down,
and all the things of beauty are destroyed.
After all this, Lord, must you still refuse to help us?
Will you continue to be silent and punish us?

God’s answer is in the following chapter (65:1):

The Lord says,
“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’
to a nation that did not call on my name.

It’s one thing to openly turn from God and pursue idols. But that’s not generally what we do today. We find more subtle ways to reject God.

I remember having conversations with a former missionary and Bible translator who had become disillusioned and angry and posted a 50 page diary of his descent into secularism on an atheist website. It was a heartbreaking experience. He was very, very bitter.

As we talked, I found that he was simply unable to see certain things, even though they were right in front of his face. In his own way he was experiencing what Isaiah writes about – the God who hides.

As I talked to him I became personally convinced that he was searching for his preconceived notions about what God should be, and he wasn’t open to changing those notions. Ironically, most of those notions had come from the church.

Are we worshiping our *idea* of God instead of God Himself? If we are, the real God may hide His face. Or we can turn to God with the knowledge and confession that our conceptions of Him are not the same as the real Him, and open our hands and our hearts to the sometimes jarring discoveries we make about Who He really is.

Perry Marshall

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    • Mary Blanc says:

      “…searching for [his] preconceived notions about what God should be, and [he] wasn’t open to changing those notions. Ironically, most of those notions had come from the church…”

      So many of our “preconceived notions” of GOD …
      ARE childlike images & explanations that were crafted as lessons for the early years of Sunday School …

      Lessons that …
      As we grow into Our Rebellious Years/Decades …
      We normally reject as being just so much–NUNSENSE–

      AND BECAUSE THE REJECTION of The Immature Ideas of GOD Often Occurs LONG BEFORE Mature Understandings&Insights Have Formed … A GAP … a.k.a. “The Crisis of Faith” or “The Agnostic/Atheist Phase” Is A Feature of Many
      –If NOT Most–
      Post-Modern Adult Christian’s Faith Formation.

      Like so many of GOD’S IRONIES …

      DEEP & TRUE FAITH PRACTICALLY REQUIRES A CRISIS of REJECTION IN ORDER TO … “HATCH” …

      WHEN WE REJECT OUR IMMATURE NOTIONS of GOD …
      And Decide To LIVE OUR LIFE WITHOUT THAT …
      List-Keeping, Good-Children-Rewarding&Bad-Child-Punishing …
      SANTA …

      And Start Living Life …
      Free As A Bird of All Those KILL-JOY RULES …
      And We’re … OUT THERE & DOIN’ IT “MY WAY”

      Sometimes …
      LIFE/DEATH or NearDeath …
      Comes along and …
      SMACKS Some REAL SENSE into US …
      And We FINALLY GROW UP Some …ahem…
      More Mature Understandings of GOD&ManKind …

      It’s How We’re Made …
      If We Are Taught Well In Childhood Then …
      We Will Recognize TRUTH When We Encounter IT* …

      …and not simply reject it out of hand …
      &/or think that it’s a “SIGN” that …
      We Must Be Going CRAZY & Are In Serious Need of Meds!!

      * IT = “Inconvenient Truth”

      Reply
      • Allen says:

        Hi Mary,

        Thank you for such a wonderful comment on this post. I agree wholeheartedly about the immature rebel and mature understanding. I faced this in my own life only a few months ago. Before Perry announced his spiritual series I was skeptical and angry and wanted answers that I simply couldn’t find. Ever since he came out with the series I’ve been reading and reading and reading. And I always found myself saying, “Wow. That makes sense.” or “Wow. I understand that now.”

        It has truly helped me understand why I am how I am and how to change certain things if I so choose. That freedom can sometimes seem like prison. Considering how few people even dig this deep. But knowing the Truth has helped me to weather many storms. Case in point. Two days ago I mistakenly placed my laptop in a puddle. Dropped it is more like it. When I went to turn it back on it literally fizzled and died. This laptop had all my video, audio, notes, and everything else a laptop would have after owning it for four years. But when it happened, I started laughing. Something that would’ve broken me only a few months ago is now so hilarious that I don’t even care. I’m gonna buy a new one tomorrow anyway. I’m growing and it’s showing.

        Thank you Perry for doing what you do. And thank you Mary for giving me something awesome to comment on today.

        Reply
        • Mary Blanc says:

          And Thank You–Allen–For Your Great “mistakenly placed (i.e., Dropped) my laptop in a puddle” story … I Can Relate !!

          Reply
    • Margaret Gill says:

      I was once given three very profound statements at a time when I felt very abandoned and the silence from spirit was deafening

      You are loved
      You are never alone
      Trust

      So now I just trust even when things are going pear shaped and it seems there is no way forward – I know the love is still there and eventually the path opens …. once out of the lesson I needed to learn and I can see the gift of why I needed to go through it. When I trust I always come out ten times better off when I come out the other side too. I often find the greatest love is often found in the darkest hours, but we like to share the good times too!

      Reply
    • Chuck Gritton says:

      Your post reminds me of a great book I’m reading called “The Hole in the Gospel”. It’s by the head of World Vision and it’s a very compelling read reminding us of what Jesus really called us to do with, for example, the Great Commission. It’s a reminder that God is found in obeying Him and that that sometimes takes us out of our comfort zone.

      Reply
    • Bernard Hall says:

      I can think of at least 4 stages in my life where I had to rethink my God-Concept. Each time was difficult to say the least. Yet each time offered a far broader and more liberating sense of who I was and my relationship with “him” and the universe. Yes, there were plenty of times when my spiritual life fell on fallow ground, but this was usually a precursor to a new awakening.

      Reply
    • Brian Owens says:

      This reminds me of a story I once heard. A lady who knew the Lord, but felt far from Him for some time comes into a pastor’s office, and starts telling him how God seems to be distant from her. That no matter how much she read her Bible, or prayed, the Lord would not let His presence be known. She was crying, and very upset over this, and desperately looking for an answer as to why the Lord seemed so far away.

      The pastor looks at her, and says…”Liar”.

      “WHAT? How can you look at me, crying, desperately wanting to hear from God, and say that I’m a liar?! What kind of pastor does that?”

      He replied, “James tells us that IF we draw near to God, He WILL draw near to us. You say you’ve been seeking Him, and that He refuses to draw near to you. I say let God be true and every man a liar.”

      She began weeping harder, and confessed that she hadn’t REALLY been seeking the Lord with all her heart. She was just going through the religious motions.

      This story always encourages me that God will be found, but only by those who seek Him with all their hearts. He does indeed hide Himself from the proud, and the half hearted, but only to cause a genuine desperation for Him that stirs in us a ravenous pursuit of His presence.

      Reply
    • Patrick says:

      I recall a missionary sister saying once something like: “God is near we are often fearful of simply turning around and recognising Him is case we might not like His challenges.”
      He may hide his face but He is always near.

      Reply
    • Matia Bryson says:

      My general observation is that God hides from those who first hide from him. It starts in small ways: being critical of others, neglecting prayers, neglecting scripture study, being overly enamored with material possessions and self-righteousness. Then when God’s presence is not as available as it was previously, God is blamed, and the person turns away even more.

      Reply
    • Shariyf Clark says:

      There was a Spanish Christian Mystic in the 1600’s named Miguel De Molinos who wrote about this particular experience extensively in his book called The Spiritual Guide.

      St. John of Cross also spoke of this condition. He called it the “dark night of the soul.”

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        St. John of the Cross is referenced heavily in Green’s book “Drinking from a dry well” which is provocative – and very appropriate to this convo.

        Reply
    • Luis Herrera says:

      Please, send me the free mini-course, “9 Great lies of sales & marketing”

      Thank you!

      Reply
    • Kenton Glick says:

      RIGHT ON.

      And I have to agree with Mary as well that our preconceived ideas are so often formed in Sunday School, where everyone in every picture is always smiling and happy – even the guards coming to take Jesus away to be scourged and die on a cross. Why do we allow sunday school to be a place that teaches such lies? The message of the cross is that love will triumph – but in the midst of real struggle and difficulty. Sunday School teaching sets up a crisis for teenagers who are old enough to begin to realize life is not a happy-go-lucky experience. People either leave the church or pretend the difficult realities don’t exist, stunting their intellectual and spiritual growth.

      It is heartbreaking to feel that God is absent from our experience. I’ve come to realize that it’s not because he wants to hide from us… He is actually protecting us from continuing down the path of spiritual immaturity and eventual eternal judgement. If the only illumination when the path grows dark is through faith, then mercy reigns instead of judgement.

      Reply
    • john fish says:

      Perry –

      I think James 4:2-3 says it all – or at least most of it. You have not because you ask not and when you ask you ask amiss. Combine this with a government that turns its back on God and more and more stands up for everything that is anti-God and anti-Christ. There is God and there is Satan. Whose side do you want to be on? For those who reject Christ all I can say is – Eternity is a long time to spend in hell.

      Reply
    • Jack Carroll says:

      When I am in grace and see God as “All That Is,” where’s the hiding? He is seen everywhere in everything. It is our limited mental concepts, demands or expectations that “hide” Him.

      God hides openly in all creation.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Amen.

        Reply
    • Steven says:

      What about the possibility that, like your missionary acqaintance, you too are searching for your own preconceived notions of what God should be? (notions maybe also planted by the church) Maybe the reason he seems to be hiding and not responding is he’s simply not there; why doesn’t that make any sense. The arguments for a God are to me very lame – it really comes down to blind faith. Or possibly the concept of God is actually different than the typical Mr. Fix-It, Santa Claus figure in the sky listening to everyone’s prayers and ready to satisfy every human insecurity providing we do-the-right-thing or act-the-right-way. Could it be that our age-old concept of God is simply wrong?

      Reply
    • Tim Adams says:

      Something I was reminded of just yesterday is that there is no “holding pattern” when it comes to our relationship with God. We are either drawing closer to Him or we are moving further away. So chances are great that during those times when God seems absent … it’s because WE have been drifting away. Whether we realize it or not. The best part? When we do move closer, He PROMISES to reciprocate. (James 4:8)

      Reply
    • Jim Rodante says:

      Great summary Perry, and a topic that many Christians go through but is not talked about all that much.

      The Isaiah 65:1 scripture is especially profound. “No one was looking for me”, “No one asked for my help”. WOW. It is so true, like everything else in the Bible.

      The story of the missionary is sad, but understandable. Funny how man distorts the Word, even some (or many) churches, but the Word itself is never contradictory or vague.

      Thanks for the awesome posting,

      Jim

      Reply
    • Stephen Swayne says:

      Perry I erased the post I wrote because it was wordy but to be concise let me say this.I am not at all religious and make no alliances to any particular faith.But,I testify that whatever you want to call it,God,Allah,the Universe,(I really lean more toward the latter because of the indivisibility of it),has been with me since birth,It has never left me or left me feeling unbraced.Never let my adversaries have at me or left me to my own devices.sorry for rambling but I really don’t have the words.I see IT in all of us and everything.Thats my truth

      Reply
    • Jim Rodante says:

      Great post Perry.

      The Isaiah 65:1 scripture was especially profound. “I was ready to respond but no one asked for help”,”I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.” Wow. And so true, just like all the Bible.

      The story about your missionary friend is sad, yet understandable. Funny how man (including many churches) distorts the Word. But the Word itself is never contradictory or vague.

      I will definitely reflect on this post as surely all of us can benefit by it.

      Thanks for the awesome message pastor Perry,

      Jim

      Reply
    • Alastair Granville says:

      Sometimes we mortals stumble over a very simple word. The first word in GENESIS is generally understood to mean:-
      “In THE beginning of.”

      The word can also mean “In A beginning of”
      which affirms that there were MANY beginnings. Hence I read the first line in GENESIS to mean:-

      “In A beginning of God’s creating the heaven and the earth” (That is, In ONE of the beginnings of God’s creating the heaven and the earth). King James, what have you done to us who search for Bible Truth?

      This irrevocably changes the first line in GENESIS regarding theology, dogma, belief, and exegesis.

      Which do you accept and why?

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        I’ve never found an especially persuasive reason to change “the” to “a”.

        Reply
    • Health Freak says:

      A possible analogy if I may..

      Johnny cash performed a simple but ‘catchy’ song which went something like..

      Love Is A Burning Thing
      And It Makes A Fiery Ring
      Bound By Wild Desire
      I Fell Into A Ring Of Fire

      I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
      I Went Down, Down, Down
      And The Flames Went Higher

      And It Burns, Burns, Burns
      The Ring Of Fire
      The Ring Of Fire

      The Taste Of Love Is Sweet
      When Hearts Like Ours Meet
      I Fell For You Like A Child
      Oh,But The Fire Went Wild

      I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
      I Went Down, Down, Down
      And The Flames Went Higher
      And It Burns, Burns, Burns
      The Ring Of Fire
      The Ring Of Fire

      Love Is A Burning Thing
      And It Makes A Fiery Ring
      Bound By Wild Desire
      I Fell Into A Ring Of Fire

      I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
      I Went Down(down), Down(down), Down(down)
      And The Flames Went Higher Higher Higher

      I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
      I Went Down(down), Down(down), Down(down)
      And The Flames Went Higher Higher Higher

      And It Burns
      OoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooYaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

      ————————->>

      How does this relate to your post Perry..?

      Maybe sometimes the ‘burning ring of fire’ could be perceived as those thrust upon those who may be aiming to be perceived as a ‘God-Like’ figure or ‘Guru’ even!

      Many so called ‘God’s’ presenting themselves in a short period of time as ‘THE GOD’ can confuse, overwhelm, burn and tempt believer’s to reconsider their belief.

      In some instances, the ‘perceived’ atheist needs time to recover from the overwhelm of so called God Like figures and the burning feeling that the ‘ring of fire’ can present..

      I think allowing TIME for those so called atheists to think, absorb, and process the onslaught of information that overwhelms them and who may well be the trigger for non-believers, will eventually allow the ‘athiest’ to rise either as a burning flame himself, or at least decide to ignite his own single burning flame with an attempt to give others light!

      Something to think about?

      ;o)

      ————————

      I wrote this ten minutes ago and I had to make a call, it even sounds confusing to me.. but fun!

      Health Freak

      Reply
    • Phyllis says:

      Is it really God who is hiding here or have I turned my face away from the Light and Truth of God? I think it’s the latter.

      God promised not to leave us comfortless. When His face is hidden to me, I’ve discovered it’s because of my choice not to see His Magnificence and Grace.

      How do I know that it’s due to my choice rather than God’s action? I stop and note how I’m feeling and ask myself, “would a loving creator really do this to His beloved creation?” No, He would not so that leaves only one reason that I’m not connected to His loving presence – me!

      The great news is that I can choose to turn back to God as a very present help in times of trouble (and times of joy, as well). I am comforted in knowing that God and Heaven are only a choice away and that He is closer than breath itself.

      Reply
    • Don says:

      For scientific information on God and the soul look up
      Dr. Marco Biagini using google search.

      Reply
    • Christine Hoeflich says:

      Yep, it’s our ideas of God that are so miguided (and manipulated), our ideas about who or what God is–including the ideas of “God Himself” and “worshipping God” and why we are going through such a difficult time on this planet.

      This planet needs a complete overhaul on God and religion and nothing’s going to get better until there is this complete overhaul.

      Reply
      • zook says:

        I agree, this planet and the rotten, toxic relationship with God it has needs serious overhaul.

        Reply
        • Mary Blanc says:

          Speak For Yourself & Start With Yourself–zook:

          The only real difference that any of us can make with our life/in this world is… to…

          “Be the change you wish to see in the world”…

          The Results of This Exercise Will Be Nothing Les Than Astounding–HOWEVER–KEEP CALM & CARRY ON.

          Reply
    • John Klicman says:

      Praise God that you are writing about Him.

      Reply
    • Matt says:

      Perry, this most recent list has been such a blessing. Thanks & keep it up. Think you guys might throw an optin for list somewhere in this template in case my friends follow a link from me to your posts?

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        You can send them to http://www.perrymarshall.com/spirituality

        Reply
    • Greg says:

      Good post Perry.
      I’ve been a Christian for many years and have struggled the last few years with this kind of “wilderness experience” where I don’t feel God’s prescence the way I used to.
      Cheers,
      Greg

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        I’ll suggest two radically different perspectives on this question:

        1. The book “Naturally Supernatural” by Bill Johnson
        2. The book Drinking From A Dry Well by Thomas H. Green

        Reply
        • Dr. George says:

          Perry, Thanks for another great post. One small note: I think you may be referencing the wrong book or author in your reply to Greg (April 28 / May 1). “Naturally Supernatural” is written by Gary Best, not Bill Johnson. Bill Johnson has several excellent books. Perhaps you are talking about his book “The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles”.

          Reply
          • Perry says:

            Oops yes you’re right.

            Reply
            • Mary Blanc says:

              For much of my life–as a catholic–the members of the Faith Communion into which I was…

              born &
              raised &
              left for 8 years of my “college + 20-something” stage &
              returned to on my own accord…

              have been accused by Fellow Christians of…
              among many other things–
              following practices and beliefs that are not Biblical.

              Much sound & fury has been vented…
              and ink spilled and trees felled and even lives lost in acts of wars waged…
              over the many years unto decades unto centuries that these arguments have smoldered & occasionally raged.

              To the 3 books cited in these posts:

              1. “Naturally Supernatural” written by Gary Best
              2. “The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a Life of Miracles” by Bill Johnson
              [Thank You–Dr. George for clearing up the note of confusion.] 3. “Drinking From A Dry Well” by Thomas H. Green

              I’d like to add a webpage from gotQuestions?org:
              http://www.gotquestions.org/Catholic-Biblical.html

              As someone possessing catholic-trained eyes…what I see here is a clear example & evidence of one of the things that Jesus Christ instructed us NOT to do.

              In attempting to Answer the Question: “Are Catholic beliefs and practices biblical?” … The writer of this page cites:

              Mark 7:7
              Ephesians 2:8-9
              Ephesians 2:10
              2 Corinthians 5:17
              1 John 5:13
              Titus 3:5
              Ephesians 2:8-9 (again)
              Galatians 3:10-11
              Romans 3:19-24
              1 Corinthians 1:14-18
              Romans 10:13-17
              Acts 16:33
              Acts 16:31
              Matthew 6:9
              Luke 18:1-7
              1 Peter 2:9
              1 John 1:9
              Acts 4:12
              1 Timothy 2:5
              Romans 4:3
              Galatians 4:30
              Acts 17:11
              2 Timothy 3:16-17

              …which may appear to be a good & impressive source of sound AND Bible-based teaching to Protestant eyes…but is actually a collection of scriptural “sound-bites” gathered together to serve & support the writer’s pre-conceived notions about Catholic beliefs and practices…

              Precious few of these snippets are taken from The Gospels of Jesus Christ…most are taken from the Acts & Letters of the Apostles…who were still debating amongst Themselves & Others as to What–EXACTLY–Christ Meant…

              Christ KNOWS What He Meant–but our understandings of His Words continue to grow & deepen & evolve over our own personal lives and over the Life of The Church…

              Furthermore–The only longer & more comprehensive statement from Gospel Scripture that’s been included on this list–Luke 18:1-7–has gotten the “conclusion” to be drawn from These Passages clearly wrong.

              Jesus instructed us to build on rock–not on sand.

              All this chopping up of Holy Scripture in order to reassemble it in ways to suit your points is the functional equivalent of…

              Taking The Rock of Scripture–
              That Is–The Whole of Ordered Scripture…
              Particularly the 4 Gospels of The New Testament…
              Pounding IT Into Sand…
              Stirring In Various Mortars…
              Allowing A Drying Out Period…
              And THEN Building A New House Upon This
              Aggregate-based Cement.

              My recommended reading…for what it’s worth is…
              Magnificat Magazine…

              Which provides each day’s Scriptural readings from the 3-year cycle of readings…as well as commentary from great Christian writers–drawn from a nearly 2000 year old stable of writers (not necessarily Roman Catholic)…as well as reproductions & analysis of great Christian artwork from down the nearly 20 centuries that it’s been produced. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

    • Michael Freeman says:

      As a side note, I used to be naive, if you ever feel like that, just take the practical position of crossing your legs in a yoga position, and prey…Ahmen

      It doesn’t matter if it’s the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Allah, Hindi or any other..

      We ALL hold the truth..

      All gods are within us all..

      You ARE the truth..

      You could even do something else..

      I love to play music..

      The yoga position of buddha works for me, it hurts at first as does your fingers whilst practising your guitar, but hey..

      no pain no gain, right..

      it makes you fitter, more flexible, and revitalises the mind and sole..

      Dear son..

      Thank you my friend!

      Reply
    • Ben Jordan says:

      Well put. I think a lot of christians get dissolusioned precisely because they have been taught that:

      1) They are children of the king & therefore should live on this earth like royalty (in a material sense)
      2) If they give to the church they will reap a huge financial harvest (but most give off their credit cards and wonder why they are always in debt).
      3) God has a call on their life yet they look back and wonder why they aren’t rich and/or famous or successful in a worldly sense.

      Reply
    • Rob Peters says:

      The idea of controlling God or being able to speak for God or knowing whatever is a common situation. In addition to “God hiding” it may also be known as “Why do bad things happen to good people”, “The rain falls on the unjust and the just”, etc. One of the most derisive issues that will just not go away in our church is the question of ordination of homosexuals. It often ends up as an issue of wright and wrong. This misses the point. I believe the point to be are we going to follow the command to love the Lord your God with all your heart and likewise love your neighbor as yourself or not. Are not the problems that you refer to created when we lose sight of that command.

      Reply
      • Mary Blanc says:

        Rob- GOD Did NOT Intend For “Matters of Faith” To Be “Rocket Science” And So We Find “Statements of God’s Rules” Delivered In Fairly Direct&Plain Wording.

        Genesis 1:27
        “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.”

        It’s been A PROBLEM that…In THIS Sentence…hearing “man” tends to spin the Readers’ thinking into picturing “a man–Adam”…when 11, 12 & 13 words later it SHOULD Become Clear That What Is Meant Is That “God created humans in his image…male and female he created them.”

        As a “female member” of our Human Family…I have noticed that far more females are NOT confused by the semantics of this statement and “Get” that God created Males & Females as Complimentary Members of The Human Family Possessing Full Measures of Equal Human Dignity–Tho’ NOT Identical Parts…

        While “males” tend to tune in ONLY to “God created man in his image”… ignoring the rest of the Yada-Yada-Yada… and Carry ON under the Mistaken Assumption That–
        They’re THE Boss–God Said So…

        And So–“Gender Wars” Are STILL Being Waged–Up To & Including–TODAY…

        Which Brings US To Questions of Gay Marriage and the Ordination of Open & Practicing Homosexuals.

        IF the sexual joining of male & female did NOT produce GenNEXT–THEN All The Marriage Traditions of 1000’s of Years Across 1000’s of Cultures Would NOT Have Been Formed In The First Place.

        The Genetic Source of Each & Every Member of The Human Family IS–Male & Female…

        AND–Marriage–Even If “Stuff Happened” And This Male & Female Pair Are NOT The Biological Parents of Any or All Their Children…

        Never-The-Less–MARRIAGE IS A REFLECTION of THE HUMAN PERSON–THEREFORE–Marriage IS Male & Female…

        Everything Else is just “roommates with benefits”…

        “Practicing Homosexuals”–Whose Decided Orientation Is Toward Others MOST Like Them–Are NOT The Best Ministers To Those…ahem…Others… OUTside of Their Own rather tight Circles… After All–We Gals Are NOT Dumb–We KNOW How Many “Homosexuals” Think That They Have Been Called To Play The “Female Part” BETTER Than The Actual (inferior) Females Do IT.

        Reply
    • Alastair Granville says:

      I remind myself about an ex-wife of Picasso. After her divorce, she remarked “perhaps I should have learned Spanish?”

      If you really love God, then learn Hebrew and its Grammar. The difference between “B” and “V” in the first word of Genesis is more fully understood by those who formulated String Theory – than by those who do not know that Biblical Hebrew is written without vowels. I am more convinced by String Theory and the current possibility of multiple Creations, than by the translations which uphold a single Creation.
      Let me continue reading “The Cloud of Unknowing” that I may yet be wiser …

      Reply
      • Chuck Gritton says:

        St. Augustine said in his Confessions: “See, I answer him that asketh, “What did God before He made heaven and earth?” I answer not as one is said to have done merrily (eluding the pressure of the question), “He was preparing hell(saith he) for pryers into mysteries.” It is one thing to answer enquiries, another to make sport of enquirers. So I answer not; for rather had I answer, “I know not,” what I know not, than so as to raise a laugh at him who asketh deep things and gain praise for one who answereth false things.”

        If there is a valid scientific test for the idea of multiple beginnings, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, it’s simply a matter of faith and St. Augustine’s answer above seems very appropriate. The current universe we live in is the one of immediate interest and the one the Bible was written to. It causes me no particular spiritual concern that God’s activities and ways go beyond what’s written in the Bible. In fact, I think that’s rather explicitly stated and why we’re advised to “lean not on [our] own understanding”.

        Reply
      • Mary Blanc says:

        RE: “I am more convinced by String Theory…”

        Alastair- Your brief statements of these “new” insights reminds Me of the opening sentence in one of The Greatest Essays on Religion of Our Times…”Origen explains” by David Warren writing for the Christmas 2002 edition of the Ottawa Citizen…

        “Christ came to save us in more ways than we can possibly imagine…”

        http://www.davidwarrenonline.com/index.php?id=168

        Look closely in any&EVERY Direction…And You Will Find Incredible Detail, Amazing Beauty & Irreducible Complexity…All Without End…Except that Our Time to study–IT ALL–DOES …eventually… Come To An End.

        For Some… String Theory appears to be THE Answer that will “TOE” The Line… That is–BE THE “Theory Of Everything”…

        For Others… It just reminds us of the old joke… About the Irish Widow who…when She died and Her Children cleaned out Her house…They found–up in the attic–2 Large Boxes. One was labeled “String” and the other was labeled “String Too Short To Save.”

        Reply
        • Perry says:

          The Origen article is great. I have a book of his writings, which is really cool to read. A snapshot of early Christianity.

          Reply
    • Mary Blanc says:

      Hey Freeman- Aren’t You cutting some corners…That Really Ought To Be Squared ??

      IF–“It doesn’t matter if it’s the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Allah, Hindi or any other..”

      THEN–Let’s add a few of those other “gods” to this list… Apollo, Mercury, Mars, Aphrodite, Zeus, W?danaz, Nerþuz, Wulþuz, S?wil?, Perfect Master Meher Baba, Bahá’í’s Bahá’u’lláh, Sif, Thor, Odin, Fagus, Cocidius, Lugus, Heng O, Cheng-huang, Itzli, Itzpapalotl, Ixtlilton, Jakkesgay, Kukulkán, Targitzan, Ra, Seth, Isis, Bastet, Brahma, Shiva, Devi, Vishnu, Ab Kin Zoc, Ah Cun Can, Ahnt Alis Pok’, Tarhuhyiawahku, Tlahuixcalpantecuhtli, Wisagatcak, Zotz and Eric Clapton…

      I could go ON&ON&ON…but I hope You Get The Idea…

      If You have NOT YET read/listened to Perry Marshall’s “If You Can Read This, I Can Prove God Exists” at Cosmicfingerprints.com… THEN DO SO. Perry provided a brief abstract that I’ve copied below:

      “Just like all those 1’s and 0’s that make our modern world go ‘round, DNA is also a digital communication system. All the same formulas and communication theory that created our modern digital age apply to DNA too. In fact many methods that are commonplace in the information technology field have been adapted and applied to genetics research and the Human Genome Project.”

      Your own DNA–a.k.a., Your Own Personal Instruction Manual For How To Build & Operate A “Michael Freeman”…Are God’s Instructions TO You & OF You FROM HIM. We All Have OUR OWN–Love Letters From God–Our Own Genetic Codes & Instructions.

      Furthermore–Another of Perry’s Cosmicfingerprints.com article…”New Scientific Evidence for Existence of God” provides the discoveries behind the Scientific Confirmation of the–To Some–“Incredible Equation”…

      BIG BANG = JESUS CHRIST

      So–Between Genetics & Cosmology We’ve Determined That The Universe = Jesus Christ AND That Our Genetic Codes Have Been “Written” By An Intelligent Mind…

      WHICH IS EXACTLY THE SAME OL’ STORY & NEWS THAT WAS REVEALED TO & THRU THE WRITERS OF THE OLD & NEW TESTAMENTS…Who Recorded God’s Word For us…and our posterity.

      So Your next statement…”We ALL hold the truth..” is True…But NONE of Us Holds The Complete Truth–EXCEPT FOR JESUS CHRIST–Which Is Why… If You follow any of those “other gods”…your heading will require varying degrees of course correction…which a well educated Christian Mind does–almost automatically & nearly without realizing what “They Got Right”…That IS A Great Revelation To Their Fellow Travelers Who’ve Been Working From other maps.

      Yes–There IS A LOT of Truth To Be Mined In Other Religions…
      Especially Those That Have Stood Their Tests of Time…
      But Make NO MISTAKE–At The Bottom of ALL TRUTH IS CHRIST…
      Which Many Other Supposedly “Non-Christians”…such as Gandhi…
      REALIZED BETTER & BEFORE Many So-Called “Christians”

      So…Thank You–My Friend–For This Food For Thought…Including Questions As To WHICH of The Several “Meanings” For Sole/Soul Did You Have In Mind…Maybe ALL of THEM…When You Wrote…”and revitalises the mind and sole..”

      Reply
    • Jeffery Smith says:

      This was a great one. I remember when I was a missionary in Brazil that that argument was a very common one. But, what I discovered was that you can really find God when you share him with others. If you want to know him you have to Obey what He tells you and the path will be open to true communication with him. It’s like a radio, when you are on the right frequency you will be able to hear more clearly, but if you are on a different frequency you will thInk that there is only static. The challenge there is to stay in tune.

      Reply
      • Mary Blanc says:

        Jeffery- I’m glad that I read fairly early in life (1971 or 2 during My freshman or sophomore year of college) a line from–I think (cut Me some slack–it was 40 years ago)–Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. It was a statement similar to Yours–about hearing God more clearly when You’re tuned in to the right frequency…

        Tho’ what Hesse wrote was (paraphrasing)… If all You have to listen to is a station with loud static and the music is just faint and in the background… You can train Your mind to focus on the music and tune out the static… and hear the beauty that IS THERE.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      God or your concept of God is only a function of what religion your parents were and what region you grew up in. Perry, if you were born in a Muslim country and your parents were Muslim you would be a Muslim, your concept of God would be different. If your parents were Mormons, you would be a Mormon and if your parents were Scientologists, you would be one as well.

      We are all on this planet together just trying to make sense of it all, no God has ever revealed it’s self to us. Every religion claims God for their own selfish reasons but no one can handle the real truth. There is no money to make, to power to be held by admitting that we just don’t know.

      I have seen you argument for God, it is simply the argument for design. Sure we could have been designed, in fact in the next 100 years
      we will be able to do the same thing with Nano Technology. We could send Nano Robots of to far off planets and create life from only the elements found
      on the planet. Will this make us God? The truth is we just don’t know!

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        If that’s true then how can there be so many hundreds of millions of people who choose religions different than their parents? For every Christian, Muslim, Scientologist, there is a parent or grandparent who had a different religion.

        Yes God has indeed revealed Himself to us. The death and resurrection of Jesus is one of the best documented events in ancient history. See http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/anne-rice-atheist-christ/

        Yes, of course someday we will be designing better things than we are now. We hope that in the far distant future we can do as good a job as living things do now. Simple logic and observation tells us that living things did not create themselves. Further reinforcing the fact that the universe was designed by an incredibly intelligent entity. Nature itself reveals God – the proof is right here in your own words.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      Yes there are those who seek out other religions, but they can only find what is around them. If you are happy with your family and what religion brings to it there is a very good chance you will never stray. How else can you explain an seemingly bright man like Mitt Romney as a Mormon. Muslims raise Muslims, Jews raise Jews and Christians (like you) raise Christians.

      If you are not happy you will seek other religions, (religions prey on the weak)but you can only find what is near to you.

      There is a tribe in Papua New Guinea who was never exposed to western culture until very recently. They observed airplanes flying over and assumed that the planes were God. Children grew up believing that these flying machines were God, it was all they knew their entire lives. Then their island was colonized, an airport was built and airplanes landed. The new arrivals tried to tell the tribe that these were man made machines, and that pilots were inside flying them. The refused to believe this, the only logical explanation the could come up with is that white man had tricked the Gods by building a runway. The tribe set out to build their own very primitive runway and control tower made of sticks hoping to trick the flying god over to their home. Some members were born and died believing in Airplanes, they had no other options. What would your God think of this, if you believe the Bible, God would be very angry at them. How could God fault them, it was his or hers own fault!

      Although you may laugh at the foolishness of this primitive tribe, how are we much better? The only explanation we can come up with is that there is a magical man in the sky who is jealous, and spite full(but he loves you). He sat for thousands of years watching, then decided to place his son in one of the most backward war torn areas of the time. He turned his back on the Chinese who were far more advanced, he ignored those in North America, and every other corner of the planet.

      I am to believe this because of the Bible? What were the names of the writers? God? The bible has been altered so many times by Kings and who ever could benefit at the time.

      There is a universal law of commitment, you should know this very well as we use it in marketing. Once someone commits to a belief on their own there is no way to persuade them. You see the bible as the word of God, I see a book that has been altered over time, that was written as an attempt to explain the unknown. It was a poor attempt.

      We don’t know any more than we did in the time of the Egyptians.

      Even if I gave you the resurrection of Christ as the truth how does this mean there is a God and he is his son? A woman in Japan was dead for 10 hours frozen in the bush, they brought her back to life, is she the daughter of God because of this?

      Because I think there is design all around us does not mean there is a God. I can come up with all kinds of theories as to how we got here but I would be the first to admit I don’t know. Some people need to know, this is why religion is such a big business, they give the people what they want, answers to questions we cannot answer.

      I don’t have the answers and you like to think you do because it gives you comfort. We are both no better off then the tribe members in Papua New Guinea.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Eric,

        You’re obviously a smart guy.

        And you’re too smart to know as little as you apparently know about theology and philosophy. I hope you’re also too smart to just throw up your hands and abdicate to agnosticism, simply because “religion is a big business.”

        Have you studied the arguments that people like Plato and Aristotle offered regarding the existence of God? Or Aquinas? Or Godel? Ed Feser’s book “The Last Superstition” would be a good start.

        Have you studied the actual historical evidence and debates regarding Jesus’ resurrection? From what you’ve written you appear to have little working knowledge of the Bible, much less a scholarly understanding.

        You owe it to yourself to search these things out.

        The people in New Guinea have common sense. They understand agency. Yes, we are like those people. We, like them, understand that complex interdependent systems that work beautifully and harmoniously do not happen by accident. They are primitive but they know that they’ve never seen highly organized systems just randomly “happen.”

        You’re not primitive. When and where have YOU ever seen anything as organized as an airplane just “Happen”?

        You’re too smart to believe that the universe and the genetic code and all the beauty around us happened by sheer accident…. aren’t you?

        Reply
        • Erik says:

          Perry, I don’t pretend to be a bible scholar, I don’t want to be one. I don’t believe you need to be one to have a conversation about the existence of God.

          I see where you are trying to lead me; it is the same old path I have seen before. Get me to admit there is design, then of course there must be a God and of course the one you happen to believe in is the only one the rest of us non-believers are doomed.

          There are over 50 translations of the Bible, the original is in Hebrew and Greek. I am sure you have a favorite translation that you will direct me to. I won’t go there. Just like you are not going to study the book of Mormon or the Koran or the hundreds of volumes the Church of Scientology cranks out.

          An airplane only comes together when many different minds come together to dream, plan and build the airplane. No one mind is responsible, creation via collaboration.

          Here is a theory that I will through out there (I just made it up) What if we made ourselves? We sit on a planet long enough to figure out how we are made. We then send out Nano bots to all part of the universe to recreate the human race. They eventually do the same, there was no beginning and there is no end, it is just a huge circle. We are all part of a collective mind and when we collaborate we create.

          This theory is crazy, it is most likely not true, I just pulled it out of my rear, but it is no more crazy then God creating us. We seem to leave all notions of insanity at the door when we refer to God, he can always have been there and will always be there is no questioning the powers our frail minds have given him.

          I may not be a scholar but I am not blind. I have traveled the world many times over, I have met people of many faiths, I understand why there is a need to believe. I have seen the good and the bad it can bring, I am not so simple to dismiss anything just because it is a huge money making machine. I would never go to Costco then.

          I, like you have given these matters thought, my conclusion is that humans just make up answers and people are more than willing to follow blindly. We have actual proof of it this century, Mormons and scientologists! They pump out the fiction and the believers follow. At least scientologists admit their garbage was written by a fiction writer! This is what I believe and I am very happy with my belief, I don’t require saving.

          If I were a betting man I would wager that your parents were strong Christians , if you are married your wife is a Christian and your children (if you have children ) are Christians. You surround yourself with people who believe what you believe. I am positive you love your parents and would never want to disappoint them. I am also positive if your parents were Muslims, raised you a Muslim, you would be a Muslim. You would be defending your belief because you were raised to be proud. If you are going to argue that you would be one of the few that would turn your back on your faith and family, then you are not being honest with yourself. You have very little religious free will, you are a direct product of the environment you were raised in! Maybe you could at least use this to try to understand why others believe what they believe, because they too are a product of the environment they were raised in.

          Reply
          • Perry says:

            “What if we made ourselves?”

            Sure. Go with that.

            Reply
    • Erik says:

      Perry, I glad like that one, of course it is insane, that is the point.

      I did some digging and is see you father was a Pastor, surprise surprise, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. This is the point Perry, your beliefs are a product of the environment you were raised in, not what the truth is. We have no idea what the truth is we can only derive or own ideas from our environment.

      I will ask you this question again, the question I believe you will never answer because you cannot!

      Do you believe that if your Mother and Father and friends were Muslims, you were raised in a Muslim country, that you yourself would be a Muslim?

      This question is a tough one because yes and no are both traps.

      If you answer yes, then you have to agree that religion is nothing more than a set of beliefs we gather from the environment around us. We are like little computers and the environment around us is the code.

      If you say “no I would never become a Muslim” then you lose all credibility, no one would believe that you are so strong as to resist the bonds of the love of your family your friends and your culture. Religion is part of the fabric you cannot separate. You have already proven this in your life.

      I am very interested in your answer…

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        “Do you believe that if your Mother and Father and friends were Muslims, you were raised in a Muslim country, that you yourself would be a Muslim?”

        Most likely so. At least for awhile.

        However, 2-3 different times in my life, I hit MAJOR spots where I had very serious reservations about Christianity. Is this REALLY true?

        So I put it on the anvil. I was quite willing to give it up if I found it to not be true.

        One of the main reasons I put up http://www.coffeehousetheology.com and the email autoresponder was because I knew I would get all kinds of replies back from the emails and I seriously wanted to see if answers could be found for all the tough questions. I had doubts so I decided to up the ante.

        Between that and http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com I probably replied to 20,000 emails from many thousands of people. I got HAMMERED by every kind of person with every kind of objection and debate you can imagine. I read HUNDREDS of books. In fact one of my friends Michael Cage (slightly famous marketing genius) said to me the other day, what he admired about my library is it was full of books with opinions that stridently disagreed with my own.

        I engaged in no-holds-barred debates, some of which went on for months and even years. The biggest one of all is public, at http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/infidels.

        I was ready to give up my faith if I found they could poke major holes scientifically, philosophically or historically.

        Had I subjected Mormonism or Islam to that kind of scrutiny it would not have survived. Neither of those religions offers the standards of proof and evidence that the New and Old Testament do. In my experience, those religions do not generally invite their followers to subject what they believe to hard factual scrutiny. However, simple “Mere Christianity” as CS Lewis calls it was, I found, most certainly up to the task.

        That is the only reason I am still a Christian today. Christianity can take the pounding. So bring it on.

        The position you appear to have taken is “Hey Perry, I’m going to attack YOUR position, but I’m not going to take any position of my own. That means I get to criticize YOU, but I don’t have to defend myself… because my position is, you can’t know and we’ll never know and We’re just two lost souls Swimming in a fish bowl, Year after year – like the Pink Floyd song says.”

        But that is an anti-intellectual, anti-inquiry, ANTI-truth stance. You can’t say you’re “FOR” the truth when your belief is that the truth is unknowable and probably not worth the pursuit anyway.

        It’s weak. Frankly it’s cowardly. It is cowardice.

        What does a girl think of you if you’re not willing to fight to win her heart?

        You cannot take the hard agnostic position and call yourself an intellectual, or even a brave explorer. Because you’re really just embracing cynicism.

        You’re better than that, and you’re smarter than that.

        Are you willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads?

        If you are brave, you will pursue the truth.

        Reply
        • Erik says:

          Perry,

          I am enjoying the debate, I hope you are as well..

          I have a position, and I will defend it. My position is that humanity does not know at this point. It is a very simple honest position, WE DON’T KNOW….. All we have done so far is make up different religions, what you believe is a direct function of your environment.

          My proof is very simple, take a look in the mirror. I am no different than you, if I was raised by your family in your environment I would be taking your position, I would believe what you believe, I am not mocking you for this, I understand why you believe.

          My position is disturbing to you because it raw, simple and hard to fight with Bible quotes.

          I love your answer, yes you would be a Muslim, but eventually you would be so strong and one of the very few Muslims in the world to turn your back on your faith and family. This is not what would happen, your past would lead you back if you ever tried to stray, it would be in your code. Perry you would be a Muslim because of your environment.

          What would happen if you were struck down and killed before you could even decide to explore other faiths? Would you as a Muslim be welcomed to the Christian heaven? Why or why not?

          What about the hundreds of millions of Muslims, Jews, Mormons, who were not born with a curious mind, or simply were too busy trying to survive to even think about other faiths. In your eyes God has doomed them at birth.

          I love that you think I am a weak little man with no balls because I simply observe what is going on all around me. Human are fantastic at making up Religions so they can understand their place in the Universe. It has been going on long before the time of Christ and continues to this day. There will always be charismatic leaders and plenty of fools ready to follow.

          “Everyone is walking around with an umbilical chord in their hands looking for somewhere to plug it in”. Dan Kennedy

          Looks like you tried to unplug yours for a brief moment and quickly plugged it back in before the Christian nutrients stopped flowing.

          You beliefs are a product of the environment you had access to from birth.

          Reply
          • Perry says:

            Since you are sure you know what I would do under different circumstances – better than I do – then maybe you would just prefer to have a debate with the Perry that exists in your own imagination.

            Reply
    • Erik says:

      Sorry Perry, I made the mistake of assuming that you were a human, like the rest of us. I did not know that Christians were born and not made.
      So it is your position that you would rise up and question your faith, decide that Christianity is the truth and denounce your Muslim faith. No matter what family you were placed in by God, no matter what faith you were brought up to believe you would always return to Christianity? Is this your position…Really?

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        I certainly know that I was quite willing to do what my brother did. He turned his back on his Christian faith entirely – after having been a missionary for four years.

        He was almost an atheist for a little while and became an agnostic.

        I decided to put my beliefs on the chopping block, and for about a year I was very unsure about where the journey would take me. I really did decide to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

        Your assumption that nobody genuinely questions their faith or engages in real intellectual fact finding is not only patronizing, it is factually wrong. Many people ostensibly change their religious views over time and they do so for many reasons. You might consider that some of those reasons are valid.

        Reply
    • erik says:

      I have never said no one ever questions their faith, I said your faith is a product of the environment you are in. If you were raised in Papua New Guinea believing in airplanes you have very limited choices in your environment. You could chose not believe in airplanes, or you could make up a new belief.
      You and I are spoiled, we have access to lots of information. Don’t forget the rest of the world that has little freedom, time and information to spend on a faith crisis. We have access to all kinds of beliefs, we can only chose from the menu presented to us or decide not to eat.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Indeed. And I’ve come out from my cave and sampled a huge menu. I’ve debated more atheists over the last 20 years than anybody else you know. I have thousands of books, have had thousands of conversations, and I know the issues. I know the questions. The Christian faith sets a higher bar for not only proof and evidence but also for morality than any other religion I know. It is factually, historically and philosophically sound.

        There are 50 different translations of the Bible and they all say the same thing. They all say the universe, space and time were created at a finite point in the past by an infinite creator; that humans have been given free choice, and we badly hurt each other with those choices; that you and I and everyone will answer to God for everything we have done; and that grace is available for all who will accept it.

        I have volumes of historical evidence that the Son of God stepped into the world and split time in half, BC and AD, and he was the most influential person in all history. Even kindergarteners who aren’t Christians know that Jesus was all about peace, love and understanding. The choice is yours what to do about that.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      Perry, I have a simple question for you then.
      You admit you would be a Muslim if you were parents and community were Muslim.
      You do however claim that at some point you will have a crisis of faith and discover Christianity.
      My question for you is if you died before you had the luxury of your faith crisis, would God welcome you into heaven? Yes or No

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        See http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/top10/#8

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      “that you and I and everyone will answer to God for everything we have done” including being born into a family and community that does not share this belief, sound like a fair and reasonable God, can’t wait to meet him her or it.

      Reply
    • Matia Bryson says:

      Aw, c’mon Erik. Perry never said a person can control where they are born. Didn’t you read the link he gave you above? And I am sure we don’t want to get into a discussion of Islam, but it’s telling that you picked that particular example community and not a group like the Unitarians. Let’s try to be a little more intellectually honest, please. I can’t decide whether I am enjoying this debate or not, but I am certainly following it!

      Reply
    • Erik says:

      “This is just my opinion, but I suspect that guy in Africa, he has no missionary, Bible, or anything, I think if he looks up in the sky and goes, “Somebody made all this, whoever You are, I’d like to know you,” I think God can respect that prayer.”

      So the guy needs no previous or current religious affiliation in order for God to respect his wonderment?
      Let me rephrase the question.
      Will a Muslim go to heaven?
      If the word Muslim scares you, feel free to replace it with Scientologist or Mormon.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.” Romans 2:14

        Luke 12 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      “that humans have been given free choice”
      What an illusion it is that we all have Free will. All of what we are and the decisions we make are a direct result of the environment we are in. Do you think a baby is born hating people of other colors? The parents and community start to shape the baby, if the baby is taught that people of other color are stupid and bad over time the child will become a young man that will believe this to be true. He or she will only seek out evidence to validate this belief.
      In the right environment you can teach someone to believe anything. You yourself cannot escape your own hard wiring, every fiber in your body wants to preach the gospel to me, you want to show me the light, you are your Fathers son.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        If you do not believe that we have free will then I don’t know why you’re here arguing with me.

        For that matter, I don’t even know why you’re on a business site where business information is dispensed, since if we don’t have free will, then our success or failure is purely a matter of our environment and not even under our control.

        So why are you here?

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      “Even kindergarteners who aren’t Christians know that Jesus was all about peace, love and understanding.”

      It all depends what information they are fed. In my town, in public schools, most kindergarteners would not even know his name!

      If you taught them that Jesus was a bad man, this is what they would believe! Their beliefs are simply a product of their environment.

      Reply
    • Erik says:

      “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.” Romans 2:14
      Luke 12 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

      I am going to have to assume this Bible quote is your attempt to answer the question, “will Muslims go to heaven”.
      You told me to bring it on, so I will ask you again, will Muslims go to heaven, yes or no?
      This is not my first trip to the rodeo; every other Christian I have asked this to (including scholars) has answered this simple question with a “no”
      Again fell free to replace the word Muslim with any non-Christian religion. I chose Muslims because there are 1.6 billion of them on the planet, a number one cannot ignore.
      What is your answer, yes or no?

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        I have no need to cram complex questions into tiny theological shoeboxes. The link and scriptures I have given offer a sufficient answer to the question. After all, Jesus made it pretty clear that God judges people based first and foremost by their own standard of judgment (Matthew 7:2 “the way that you judge others will be the way that you will be judged, and you will be evaluated by the standard with which you evaluate others”) – and on what they know, what they did not know, what they would have done in other circumstances, and what other people did in the same circumstances.

        Beyond this, I do not know. That is all the answer Jesus gave, so that is all the answer I will give.

        By the way C.S. Lewis offers a very interesting answer to this question, via story, in the Chronicles of Narnia and his depiction of the servants of Tash.

        Reply
    • erik says:

      Why do I bother to do anything because I do not have free will?
      This depends on how you define free will and the lack of it. My life is not pre scripted, I am not saying this. To have complete free will means nothing will influence the choices you make in your life. You would have to wake up each morning with no memories from your past, no genetic personality that would make you prone to being aggressive, timid, funny, intelligent, curious, mean, or just crazy. Then and only then could you have true free will in your decision making, you would just roll the dice randomly every time you had to make a decision to do something. This is an absurd and impossible notion.
      In reality every time we make a decision we do not roll the dice. We draw on the past, what we have learned during our life. Our genetics also play a roll, some people are born risk takers others are curious by nature. There are all kinds of things we experience that we are not even aware of, smells, tastes, sounds and colors that bring back memories, provoke emotion inside us.
      For you to say that you put your beliefs aside for a while is great in theory but impossible to do. We do not come with a “c” button like a calculator. You cannot lock your past away in your brain and retrieve it at a later date when it is convenient. For you to even look at other religious with a clear open mind is not fully possible. Let’s just look at the physical characteristics of the Christian Bible alone .The smell, the weight, how it feels in the palm of your hand, the memories and feelings that come to you by just touching it are impossible to erase. When you lift a Bible from another faith how could it stand a chance in your hands. It is only just a book to you with words on pages, you can rip it apart in your mind without a shred of emotion.
      It is almost impossible to judge another’s faith without first walking in their shoes. To read the Koran without being held by a Muslim mother since birth, with out saying their daily prayers, without smelling their smells, eating their food, loving their family, friends and community, it is not fully possible. Religion must relate to us to have meaning to us.
      To imply that we are all religious free will is a lofty notion, but in reality our past binds us to the religious path we ultimately choose. Look at Mitt Romney, he is a happy successful man with a loving family. I am sure his life is full of wonderful memories that are interwoven into his faith. He looked up to his father and wanted nothing more to be like him. Even though Mitt has the ability to give up his Mormon faith, do you think has past experience that have lead him to his present self will allow him to do so? Do you think he can look at his faith purely analytically and conclude “this stuff is crazy”?
      Why do I bother arguing with you? Well I was searching Adwords and thought I was going to get some information on Google. Instead I ended up on your website where there was a debate about religion. This brought back memories from my youth, were my friends and I would debate or beliefs, I found it stimulating. These good feeling from my past caused me to make a post on your blog and here we are engaged in a thought provoking discussion. If I lived my life all over and every situation was the same up into the point where I landed on your blog, I would do the same thing.
      Why do I bother working? My past experiences have lead me to believe that money food and shelter are important to survive, I also have a family that I love and want to take care of, this is mostly instinct, the need to care for our children.
      I have to take my hat off to you Perry, you are the first Christian I have met that had the balls to say “you don’t know” (we are almost on the same page) What a great notion it would be if there were a God that would simply love everyone on the planet no matter what they did.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        There’s a lot of things I’m glad to not know. I think Christianity would have more street cred if it weren’t so obsessed with certainty. I like the Celtics (and even Catholics) especially because of the way they embrace mystery so much more freely than Protestants do.

        How could you conclude anything other than that MOST higher things are more mysterious to our experience than certain?

        The way I read the book, God judges everyone fully in the CONTEXT of all these things you talk about, that we can never get away from. This is why Jesus said “Judge not…. by your standards you will be judged” in the sermon on the mount which is the greatest sermon ever.

        I cannot say HOW God will judge you, I can only be certain that He will judge all of us, first and foremost ME. And I can invite you to be a Christ follower which means you get to walk every day in un-earned favor and forgiveness.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      Perry,
      This may be hard for you to understand but I was raised with love but no religion, I have no need for in my life, my thermostat has been set. I feel extremely lucky to be on this earth, even if only a short time, I was lucky to have friends from all different religious and ethnic backgrounds. I have always admired the community around their ethnicity, their diverse religions have always fascinated me. This has given me the ability to understand respect different points of view; I would not trade my experiences for anything.
      I feel I have as much right as anyone to feel awe at the Universe and the things around us and all of humanity. I don’t want to have protection, I will just live my life the best way I can and whatever happens at the end, happens. Peace out….

      Reply
    • Matia Bryson says:

      Best wishes, Erik, and may you find joy in your journey.

      In the interests of truth and fairness, may I take a moment to add a correction and make one recommendation that is relevant to Perry’s original article “The God Who Hides.”

      The error I would like correct from a few comments above is the suggestion that Mormon beliefs are intellectually lightweight.

      As Exhibit A I would like to suggest this article “Mormons and Education” (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormons-and-education-an-overview), and as Exhibit B I would suggest this article “Mormon and Modern” (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormon-and-modern#_ednref1).

      The point I am making is that education and learning of a religious and secular nature are a big part of the Mormon life. I suggest that an intellectually lightweight religion would not be attractive to an educated person.

      My recommendation for a thoughtful addition to the discussion on the “God Who Hides” is this speech by a Mormon church leader, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, called “Lord, I Believe.” (Available as a transcript, audio, and video at this link: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/lord-i-believe?lang=eng).

      I particularly like his view that in a question of faith “what we know” will always trump “what we don’t know,” and that we should hold the ground we have gained.

      I think it could also serve as Exhibit C in the discussion of whether Mormons are asked to be blind in their faith and to set their intellect on a shelf, so to speak.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        I would never suggest that Mormons are intellectual lightweights. What I am saying is that the Bible is a far more reliable historical and archaeological document than the book of Mormon. It is pretty easy to verify, for example, that many places and names mentioned in the book of Acts were real and accurately reported. The Old Testament talks about the Hittites and numerous other civilizations and we can verify yes in fact that was the case. The book of Mormon is far more problematic. For example, no Central or South American civilization is recognized by academia to correlate with the Nephites of the Book of Mormon.

        Reply
        • Matia Bryson says:

          I would agree that you did not say that Mormons as people are intellectually lightweight, but it seemed to me that you implied that their theology was.

          Also, I agree with the comparison you just made between the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and it is not a problem for me because as a spiritual text the Book of Mormon is excellent. The Bible is, too.

          I don’t really want to get into a blow-by-blow discussion of the validity of those things that are unique to Mormon belief. I am just saying that those beliefs go a lot deeper than most people who haven’t dug deep can appreciate.

          Also, for scholarly explanations of just about any objection that can be raised to Mormon teachings the Maxwell Institute http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/ is a great resource. I went to the website’s search engine, typed in “archaeology” and brought up a few hundred results of which this one looks promising: http://publications.maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=963, “Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon.”

          (You can call me intellectually lightweight, and you can call me lazy, but please don’t ask me to summarize that whole thing here!)

          So anyway, long ago when I first stumbled upon your article above, “The God Who Hides,” I felt a camaraderie with you as a fellow believer in God, because I had experienced in myself and seen in the lives of others exactly the phenomenon you were describing. Since that time, Elder Holland made the speech I referenced above, and I thought it had some good advice to these situations. (Anytime he says “church is true” you can substitute “God is true,” and skip the uniquely Mormon declarations at the end if they bother you.) I think the general principles or points he is making will make sense to other Christians and be of value.

          Thank you for your thoughtful article and comments, and may you and I and the other readers here be counted as happy for having endured (James 5:11) — whether enduring the trials of faith and life or whether having endured this entire discussion. You pick!

          Reply
          • Perry says:

            Matia,

            I have MANY Mormon friends, colleagues and clients and I truly consider them to be “the good guys.” Especially in the marketing education arena. I was at a meeting once with lots of marketers and there was a group of them who, let’s just say gives me the creeps. Users. Not “good guys.” I remember thinking, “It’s them against us and the Jewish folks and the Mormons in a culture war of whether entrepreneurs are getting exploited and taught to exploit, or are being taught by people who really care about their customers as human beings.

            Thus I do feel some hesitation about bringing some of this up. Know that I come from a place of deeply respecting your family values and your commitment to faith.

            I believe that if someone comes along and says that Christianity has suffered from 1800 years of apostasy, and that they have received a revelation from God that dramatically alters the perspective of an entire belief system, they ought to at minimum be able to get their history and archaeology right.

            One would never, ever infer from the Bible that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers, or that God was originally a man like you and I, or many other foundation-level Mormon beliefs. Mormon language has many of the same theological terms Christians use but in actuality they mean very different things.

            I don’t consider myself an expert on Mormonism by any means, but my general impression is that because of the many well-known difficulties with the book of Mormon and the history of the LDS church, Mormons understand even the word “faith” to mean something rather different than what traditional Christians understand it to mean. It means in some cases accepting significant apparent contradictions between church teachings and observable reality. Contrast this to Jesus responding to his critics in Luke 5:

            22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

            In the New and Old Testaments, faith leads to experience which leads to more faith which leads to more experience. Jesus offered empirical proof of his authority. I believe if someone holds themselves out to be a prophet, as Joseph Smith does, their personal life should not be as problematic as Smith’s was; and the things that he tells you should be empirically verifiable.

            I believe you have nothing to lose by reverting to the original Jesus. He is very much good enough. He is infinitely better than anyone who would be called Lucifer’s brother.

            Again I do not intend personal disrespect to Mormons. In fact part of me respects you for believing in the face of difficulties, because that requires character. But I do see that the Bible does present a higher standard of proof than the book of Mormon. You should not need to lower your standards in order to accept a subsequent revelation. Faith and the practice of faith need not be that hard.

            Reply
    • Erik says:

      Any religion that tell you not to think, forces family and community members to cut off communication with those who decide to leave the faith is a cult. If you trace their origins back, you usually find a sex and power crazed pedophile with multiple wives servicing his every need. It is just sad that they are allowed to continue with tax free status under the religious umbrella.

      Reply
    • erik says:

      Mormons are compelling proof that religion is simply a product of the environment you are in.
      Joseph Smith at a very young age decides he doesn’t like what is on the religious menu at the time. So he declares himself a prophet, and pulls a religion own out of his rear end for all of us to whiteness. For outsiders the stuff he believes and teaches is level 10 crazy, like Quakers living on the moon. He has over 30 wives, builds a city and dies. New prophets are allowed to change his teachings as they see fit.
      As you attest Perry, yes most Mormons are great people, as are people of any faith.
      There are good people of faith and there are bad people of faith, there are good atheists and there are bad ones. If you want to take a good person and make them do bad thing give them some religion. I do not believe for a second that people that strap bombs to themselves are all necessary bad people. They were just fed a doctrine since they were young that if you want to be welcome into the kingdom of heaven, this is how you get there. This is crazy to us, but we were not fed this BS since birth, again they are victims of the environment they were raised in. Yes they could choose to not believe but this is easier said than done.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Deride religion if you wish. But your perspective needs to acknowledge another aspect.

        I’ve got a book on my shelf called The Black Book Of Communism. It documents in excruciating detail the genocide of 160 million people under mostly atheist regimes — in the 20th century alone.

        That’s more people murdered, butchered, slaughtered, churches burned with congregations inside, women and children sent to mass graves via atheism – during the 20th century – than because of all religious wars in all centuries combined.

        Is it merely a coincidence that more people were murdered by atheist governments in the 20th century alone, than by all religious wars in all centuries combined? You decide.

        Sure, you can knock religion and religious people… just remember, when you take religion away, you get a result that’s far worse. That is empirical fact, not just theory.

        “Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.“ -Vladimir Lenin

        Again I wish to remind you that I would not even dream of asking people to embrace Christianity if I could not show that it is historically, philosophically and morally coherent.

        Maybe the reason people yearn for God is… God is out there waiting to be embraced. Maybe at some point, God stops hiding. That has been my experience.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      I am not an advocate for the communist or even the atheist for that matter. I am all for freedom of thought and beliefs. The moment you place a megalomaniac dictator in charge of any belief system (religious or not) you get disastrous results. No one was born believing they were a communist; they were taught they were a communist. If they disagreed or questioned this idea they were killed or persecuted. Again, your belief system is a direct product of your environment (religious or not).
      What makes me angry is when a belief system crosses the line and becomes what I believe is a cult. If you are persecuted or isolated for deciding not to believe, then it is a cult. If there are people following you around harassing you if you choose not to believe then it is a cult, not just a belief system. If there is a wall around your environment keeping you from leaving, it is a cult. If young girls (not even legal) are forced to marry older men, it is a cult. If you are not allowed to think or read anything other than what you are told to, it is a cult. There are cults flourishing in North America today, they have tax free religious status, this is wrong.

      Reply
      • Mary Blanc says:

        It sounds as if You believe that the Tea Party is a cult–however–it is a political organization and contributions to it are not tax deductible.

        As for Your earlier question asking if the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims will go to heaven, yes or no?

        YES–Of Course–They Will Be With GOD/Heavenly Father of US All–WE ALL WILL. The Circle of Each & Every Member of The Greater Human Family Will Be UN-Broken.

        Christ’s Message of Salvation IS To Save US From Living IN Fear That We Could Possibly Ever Be Separated From GOD & GOD’S LOVE For Eternity–AND–Yes–You’re Right–There ARE Plenty of Christians (including Scholars) Who’ve Gotten &/or Continue To Get THIS WRONG.

        The “Judgement”–That May OR May NOT Be So “Forgiving”…

        Will Be How GenNEXT & Next & next…
        WHO ARE ALSO Sons & Daughters of GOD–How Will The Children & Grand Children & Great Grand Children of “Our Generation” JUDGE US & What We Did ??

        Reply
    • erik says:

      Perry, can you tell me what the 10 commandments mean to a Christian and to you? Do you think these are the word of God? Just reading and I am very curious…

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Well let’s see:

        3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

        4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

        7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

        8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

        12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

        13 “You shall not murder.

        14 “You shall not commit adultery.

        15 “You shall not steal.

        16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

        17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

        If people on earth followed those just 90% of the time, nearly all of our problems and heartaches would evaporate overnight. Yep, this is a pretty good set of rules.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      Perry,
      You say “this is a pretty good set of rules”? Can God not be held to a higher standard than “pretty good”
      Shouldn’t they be a perfect or even an exceptional set of rules? I am no Deity or scholar and yet I can even envision a better menu!

      When I read these commandments I am looking for some sort of evidence in the writing that they derive from the God that has create the earth, people the universe, DNA everything. I concieve that God would have a very different view then a man living in a desert at the time of the commandments. God would see the future, God would see the entire world at the time.
      These commandments seem to be from a fearful man writing about his own environment, not a God. He was afraid of losing his possession (wife included), being killed, robbed, falsely accused, his children not obeying him, his wife having sex with another man.
      Lets just look at them one at a time..

      3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
      This is God’s number one rule? What an EGO God has, I can’t imagine a God that created everything having the Ego of a 9 year old boy.

      4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

      He creates everything, yet he is jealous of his own creations??? He will punish children up to the 4th generation that he himself place in these families by no fault of their own, God creates DNA yet God is not decisive enough to just say 4th generation, God just kinda says 3rd or 4th generation???

      7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

      There goes God talking about God again! yes Perry, the world would be a better place if people didn’t go around saying “God Dammit” (sarcasim) I fail to see how the first 7 commandments make the world better, he has wasted valuable real estate here on his own selfish EGO! Would a God really do this?

      8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

      Would the world be a better place if we couldn’t go to Costco on Sunday? (I think so ;)) God seems to think having slaves or as he refers to them “servants” is OK. Maybe God should swap out number 7 for “Thou shall not have slaves, all people shall be free” , now this would have made the world a better place!

      12. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

      Did God really think about this one? What if my Mother and Father hate God? What if they abuse and rape me? Rewrite…”Honor your family, Parents honor and respect and never abuse your children, children honor and respect and never abuse your parents”

      13 You shall not murder.
      Wow, it is about time he got one right, yep this would make the world a better place, I am with you on this one…

      14. You shall not commit adultery
      You lost me again God. Yep adultery is not a good thing, but your placing it after murder, really. Swap it out for number one and you can put it in the list, too many important items were left out. Once again these are the words of a fearful man not a God or a woman or a child.

      15 You shall not steal.
      OK, you are with me again, yes it should be on the list, but there are worse things that have been left out, why? Probably because they did not affect the selfish guy that wrote the commandments, he only cared about himself and what effected or could possibly impact his life.

      16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
      Don’t lie in court, ok sound fair. It also sounds like this was a common problem at the time of the writing of the commandments.

      17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

      Here is another way to say “You shall not steal” I love the way God perceives woman and slaves to be part of a man’s possessions!

      Modern translation, “keep you filthy paws off my car, house, cell phone, my illegal immigrant house slave, and my wife”.

      God seems to have let a few important things slip his mind, God may have been too preoccupied with “God” to remember these small items.

      1. All people on the earth are equal, no one person or race shall be enslaved to another. Treat everyone as your equal, respect all, try to understand each other.
      2. Don’t rape. This includes children (sorry Catholic Church)
      3. Do not abuse power, physical, mental or financial.
      4. Help others less fortunate than you, any way you can, serve others, not me.
      5. Honor your family, Parents honor and respect and never abuse your children, children honor and respect and never abuse your parents.
      6. Never condemn someone for things that are beyond their control.

      My unprofessional and un scholarly opinion is that these commandments are further evidence that man created the idea of God (biblical) and God did not create man! These commandments are primitive, repetitive, ignorant, and unintelligent, they are also missing some significant elements.
      I would have to take issue with your halfhearted endorsement of these commandments and drop them from “pretty good” to “feeble”.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Mary Blanc, good job on the other comment. Wanna take a swing at these too?

        Reply
        • Mary Blanc says:

          Sure–You caught Me on a good day.

          Erik’s deconstruction of the Old Testament Commandments is true to Erik’s form–Rather Sophomoric. Erik writes for the Perennial Sophomores among US who have NOT YET matured beyond the Teenage Rebel POV–He critiques His ideas of “God” & “God’s Meanings & Messages”–“mano e mano” as an Equal.

          Of course–Most of US reading Erik’s analysis are Adults who may recall having formed similar–“conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature”–opinions in Our Youth–too. It was very revealing when Erik accused God of having the “Ego of a 9 year old boy.”

          btw…
          It took Me another 9 years… til I was about 18… before I developed such Ego-Centric Ideas–Myself–which is NOT surprising for a mind formed under the heavier influences of estrogen than testosterone.

          Furthermore…
          The Biological Clocks that Women’s Systems are subject to cause Most of US Galz to “wise up” sooner from Our Rebel Ages&Stages–AND THEN–IF Life Does Give US Children To Raise–AND–We Do This Great Work (as opposed to outsourcing most of it)–The Efforts That IT TAKES To Raise Kids UP To Well-Nourished & Well-Balanced Maturity Will Straighten OUT Many of Our Own Remaining “Issues” That Were Left-OVER &/or Skipped-OVER From Our Own Formative Years… til the time & chance came around AGAIN for US to pick UP on them… the GenNEXT time around.

          “‘You shall have no other gods before[a] me.’
          This is God’s number one rule? What an EGO God has, I can’t imagine a God that created everything having the Ego of a 9 year old boy.”

          LOL–Yes Erik–GOD Made Boyz–AND–KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT THEY WOULD BE LIKE–GOD’S NEXT MOVE WAS… To Make Gurlz.

          ANYWAY–
          I’m NOT going to slog thru a Blow by Blow analysis of “the commandments according to Erik”–going thru them once was ENOUGH. However–Because My statements concerning The Commandments (that were posted on Feb 18th) don’t occur for another dozen or so posts below… I’ll repeat them–here…

          GOD’S MESSAGES & STORIES & LAWS Served To Course-Correct The Ways of The World (which still operate today–NOT just among Criminals… Anyone who watches Their Own Beloved Children interacting with Others on a playground will see “crimes of passion” and various other forms of “juvenile delinquency” !!) THAT AMOUNTED TO–

          The Law of The Jungle… or Desert… as the case may be…
          Survival of the Strongest/Fittest
          Every Man For Himself
          Might Makes Right
          Kill OR Be Killed
          Eat OR Be Eaten
          Dog Eat Dog
          AND–Promoting AS Superior Values IN The Struggle For Survival–Brute Force & Self-Interest.

          THESE ARE the commandments written BY & FOR such a… “self centered male who only looks out for men and their possession[s]”… that You’ve accused GOD AS BEING.

          The Commandments of The Bible Place GOD OVER ALL Men & Women–NO Matter How Strong/Beautiful &/or Fit/Deep That Man or Woman Might Consider Themselves To Be.

          The Commandments of The Bible ORDER A Day of Rest Each Week For US All.

          The Commandments of The Bible Direct US All To Honor Our Father & Mother.

          The Commandments of The Bible Direct US All To NOT Do Certain Things That We Know HAVE BEEN DONE Throughout All of History. The Adult Edition of Those “Trees of Forbidden Fruit” ARE–Murder, Adultery, Theft & Stating What We Know To Be False.

          Furthermore…
          The Commandments of The Bible Direct US All To NOT Spend Our Time Jonesing For What Our Neighbors Have.

          THESE ARE THE COMMANDMENTS THAT We Women, in general, and Mothers, in particular, HAVE RECOGNIZED & EMBRACED AS BEING–AT LONG LAST & FINALLY–TRUE WORDS of GOD… and not just those of ordinary men… ENTERED INTO OUR WORLD–That We (by & large & evermore&More&MORE) Choose To Raise Our Sons & Daughters Upon… EVEN & ESPECIALLY WHEN–The Men Who Have Fathered OUR CHILDREN INSIST UPON Behaving–For All OR Most of Their Lives… little better than a bunch of 9 year old boys.

          Erik–You Stated–IN Your “Humble” Opinion…
          “I would have to take issue with your halfhearted endorsement of these commandments and drop them from ‘pretty good’ to ‘feeble’.”

          AFTER Having Given Your Summary of Them…
          “These commandments are primitive, repetitive, ignorant, and unintelligent, they are also missing some significant elements.”

          Allow Me 2 Give YOU a HINT–
          You May Think That You’re Analyzing GOD & GOD’S CREATION & GOD’S WORDS–BUT KNOW THAT–Your Words Reflect & Reveal YOURSELF–Most of All… and heaven help US All from suffering the likes of Adults (TYPICALLY MALE with a few, notable Exceptions) who STILL hold to the…

          “…unprofessional and un scholarly [AND–Rather Sophomoric] opinion is that these commandments are further evidence that man created the idea of God (biblical) and God did not create man!”

          THESE ARE THE GUYZ WHO–NOT ONLY REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT GENETIC CODES ARE THE LANGUAGE of LIFE WHOSE AUTHOR IS GOD…

          They TYPICALLY Refuse To Acknowledge That ANYONE (Their Own Mother–IN Particular)… had much… if anything… to do with Their Being Here–either.

          THESE ARE The Guyz who don’t want to feel beholden to Anybody BUT Themselves. However–“YOU” (Mom-Gurlfriend-B*tch-Whatever) ARE supposed to be SO ENTHRALLED by Their Awesomeness That You’ll Remain [email protected] Beck & Call–As IF It’s Possible For Such “Strings” To Connect & Operate IN ONE-WAY Directions–ONLY…

          It’s The Ol’ & Rather Sophomoric…
          Do As I Say–BUT–La La La La–I Can’t Hear YOU.

          Does ANY of THIS Sound–At All… Familiar 2 YOU–Erik… hmmmm ??

          Reply
          • Perry says:

            I concur with Mary.

            You complain that God saying “You shall have no other gods before me” is childish.

            That’s like one of your friends telling you his wife is cheating on him and you say to him, “WTF? You mean you are so insecure that you won’t share her with other men? What’s your problem?”

            This is a relationship. Loyalties are real. What people worship profoundly influences their behavior and values. Nothing less than the true God is worthy of our worship. If we have any self respect then we honor that truth.

            Reply
            • Mary Blanc says:

              And the truth is that…
              To listen to Many Christians preach the Protestant/Evangelical Edition of The Faith…

              ANYBODY NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE WHOLE STORY WOULD GET THE DISTINCT IMPRESSION THAT WHEN…

              “…God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life…”

              THAT–The Son of God was given in a manner not unlike the arrival of the Roman goddess–Athena–full grown from the head of God.

              The most positive thing that I could ever get other Mothers in “Moms In Touch” prayer groups to ever say about Mary, The Mother of Jesus was that She was humble & lowly. Dudes–She was a HELLOVEALOT MORE THAN THAT.

              Perry–You statements concerning marriage…
              “This is a relationship. Loyalties are real. What people worship profoundly influences their behavior and values.”

              Is all well & good. However–Jesus did NOT marry. The lifelong relationship He had was with His Mother who, with Joseph, raised Him & had authority over Him & saved Him when He made youthful errors of judgment as an adolescent in the Temple in Jerusalem & then–when She decided that He was finally “Ready For Prime Time” at the wedding in Cana–She let Him know & after a few smart-mouth remarks–Jesus obeyed Her & started His Public Ministry.

              Protestant Christianity–as a rule–fails to give Christ’s Own Mother the full honor & credit that’s due Her–which leads to a host of other serious problems of both Theological & Practical natures.

              Perry–Your last 2 statements are also very true…
              “Nothing less than the true God is worthy of our worship. If we have any self respect then we honor that truth.”

              Catholics worship GOD–FATHER/SON/HOLY SPIRIT–and contrary to …ahem… misunderstandings–do NOT “worship” Jesus’ Mother Mary. We respect & honor the truth of the fully human Mother of Jesus–Mary–who was…

              Beloved Daughter of GOD THE FATHER… And…
              Courageous Mother of GOD THE SON… And…
              Purest Vessel of GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT…

              AND…
              Any&All Attempts To Diminish, Dismiss &/or Discredit Her By Anybody Who’s READ The Bible–Amounts To The Bearing of False Witness.

    • Erik says:

      Oh, and I almost forgot one.
      Consuming mind altering substances.
      There was opium and wine at the time of the commandments and God should have seen cocaine and heroin coming in the future, after all it was God’s creation, yet God has nothing to say on this important matter.

      “Thou shall not consume any mind altering substance for pleasure” I think this would be more important than false testimoney.

      Reply
      • Mary Blanc says:

        “Consuming mind altering substances … God has nothing to say on this important matter.”

        Rather Sophomoric–YET AGAIN–Erik.

        1. GOD KNEW THAT HE’D GIVEN US The Strength & Intelligence To Explore, Discover, Reason & Ultimately Discern…

        Legitimate Social &/or Medicinal Use vs. Frivolous &/or Predatory Destructive Abuse of Mind & Perception Altering Substances.

        AND 2. You slipped “wine” on the Your list with “opium” and chased it with “cocaine and heroin”–Rather Disproportionate–Wouldn’t Ya Say ?? ANYWAY–Christ Himself–blessed & gave thanks for wine and had a glass with a meal…

        Doncha Know ??

        Reply
    • erik says:

      I assume you have watched the Ken Ham Bill Nye debate. I would not even call this a debate, I am glad Bill Nye was able to keep his composure debate this closed minded man. Wish they would have spent the 27 million dollars on feeding starving children then building that fantasy land museum. Ken Ham is proof we need to keep religion out of schools, let adults decide what to believe in or you will end up in a Ken Ham world.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Ken Ham does not represent my views at all.

        I will respond to your other question in time, thanks for your patience.

        Reply
      • Mary Blanc says:

        RE: “Wish they would have spent the 27 million dollars on feeding starving children then building that fantasy land museum.”

        Children (All of US–Actually) NEED Food For Our Minds & Souls–IN ADDITION TO–Our Bodies… Doncha Know ??

        However–One has to understand & harmonize with the general mindset of Area Parents or They will NOT bring Their Children to Your Programs.

        SO–Give Ken Ham CREDIT for building an Awesome Museum presenting Modeled Animals (both natural & culturally elaborated versions) & a Planetarium & a Petting Zoo & Camel Rides & a Botanical Garden & Theaters & a Food Court & ZIP LINES & much Much MORE–That IS Presented IN Ways & BY Means That ARE Respectful OF & Sensitive TO The Local Cultures & Manners Found… in & around Petersburg, Kentucky.

        The Trailside Museum of Natural History in River Forest, Illinois–HOWEVER–Has a Difference Audience That IT Has To Play To… SO–What Was Presented HERE ?? The “Darwin Celebration Days”… tho sry–You just missed them–the last day of the event was Feb 12.

        At Any Rate…
        THE POINT IS–To Encourage The Exploration of The Wonders & Beauty of All THE WORLD & UNIVERSE To Children IN Manners That Do NOT Cause ALARM To The Parents–NO MATTER WHAT GOOFY IDEAS MAY’VE BEEN UNREASONABLY DRILLED INTO THEIR HEADS… for example–that the world & all the life in it came about by random mutations & natural selection… THIS WHOPPER IS ORDERS of MAGNITUDE WORSE THAN… the decimal point errors found over on the creationists’ sides of these debates.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      Perry, I didn’t think it was fair to Christians or Bill Nye to even have the debate with Ham. I don’t think it was an even playing field. I understand a respect the “creation via evolution” argument, but this was pure ignorance.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Agreed.

        Now, I have to admit there is a small part of me that respects a person for the guts that it must take to believe something that goes against everything you can see taste and touch and measure, out of faith. There is a kind of strength of character in that.

        However the Bible never expects anyone to take anything on pure unadulterated blind faith. All the statements in the OT of “I am the God who brought you out of Egypt” anchors what is being said at the time to a well known prior fact in the recorded history of the Hebrews. Jesus asked: “which is harder, to say “your sins are forgiven or to say rise and walk”? and then he said rise and walk and the man walked.

        EVIDENCE. EVIDENCE. Not blind faith.

        Ken Ham believes his own interpretation of the Bible REGARDLESS of what science says just because he thinks that’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s not what you’re supposed to do. That’s not how people behave in the Bible. God doesn’t ask anyone to be a blind-faith Christian. Which is the whole point of everything I’ve written about Rational Christianity.

        Ken Ham is doing enormous damage to the reputation of Christianity because people think that clinging to a narrow, excruciatingly literal and outdated interpretation of the Bible is what Christians do. I apologize to all for what he is doing.

        Reply
    • Kenton Glick says:

      THANK YOU Perry. It’s hard to believe how much the anti-science crowd has taken over Christian belief, as if believing the world is 6,000 years old should become part of your confession of faith. You are one of the few voices of rationalism in a sea of blind faith that heaps scorn upon the work of science.

      So how do you restore a rational belief to a church that seems bent on throwing out science? People in my church think I have two heads because I accept many scientific conclusions over that of blind faith.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Kenton,

        None of the churches I’ve gone to in the last 20 years (admittedly only two) see any conflict between the Bible and science. Mostly because they’re not anal about the Bible. Don’t interpret that as meaning they don’t take it seriously because they do. But they understand that there are many views on this stuff, and that it is NOT a central tenet of faith.

        In any case you need to speak out and for a theologically oriented person you have to start with theology. There are all kinds of purely theological problems with young earth too.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      “Now, I have to admit there is a small part of me that respects a person for the guts that it must take to believe something that goes against everything you can see taste and touch and measure, out of faith. There is a kind of strength of character in that.”

      I can see why you would have to have some respect for this, you have to have some of this blind faith as well just to accept that the Bible is the word of God.
      Tell me how you could ever prove that God decided to have the bible written through several different (unknown writers) over time. God has already proven he could make tablets if you believe he created those fantastic, all inclusive, commandments. Why not make the bible in tablet form and deliver it, why not print it and bind it, this is God after all!

      No one ever questions these basic assumptions of the Bible, that God inspired 30 plus writers to create the Bible over time. If I was created by God can’t I ad a chapter to the Bible? Did the writers of the bible have some sort of special permission from God to write the Bible? What were all of their names? Where did they live? Who did they work for? What were their beliefs? What were their motivations? What were their fears?

      You will never be able to answer any of these questions satisfactory without making bold assumptions, without blind faith.

      Blind faith is unacceptable, people crash planes into buildings, blow themselves up, and drink poison Koolaid because of blind faith.

      Institutions and cult leaders prey on people with blind faith, I have no respect for it.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Would documented events of blind people seeing, deaf people hearing and lame people walking (similar to the Bible stories of Jesus) count as proof that God is actively involved in the world today?

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      Perry, I have made two very strong augments disputing God’s writing of the commandments and the Bible.
      1. Either the commandments were not written by God or God is a self centered male who only looks out for men and their possession. (for some reason you will not post this argument)
      2. In ordered to accept that the bible is the word of God we have to believe that 30 plus separate writers had a direct communications link with God. We cannot question this, we just have to accept this fact blindly with no substantial evidence that this could possibly be true.

      Your response to these very valid arguments is “hey look over here, let me show you some miracles”?
      Can people heal themselves? Yes the mind is connected to all of our cells, there are many things we do not understand, but to come to the conclusion that the Bible is the word of God and God must exist because people have healed is a giant leap that makes no sense. Please don’t tell me about faith healers, Jim Jones was also a faith healer and charlatan. The Amazing Randy has offered any faith healer 1 million dollars to show him a miracle faith healing that he couldn’t replicate (he is a magician and hypnotists) to this date no one has collect his money.
      I don’t want to “look over there”, I can’t get past the basics, there are huge problems with the foundation, I want to know how you can turn a blind eye to such troubling questions. Is it the law of commitment working here, are so committed to the faith that you do not bother to look at the obvious?

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        I will respond to your comments when I get time. You had a lot to say and I will respond appropriately.

        You flatly stated that there is no proof that any of the Biblical authors had any kind of connection to God.

        Well I can do even better than proving their prophecies came true and that they wrote their words before the events happened. I can show you modern day documented miracles and people who channel the power of God. I can show you the results in peer reviewed scientific studies.

        But if you don’t want to hear about that, then I can’t open your mind.

        You seem to have already made up your mind that no proof of this is possible. You actually said “We cannot question this, we just have to accept this fact blindly with no substantial evidence that this could possibly be true.”

        Well you are totally misrepresenting and misunderstanding the Christian message.

        Do you want your imaginary straw man version of Christianity or do you want the real version?

        I’m not going to force you to be honest with the facts. All I can point out is that you are being prejudiced and selective with your information.

        James Randi won’t even accept the Princeton University Engineering Anomalies Research lab results which have been published in peer reviewed publications for 30 years. Those results definitively prove paranormal activity. See “Margins of Reality” by Jahn and Dunn. Stanford University also did considerable research on similar topics for the US military, and the information was eventually declassified. Once again, paranormal activity was definitively demonstrated and documented. But… Randi doesn’t accept any of this. So as far as I’m concerned that makes him a pulpit pounding fundamentalist for whom no amount of evidence is sufficient. He lost credibility with me a long time ago.

        And don’t give me some BS about “Well Jim Jones was a faith healer, one guy was bad therefore all are bad.” That’s third grade logic.

        Are you open to evidence or not? Yes or no? Or to put it more directly:

        If I were somehow able to prove to you that God is real would you serve him?

        Yes or no?

        Let me know.

        Reply
      • Mary Blanc says:

        Erik- Your CLAIM to have given–“two very strong augments disputing God’s writing of the commandments and the Bible”–amounts to little more that a presentation of–Your Own Strong & Rather Sophomoric Opinions.

        Let’s examine “Exhibit A”–Your FIRST statement…
        “Either the commandments were not written by God or God is a self centered male who only looks out for men and their possession.”

        You’ve CONVENIENTLY FORGOTTEN TO INCLUDE ANY MENTION of WHAT WERE The Codes of Conduct & The Operant Conditioning IN The PRE-BIBLICAL World That GOD’S MESSAGES & STORIES & LAWS Served To Course-Correct.

        IT AMOUNTED TO–
        The Law of The Jungle… or Desert… as the case may be…
        Survival of the Strongest/Fittest
        Every Man For Himself
        Might Makes Right
        Kill OR Be Killed
        Eat OR Be Eaten
        Dog Eat Dog
        AND–Promoting AS Superior Values IN The Struggle For Survival–Brute Force & Self-Interest.

        Erik–THESE ARE The Commandments Written BY & FOR–Self-Centered Males Who Only Look Out For Men AND Their Possessions.

        The Commandments of The Bible Place GOD OVER ALL Men & Women–NO Matter How Strong/Beautiful &/or Fit/Deep That Man or Woman Might Be.

        The Commandments of The Bible ORDER A Day of Rest Each Week For US All.

        The Commandments of The Bible Direct US All To Honor Our Father & Mother.

        The Commandments of The Bible Direct US All To NOT Do Certain Things That We Know HAVE BEEN DONE Throughout All of History. The Adult Edition of Those “Trees of Forbidden Fruit” ARE–Murder, Adultery, Theft & Stating What We Know To Be False.

        Furthermore…
        The Commandments of The Bible Direct US All To NOT Spend Our Time Jonesing For What Our Neighbors Have.

        ANYWAY–
        After The Jewish People Had a Millennium or 2 To Work ON THESE Assignments… Jesus Arrived & Boiled The Old Testament Commandments Down To 2 GREATEST–OVER ALL–COMMANDMENTS…

        “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

        THESE ARE NOT THE COMMANDMENTS of some… “self centered male who only looks out for men and their possession”…

        THESE ARE THE COMMANDMENTS THAT We Women, in general, and Mothers, in particular, Recognized & Embraced As Being–AT LONG LAST & FINALLY–TRUE WORDS of GOD… and not just those of ordinary men… ENTERED INTO OUR WORLD–That We (by & large) Choose To Raise Our Sons & Daughters Upon.

        As for that second “strong argument” that You posted… “In ordered to accept that the bible is the word of God we have to believe that 30 plus separate writers had a direct communications link with God.”

        1. We All Have–Direct Communication Links With GOD… It’s just that We All have different ways & means for expression. The fact that the Old & New Testaments of The Bible are–Done Deals–does NOT mean that there isn’t any more Inspired Writing happening TODAY–Baby. PLUS–The work of translating The Bible will NEVER End.

        2. Methinks that what You’re REALLY up to with this “30 plus separate writers” red herring–is to shift the discussion into a blind alley.

        Dude–You DON’T Have To Read ANY MORE Than The FIRST 3 WORDS of The First Sentence of The First Chapter of The First Book of The Bible…

        “In the beginning…”

        TO KNOW THAT THIS STORY OF & BY & FROM GOD IS THE TRUE ONE.

        NO OTHER “Creation Story” IN The World–’til THIS ONE–Spoke of The Universe Having a Start & An End. They All Spoke of The Timeless… Endless… Cycles of Life & Death & Re-Birth.

        IN FACT–
        Cosmic Physicists Throughout MOST ALL of The 20th Century TRIED Every Which Way They COULD To Show That The Universe Was IN Some Sort of Steady State… or Endlessly Repeating Cycles of Explosion & Expansion & Contraction & Implosion & Explosion–Again…

        AND–What They Managed To ESTABLISH By Observing The Most Distant & The Most Cosmically Ancient Edges of Our Universe By Means of The Most Powerful Telescopes–AND–Crunching All The Numbers–IS–That The Bible of Judeo-Christianity has been correct all along concerning… Our Universe-Our World-Ourselves–We are NOT caught in endlessly repeating “do-loops”… We All Have Our Beginnings… And We Will All Come To Our Ends… and unique stuff will occur to & with & from US All–during that leap from start to finish… that will have ripple effects in the world… and will echo if only in the Mind of GOD–Forever & EVER. Amen & Women.

        SO–Erik–I’ll slightly modify & ask You–Your Own Question…

        Are YOU so committed to stubborn denial that You do not bother–in fact, REFUSE–to look at the obvious?

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      I can’t help what bothers me, I can’t just ignore the obvious, I see the obvious , this is my biggest problem. I see Jews raising Jews, I see Muslims Raising Muslims, Christians raising Christians and Atheists raising Atheists. The Bible, the Koran and Darwin’s Origins of the Species’ are all Books written by men inspired by what they believe. This to me is so obvious, almost elementary but so troubling for those buried into a belief. Everyone claims that their book only speaks the truth, life is not that simple or black and white.
      “Methinks that what You’re REALLY up to with this “30 plus separate writers” red herring–is to shift the discussion into a blind alley.”
      Meso thinks you are JarJar Binks…
      Once again, if you are going to make outrageous claims you better be able to have a frank and open discussion about the blind alley. Yes I want to shine some light into the alley you refuse to enter. Did some writers put together some tales that were inspired by their love of God and call it the Bible? Hey that would be a reasonable explanation for what the Bible really is, a collection of stories. If you are going to tell me that the Bible is the word of God then I am going to need some back ground information on the writers. Sorry to be so demanding and nosey, I think this matters! Who paid their wages while they were writing, I think this matter allot!

      As for The Amazing Randy, why would you like this guy, he is tough on charlatans and scammers, the world is full of them. We need more people like James Randy to shine some light into the dark corners no one wants to look into. Jim Jones is not the only bad faith Healer, there are dozens of them operating right now, pointing this out may be childlike but it is necessary. Maybe I shouldn’t point out the fact that the Vatican is hiding dozens of pedophiles from the reach of the UN and at the same time using church donation money to provide them with a nice comfortable living while they are in hiding. Is this child like of me, maybe but I feel it is also necessary that a light be shined in this dark corner.
      Did God write the commandments or were they written by someone who was inspired by their love of God?
      Is the Bible the word of God, or was it written by a few men who were inspired by their love of God?
      Can I add a chapter to the Bible if I feel inspired by God?

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Erik,

        Yes I know there are scammers. I don’t know how you got here and maybe you’re not familiar with the business side of this website but there’s a lot of scams in business too. Doesn’t mean all businesses or all business opportunities are a scam.

        Absolutely there are scammers in religion and that is a MAJOR MAJOR theme of the Bible. Yes Jim Jones is a scammer. Doesn’t mean they’re all scammers.

        But what you are doing is simply trading one scammer for another. That always happens, by the way, when we set ourselves up as some sort of ultimate judge of other people.

        James Randi is a scammer. How do I know this? He rejects published, replicatable, peer reviewed, ivy league research that definitively proves the paranormal with exhaustive research techniques and statistics. James Randi is a flat-out liar. Not to mention the fact that I have personally witnessed all kinds of miracles and I an point to scientific studies verifying the effectiveness of healers etc. I HAVE SEEN THEM WITH MY OWN EYES. I don’t need any scientist to back me up. Nevertheless I do have scientists backing me up!

        Are you interested in hearing more about that, Erik? I can give you lots of stuff to chew on. If you are interested.

        By the way, did I mention? James Randi is a liar. A purebred black and white fundamentalist if there ever was one. I am amazed at how people who HATE fundamentalists always end up becoming…. fundamentalists. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, this list goes on and on. Mirror images of the people they so revile.

        Do you want to know about the Bible writers?

        Read a book for goodness sake. It’s only one of the 200 most explored topics in western history. Seriously, there are answers if you want them. You won’t get them if you choose to be belligerent and disrespectful. Read William Lane Craig or NT Wright or the reams of Jewish literature on this topic. You will find LOTS of answers. Here’s a really good start: http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/anne-rice-atheist-christ/?

        You didn’t answer my question:

        If I could somehow prove to you that the God I serve was real, would you serve him?

        Reply
      • Mary Blanc says:

        “Meso thinks you are JarJar Binks…”
        LOL–I DID state that what You’d written was “Rather Sophomoric”–Thanks for this confirmation.

        Anyway–As for some of Your earlier statements…
        RE: “I see the obvious , this is my biggest problem. I see Jews raising Jews, I see Muslims Raising Muslims, Christians raising Christians and Atheists raising Atheists.”

        That’s What You See.
        Let Me Tell Ya What I See…
        THAT–Over the course of the last 2 Millennia…
        Jews & Muslims & Christians & Atheists WE ARE ALL (by x large) on roads to becoming evermore… Christ-like… Which IS–THE POINT.

        As for Your last question…
        “Can I add a chapter to the Bible if I feel inspired by God?”

        NOPE.
        THAT Ship Has Sailed.
        HOWEVER–Feel Free To Write As MANY Chapters To As MANY Books As You Feel Inspired To Write… and then see if Anybody Else feels inspired after reading them.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      I will answer your question when you give me the simple yes or no answers I have been asking for weeks now. 1. Did God write the Bible (not pysically pen it, are those his or hers words)? Yes or No 2. Did God write the commandments? Yes or No

      How hard can this be?

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        1) Most emphatically no
        2) Yes

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      Yes there are some business are corrupt as are some institutions. We have departments and agencies that will go after bad business; owners will hopefully get caught and prosecuted. Word gets out and no one wants to do business with them anymore.
      When you hide behind the word of God there should be a higher standard than operating a business, there should be more checks and balances as people are more willing to suspend all rational thought when it comes to religion. It is very easy to take advantage of believers in the name of God yet there are very few checks and balances.
      Religions and their institutions need to be called out, they need to questioned, they need to be held accountable. Not that long ago I would not be able to ask any of these questions, the church would burn me for my audacity to question their authority. Christopher Hitchings is one of the very few men to hold the Catholic Church responsible for their actions. What a pompous, arrogant, deviant, corrupt institution that needs to constantly held responsible for their actions, they are not above the law. I don’t know any business in the world that would get away with raping children, then hiding their pedophiles unless they had the word of God behind them. Even the pond scum that make pornography are held to a higher standard than the Church! Who else is going to stand up for these children if there were not people like Hitchens around calling them out.
      As for James Randy, all he wants is to control the environment before he will accept any proof. Handing him a paper from an Ivey league School is not acceptable proof. Repeat the experiment in front of Randy with magicians present in a controlled environment; this is what he demands for proof. Ivey league student are not above trickery. The US government wanted to recruit gifted people who had the ability to read minds for their military and their intelligence. James Randi warned them that they need some magicians present in order to validate their findings, they ignored him. Randi hired 2 magicians and sent them to apply to the government; he gave them the instructions “if they ask you if you are a magician tell them yes”. Both of Randy’s magicians passed the tests with flying colors, they were hired, Randy then came clean. Why is it that there are no faith healings that involve anything substantial, like replacing a missing limb or separating conjoined twins, there seems to be a limit to the bag of tricks. Despite what you think of Randy he actually hopes to one day be proven wrong and pay out his million dollars. I don’t believe his standard of proof is too difficult to achieve, pull of the event in the presence of trickery masters, in their environment. If Randy was a scammer as you claim he would have taken his skills and claimed he was a prophet, or working through God. Randy could have built up a nice devout following and a tax free fortune over his lifetime!
      “If I could somehow prove to you that the God I serve was real, would you serve him?”
      What do you mean by serve him?
      Also is God a male? (referring to the “him”)

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        You have no argument from me about the culpability of the Catholic church with abuse scandals etc.

        Do you not think that this also happens in the public schools?

        This study says the problem there is 100X worse:

        http://wizbangblog.com/2011/07/08/sexual-abuse-of-students-in-schools-is-likely-more-than-100-times-the-abuse-by-priests/

        I’m not excusing anybody. Just pointing out that the Catholic church is not where most of the problem actually lies.

        James Randy HAS built up a nice devout following and a tax free fortune over his lifetime. He runs a multi-million dollar info marketing business with a cult following under the guise of a nonprofit. Books, tapes, seminars, newsletters, the whole nine yards. Brilliant. And dishonest as well.

        It is not my job to convince Randi. All I can do is cite published, publicly available research from multiple respected institutions that clearly contradicts his assertions.

        Yes God is in some sense male because God is a father.

        “Why is it that there are no faith healings that involve anything substantial, like replacing a missing limb or separating conjoined twins, there seems to be a limit to the bag of tricks.”

        There are faith healings that are substantial and physical and definitive. Deaf heal, blind see, lame walk. Would you consider those? Serving God = becoming a follower of Christ. If I could prove to you Christ is real would you follow him?

        Reply
        • Mary Blanc says:

          Today–Let’s take a look at some of the “Catholic Church” statements that’ve been posted here in the last week…

          Erik–“Religions and their institutions need to be called out, they need to questioned, they need to be held accountable. Not that long ago I would not be able to ask any of these questions, the church would burn me for my audacity to question their authority. Christopher Hitchings is one of the very few men to hold the Catholic Church responsible for their actions. What a pompous, arrogant, deviant, corrupt institution that needs to constantly held responsible for their actions, they are not above the law.”

          Perry–“You have no argument from me about the culpability of the Catholic church with abuse scandals etc.”

          Erik–FINISH YOUR STORY–DUDE–RE: “Not that long ago I would not be able to ask any of these questions, the church would burn me for my audacity to question their authority… “…

          You’re discussing times back when Europe was operating more like Afghanistan still does today–Times of endless permutations of “Tribal Warfare” where Church Authority was the ONLY source of anything remotely approaching a Universal Voice & Appeal.

          The FRUIT of much of the 2nd Millennium’s worth of European Growing Pains–IS TO BE FOUND IN–The American Revolution’s Declaration of Independence & US Constitution + Bill of Rights.

          In Our Nation…
          Grounded in the declaration… “that all [mankind] are created equal”… all of mankind’s institutions should be equal in the eyes of the law–as well.

          AND–For All US–Individuals & Institutions…
          Those “checks and balances” are NOT “necessary evils”–THEY’RE The “Prescribed Goods” of History’s Lessons [email protected] CO$ & Terrible Suffering.

          FURTHERMORE–Erik–RE: “If there are people following you around harassing you if you choose not to believe then it is a cult, not just a belief system. If there is a wall around your environment keeping you from leaving, it is a cult. If young girls (not even legal) are forced to marry older men, it is a cult. If you are not allowed to think or read anything other than what you are told to, it is a cult.”

          IN THIS Post-Penn State Child Sex Abuse Scandal ERA…

          [NOTE: “a result of longtime former university football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual assault of at least 8 underage boys on or near university property, and alleged actions by some university officials to cover up the incidents or to enable more…”]

          We NOW Know…

          #1 – There Are Many Cults AMONG US (Sports Cults–For One)… where BOYS are followed & harassed if they choose not to “believe” and–for those on the inside–there are walls all around keeping them from leaving AND keeping Outsiders’ Eyes from seeing in and–young boys (not even legal) are forced to submit to older men and–are not allowed to talk about… what happens… to Anybody–EVER.

          #2 – Attempts to discuss “sex abuse of boys” (of any age) as if it’s only or mostly a “Catholic Church” problem–IS–TO BEAR FALSE WITNESS.

          Thank Goodness…
          After All The Years unto Decades unto Centuries of SUPPRESSION & COVER-UP…

          Members of The US Military ARE FINALLY Starting To ‘Fess UP About Their Serious (and seriously hushed up) Problems of Male2Male “Sexual Assault.”

          AND WHY–You May Ask…
          ARE WE FINALLY Getting SOMEWHERE With Acknowledging & Resolving THESE–LOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooong Censored, Denied, Quashed & Otherwise-Given-The-“Code of Silence”-Treatment–ISSUES… hmmmm… ??

          YUP–You GOT IT.
          BECAUSE–IN Greater Numbers Than EVER Before… That CONTINUE To grow & Grow & GROW…
          US Galz Are Serving IN All Branches of The US Military–AND–Are Leading The Way.

          As A Rule…
          MOST All of The Former BOYZ CLUBS / Gurlz Keep OUT–ZONES…

          Such as where James Randi spent The BULK of His Time… in and among groups such as The International Brotherhood of Magicians… and Randi’s Own–James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF)… and various other arms of the International Gay Community… THAT–AS A MATTER of FACT & NOW… much as is observed over in the Military’s Ranks… Have more&More&MORE Female Members IN & AMONG THEM.

          ANYWAY–
          These “Private Organizations” Operate IN PARALLEL TO Religious Institutions–EVEN IF They CLAIM To Operate IN OPPOSITION TO Religious Institutions.

          FURTHERMORE–
          Like most “Catholic Priests”…
          James Randi has no children of His Own.
          And–Like “some” former Catholic Priests…
          About 4 years ago–Randi announced that He’s gay and 3+ years later–He married His partner of 27 years–GOOD FOR YOU BOTH.

          ANYWHO–
          I–TOO–GIVE FULL SUPPORT TO EFFORTS–Such As James Randi’s That…

          “…demonstrated flaws in studies suggesting the existence of paranormal phenomena; in his Project Alpha hoax, Randi revealed that he had been able to orchestrate a three-year-long compromise of a privately funded psychic research experiment. The hoax became a scandal and demonstrated the shortcomings of many paranormal research projects at the university level.”

          AS I HAVE ALSO WITNESSED FAR TOO MUCH IN THE WAY of So-Called “SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH & RESULTS” THAT WERE cheap’n’EZ tricks & HOAXES PASSED OFF–AT GREAT EXPENSE–ONTO US TAXPAYERS–IN Particular.

          We “CATS” Know That There’s ALWAYS Going To BE cheating by “mice” Who Just Wanna Play All Day & [email protected] Cheese… BUT–For Goodness Sakes–Let’s Make ‘Em WORK For IT A Little Bit. After All–ISN’T CHALLENGING “RECEIVED WISDOM” A LARGE PART of WHAT A University Education IS SUPPOSED TO BE ALL ABOUT–IN THE FIRST PLACE ??

          I’ve Known TOO MANY “BOOMERS”–In Particular–WHO Were All About “Questioning Authority” IN THEIR REBELLIOUS YOUTH… However… NOW–That THEY’RE The Ones IN Authority–They’ve Done EVERYTHING IN Their Power To Make IT VERY “Politically Incorrect” To EVER Question or Challenge THEIR Authority–ESPECIALLY–The University Educated Authorities Among US. James Randi may very well be a pompous azz… but the world being the way it is… Ya USUALLY Gotta BE ONE–Yourself–To Effectively Challenge Another ONE.

          At Any Rate…
          James Randi (does Anybody Else see a bit of a resemblance to Fellow Canadian–Donald Sutherland ??) is 85 years old & in failing health. Soon–It will be Somebody Else’s turn to pick up where He’s left off…

          However–Seriously Erik–2000 years from now… NOBODY’S gonna remember JREF–but The Catholic Church WILL STILL BE PRESENT & We Hope–Better Accounted For.

          FINAL NOTE 4 TODAY…
          In 1974–Randi, defining the community of magicians, stated, “I know of no calling which depends so much upon mutual trust and faith as does ours.”

          Do Tell.
          I Got ANOTHER & EQUALLY (IF NOT MORE)–Mutual Trust & Faith Dependent Calling–For YOU That… IN Your Deep & Highly Self-Esteemed Consideration… You’ve Evidently OVERLOOKED–Married/Motherhood.

          Reply
      • Mary Blanc says:

        RE: “When you hide behind the word of God there should be a higher standard than operating a business, there should be more checks and balances as people are more willing to suspend all rational thought when it comes to religion. It is very easy to take advantage of believers in the name of God yet there are very few checks and balances.”

        LOL–Erik…

        #1 – Very few checks & balances when it comes to religion–You Say ?? Dude–IN America–You Don’t HAVE TO GO… once You’re old enough that Your Parents can no longer MAKE You attend–AND–Those IN Attendance Are NOT FORCED To Put Generous Checks INTO The Collection Basket… at least… They Aren’t IN My Church–SO–RIGHT THERE ARE Your “checks and balances”–As Religious Institutions IN America Wouldn’t Even BE HERE IF They Weren’t VOLUNTARILY SUPPORTED.

        AND–TOO BAD–IF Ya Got A PROBLEM With THAT.

        #2 – Yeah–Christopher Hitchens was good for a laugh. His gift was to make “Teenage Rebel” ideas sound… more profound & erudite… than they really were.

        CH: “Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did.”

        AND–THIS Goes DOUBLE & RE-DOUBLE For Atheism.
        At The End of Their Day… when You examine what most of Atheism’s “prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did”… They droned on&on&on&on and DID–nexta nuthin… Because–You’ll Find That Most of Workers of The World ARE Ultimately People of Faith (even if They did go thru an atheist phase–for whatever length of time).

        #3 – AND–LOL–Your demands that religion should be held to higher standards than business echo Gliberal Commentators who’ve used a similar line of rationalization in order to claim that Republicans should be held to higher standards than Democrats.

        At Any Rate–Erik…
        At CERTAIN Ages&Stages–It’s ALSO True THAT…
        “…people are more willing to suspend all rational thought when it comes to [OPPOSING] religion.”

        AND–THAT’S A Sweet-Spot Where LOTS of MONEY IS MADE BY Those IN The BIZ of Preying UPON Those Caught UP IN The Throes of DOUBT & DENIAL & DEFIANCE.

        Doubt vs. Faith…
        Which “dog wins” this fight depends upon the Person… as They choose… which of Their “dogs” to feed–MORE.

        Reply
    • Erik says:

      I will answer you shortly, I was wondering why you still have not posted my post regarding the commandments? I know you have not had time to answer the post but why hold it back?

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        It’s posted.

        Reply
        • Mary Blanc says:

          Erik–Perhaps this note of confusion is due to Your having missed where Perry outsourced the “commandments response” task to Me on February 19 @ 6:39 am ??

          At any rate…
          Perry–You’ve asked Erik twice now…
          “If I could somehow prove to you that the God I serve was real, would you serve him?”

          The thang is…
          “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”

          To attend any of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festivals (in Person or via DVD) is to attend a celebration that gives Praise & Thanks To GOD while raising funds & awareness for Eric’s Crossroads Certre drug treatment programs in Antigua.

          THIS IS REAL SERVICE–HONORING GOD & DOING HIS WORK HERE ON EARTH. We Boomers–Especially–Should (continue to) Take Eric Clapton’s Lead… And Spend The Time & Talents & Treasures of Our Maturity IN & ON Efforts For Which We’re Best Prepared–AND–Apply The Skills & Know-HOW That We Developed Over Our Careers To Help Course-Correct Any Misleading Influences That We Might’ve Caused To–IF NOT–Enter INTO Our World (After All–MOST of The BAD Influences IN The World HAVE BEEN HERE For Centuries Unto Millennia)… HOWEVER–We Might’ve Furthered WRONGFUL Influences INSTEAD of COUNTERING THEM.

          IN Other Words…
          Yes–The Time Has Come For…
          Counter Culture’s ACT II To–BEGIN.

          Reply
          • Mary Blanc says:

            btw…
            The Praise & Thanks Given To [email protected] Crossroads Guitar Festivals Are Offered IN Ways & BY Means That REFLECT & RESPOND To Christ’s New Commandment–“…love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

            AND–IF There’s ANYTHING That Christ’s Love Was NOT…
            IT WAS NOT Bound UP By The Doctrine Known As–“Sola Scriptura.”

            Reply
    • Erik says:

      “If I could prove to you Christ is real would you follow him?”
      There is no proof you could offer me that Christ is real? What do you mean by real?
      Did he ever walk the earth? This may be the only thing you may ever come close to offering proof of but why would I follow a dead man that once walked the earth? That he is the son of God? You can’t offer me any valid proof that God exists, so you cannot offer me proof that Christ is his son. All of the proof you and many others have is based on faith not science, this is not proof.
      I have sit here watching the insanity around the missing Malaysia 777 and I see how desperately people need to hear something even if it is not the truth, they are looking for something. How many theories have people developed over the last 12 days? There are different camps forming and so called experts spouting their theories. This is what we do, this is the nature of the beast. No one wants to hear from someone who states the truth “we don’t know what happened, we will only know when and if the black box is recovered.”
      Christ doesn’t have a black box, but if we could travel back in time and take his blood, do a DNA test I am sure we would find his real father rather quickly by taking blood samples from all the men his mother came into contact with 9 months prior to his birth. What is more plausible, a magical man in the sky just decided one day to randomly impregnate a young Jewish woman, or that a Jewish woman is capable of lying? By the way, what would Gods DNA look like?
      Mary you seem to think that I believe we came from nothing, this is not the case. I have seen things I could never explain, miracles if you like. I just do not believe we have a clue why or how we arrived here, we will continue to make up religions to explain ourselves. If you want to call all that we do not understand God, then I am with you.
      No I would not follow Christ, you could never offer any substantial proof that he is real.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        You did not answer my question.

        If I could prove to you Christ is real would you follow him?

        And from now on, in order to participate in this conversation, you must use your full name. No more anonymity.

        Reply
    • Erik Holmes says:

      Perry, given the complete lack of information in the question I would have to say “no I would not follow Christ if you could prove he is real”. You have not adequately defined the term real, or what your expectations of following are.
      I would not ask you the question “ If I could prove that Christ is not real would you stop following him”?
      or “If I could prove that Ala is real would you follow him”? I have no skin in the game, yet for you there is a reward from what you were taught, a convert equals a win.
      I can tell you I could never prove to you that Christ is not real, to you he is real, I get that. To me he is not real, nor is God real. I have seen some of your posts online regarding this debate; I find nothing there that would change my mind. Maybe you have some new ideas, I would enjoy seeing them. I am sure you have seen all of my arguments before, nothing is really new, it is an age old debate.
      I enjoyed your analogy of a faithful married and a God that demands worship. If you are going to compare God to a wife then we need to have a level playing field. The marriage would have been arranged since you were a child. Your parents would tell you that your wife loves you but if you ever see another woman she will punish you and your children’s children. When you were of age your parents tell you that you will never get to see your new wife, nor can you see an image of her. As the years go on you would come to the conclusion your parents are lying to you, and that you should ignore them and find a new wife. Or you could continue with the marriage until you die. I would hope I would have enough sense to give up the invisible wife.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Erik,

        If someone could prove to me that Jesus is not who he says he was, I would not follow him. If you could prove for example that Jesus never rose from the dead, that would be sufficient. I think the case FOR Jesus having risen from the dead is quite robust.

        I will follow the truth wherever it leads.

        It sounds as though you …. would not?

        Reply
    • Mary Blanc says:

      Good Afternoon–Erik Holmes.

      Planet Perry seems to be sending Me signs that it’s time for Me to–EXIT–these discussions. I don’t know if the last post that I submitted (in response to Your March 25 @ 11:03pm comments that were directed to Me) were received. Obviously–They’ve NOT been published.

      ANYWAY–
      As for these comments of Yours uploaded on March 28 @ 5:14pm…

      “If I could prove that Ala is real would you follow him”?

      GOOD POINT.

      Ala (I prefer to spell it “Allah”)–“He is the only God, creator of the universe, and the judge of humankind.”

      “He is unique (w??id) and inherently one (a?ad), all-merciful and omnipotent.”

      The Qur’an declares “the reality of Allah, His inaccessible mystery, His various names, and His actions on behalf of His creatures.”

      OF COURSE–One Would EXPECT THAT The Common Denominator of Judaism & Christianity & Islam–MONOTHEISM–Should Have A Familiar RING Across These BIG 3…

      AND SO–These Statements of Allah DO Resonate With Things That Christians Teach of The First Person of The Trinity GOD The Father–AND–With What Jews Teach of THE GREAT “I AM”

      THAT SAID–
      I Agree With YOU That…
      IF–Anybody is so poorly formed in Christian Faith that They somehow have gotten the idea that seeing The Risen Christ IN Their Life is gonna be a… possibly… lifelong wait to MAYBE SOMEDAY see The Invisible Man–THEN–Yes…

      “I would [ALSO] hope [They] would have enough sense to give up the invisible [Christ idea–too.]”

      AS IS SO OFTEN–The Case…
      One of My favorite stories that serves to teach us how to see Christ–comes from Jewish Traditions…

      The rabbi asked his students: “How can we determine the hour of the dawn, when the night ends and the day begins?”

      One of the students suggested: “When from a distance you can see the difference between a dog and a sheep?”

      “No,” answered the rabbi.

      “Is it when you can tell the difference between a fig tree and a grapevine?” asked a second student.

      “No,” the rabbi said.

      “Please tell us the answer then,” said the students.

      “It is dawn,” said the wise teacher, “when you look into the face of another human being and you have enough light in you to recognize your brother or sister. Until then it is night, and darkness is still with us.”

      Reply
    • Erik Holmes says:

      Perry,
      The idea of you searching around for the truth with no preconceived ideas or notions is a stretch. Like I have said before you do not have a “CM” button like a calculator. Even though you think you can put your Christianity on the back burner to search for the truth, it will creep out and taint everything.
      What is the truth any way and who exactly has the right to it? The only possible evidence you are going to have for me a documents that were written thousands of years ago, do these documents hold the truth? According to who? What possible influence did the writers of these documents have? Who were they working for? What was in it for them? Are there eye whiteness accounts? What possible influences could the whiteness be under? How could anyone one possibly have any documents about anyone that hold the complete truth when we distort facts about our own lives all the time?
      Again I ask you, if you could prove to me with actual physical evidence that Christ died then rose again how does this in any way prove that he is the son of God?
      When we are debating spiritual beliefs there is no truth and there is no proof, there are only beliefs and historical documents.
      The truth you were looking for was Perry’s truth and it is different than anyone else’s truth. I would not follow your truth, I follow my own truth, we all do. Asking me to follow your beliefs or truths if you can prove something is a bizarre request and is irrelevant to the discussion. I don’t at any point in this discussion expect you to put your hands up in the air and say “Erik was right, I will no longer follow Christ”. Why is this such an important expectation for you?
      Take a look at any history book that children have had in the classrooms of North America. Is this the truth, did Christopher Columbus discover America, did Europeans settle the America’s only to face resistance from angry savages?
      Try telling this same history to an elderly First Nations person, they would have a very different version of the truth! Historical documents are under the influence of multiple factors including the writers beliefs, power, money, control, religion and many others, the truth is not high on the list! In fact I will argue the truth is very boring and not always worth documenting.
      So show me the truth according to Perry…

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        As Pilate said before he washed his hands of Jesus’ murder: “What is truth?”

        Reply
        • Mary Blanc says:

          Yeah…
          That was the line that occurred to Me–too.

          Reply
    • Kenton Glick says:

      This is a great discussion. But it appears to me that Perry seems to have an expectation that all it takes is for some logical arguments to be set forth, and then people will have all they need to “come to Jesus”.

      As a believer in God and His Son Jesus Christ, I’m cheering for you and the great things you’re doing with this site. But you can’t “absolutely prove” the existence of God through purely logical argument, even less “prove” through logic that Jesus is who the bible says he is. Why else would it be called “faith”?

      You can demonstrate that there is a very rational and reasonable thread of argument for the existence of God. But that’s not PROOF. And faith in Jesus Christ can NEVER be built on some rock-solid, impervious logical argument, a la Josh McDowell. Perry, it feels like you are mixing these two arguments into one, as if believing in God and having faith in Jesus can be viewed as the same step. They can’t. These are two separate questions approached on very different levels.

      The very definition of faith demands that it be built on something different. Honestly, the question “If I could prove Jesus Christ is real, would you follow him?” is a non-question. YOU can’t prove that to anybody. There is a logical component to faith, and there is a purely subjective component to faith; it’s far easier to address the former in an internet forum than it is the latter.

      Perhaps Erik might think that the subjective component of faith renders it useless. So what if faith has a subjective component? The truth of the matter is that the majority of human decisions are made with a subjective component as part of the equation. We are subjective beings; that is written into our wiring.

      Bottom line: faith is not born of logic. It can be part of the equation, but ultimately it is defined as an inner work of the Spirit. And Erik, before you get on your high horse about invisible spirit forces, science has done a great deal to reveal the invisible forces that govern the operation of the universe.

      Believing that there is an invisible force called God can be a perfectly rational conclusion. So can agnosticism or atheism depending on your individual life circumstances. I personally find the theory that there are forces guiding the complexity of this world into existence to be far more satisfying than the operation of blind chance.

      Einstein believed in the existence of God. I don’t think he was the sort of person to cling to faith statements just because his parents taught him that way. No; like many other intelligent people who believe in God, he worked through and sorted it out within his own mind, and that’s where he came out. Actually, he stated it was one of the guiding principles of his thinking.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Kenton,

        I asked the question to find out if he is really seeking, or if he is just here to argue. A real seeker would say “Yes if you could somehow prove Jesus / God etc yes I would follow him.” I can’t “prove” Jesus but Jesus’ validity can certainly be demonstrated. Jesus demonstrated his own validity when he healed the paralytic and said “Which is easier, to forgive sins or say rise and walk?”

        Based on Erik’s answers I do not believe he is even open to the possibility that Jesus is who he says he is.

        I must take exception to something you said:

        “Believing that there is an invisible force called God can be a perfectly rational conclusion. So can agnosticism or atheism depending on your individual life circumstances.”

        Agnosticism is a perfectly understandable place for people to be in. But after 20 years of intensive conversations with atheists, and initially thinking that it might be a sensible position, I now know that Atheism is not rational. One must suspend belief in rationality and everything we know about cause and effect, just to attempt to explain why there is anything instead of nothing at all. See http://www.perrymarshall.com/godel or http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com for more.

        Atheism, despite initial appearances, is all based on circular reasoning. It cannot be defended with reason or logic. I believe in most cases it is merely an emotional reaction to disappointment with one’s prior idea of God.

        Reply
      • Perry says:

        Case in point, Erik said:

        “Again I ask you, if you could prove to me with actual physical evidence that Christ died then rose again how does this in any way prove that he is the son of God?”

        If Erik cannot even recognize the significance of someone rising from the dead – if he actually needs this to be explained to him – then I shake the dust off my feet and move on. Erik is wasting my time. And yours.

        Reply
    • Erik Holmes says:

      “I asked the question to find out if he is really seeking, or if he is just here to argue. A real seeker would say “Yes if you could somehow prove Jesus / God etc yes I would follow him.”
      In sales it is called pre qualifying a prospect, why waste your time if you are not going to make the sale? Just move on to the next prospect that appears to fall for all the sales tricks. I don’t understand why a religious discussion without the possibility of a conversion is a waste of time to you? Is this what you learn in church?

      Reply
    • Erik Holmes says:

      “If Erik cannot even recognize the significance of someone rising from the dead – if he actually needs this to be explained to him – then I shake the dust off my feet and move on. Erik is wasting my time. And yours”.
      Perry, although you have come to the scientific conclusion that if someone dies and then comes back to life again they are the Son of God, my simple mind cannot connect the dots! It maybe that I have a relative that was pronounced dead on the operating table for several minutes after the doctors gave up, he came back. He had an unexplainable out of body experience and witnessed some amazing thing during his time of death. Since his experience he has connected with many others who have shared his experience. Unlike Christ, there were medical doctors present to witness their deaths. Not one of these people has ever claimed to be the son of God because of their experience, nor did they find Christ on their return, or during their absence. They did gain a strong sense of spirituality and that we are all more connected then we think. So tell me in simple man terms how are these two connected.

      Reply
      • Perry says:

        Your relative wasn’t crucified and dead for three days.

        Reply
    • Mary Blanc says:

      One “last final” post from Me in THIS discussion–I promise…

      The Companion Evidence…
      That Jesus Christ IS The Son of GOD–as revealed to His Apostles & Disciples & Other Witnesses who saw & otherwise experienced that–He Died ON The Cross & Then Rose Again–JUST AS HE’D PROMISED HE WOULD…

      IS–The Virgin Birth.

      I was asked a little over 10 years ago… by a 7th Grader in a CCD class (a Catholic religious ed program) that I was teaching… “What IS a Virgin Birth?”

      I don’t remember exactly how I answered Him–other than that My answer was rather lame… However–At Least… As is true for all Teachers “worth their salt”–the fact that I didn’t have a good answer to THIS Key Question THAT Time… stayed on My Mind until–I Did.

      Loss of virginity & birth–itself–are two events marked by blood loss (of differing degrees) in a Woman’s Life.

      The Virgin Birth Was Bloodless.
      After 9 months of pressure building within Mary–Jesus was born into the world outside Her womb without His Mother having shed one drop of [email protected] His Conception OR His Birth.

      Of Course–The Case of a ONE & ONLY TIME IN THE HISTORY of THE HUMAN FAMILY Bloodless Birth Has NOT Been Posited IN The Written Words of The New Testament…

      As is the case for so much about each & every one of us… some pictures ARE WORTH 1000 WORDS for conveying certain meanings & particular messages… and so it is that We Find Mary’s Story Told BEST & MOST OFTEN By Means of Art & Architecture.

      There IS NO “Church of The Holy Afterbirth” in Bethlehem to mark the place where Jesus’ placenta was buried because there was none. The blood & water that normally flow out as part & parcel to the process of giving birth came NOT from Mary at the time of Jesus’ birth… but 33 (or so) years later… from Christ–on the cross.

      Christ is the First KNOWN To Have RISEN To Such New Life…

      We–Who Believe & Practice & Profess The Faith Handed ON To US … Tho We’re All “Faulty” Followers (OR–Do You spell it “Fawlty” ??)… Are… Christ’s Afterbirth–so to speak–in the manner of parables that Christ Himself so often employed.

      At Any Rate…
      I don’t come down SO HARD on Agnostics or even Atheists… anymore. After All–Even (Actually–ESPECIALLY) Among Christ’s MOST ARDENT of BELIEVERS… There Are Plenty of Corners & Aspects of …The Whole of Christ’s Life… That so-called & self-termed BELIEVERS Avoid &/OR–DENY–TOO.

      When the end of Our Life IN This World comes… as it will to US All… It’s Our Own Body-Mind-Spirit That IS The Kingdom To Which Christ Holds The Ultimate Keys… and as the lights go out–so will Our Former Desires for those “other gods” that may’ve ruled us for however long… and then We’ll See–Our Own “End” IS Actually Glorious Beyond All Words–JUST AS HE’D PROMISED IT WOULD BE…

      Reply
    • Erik holmes says:

      “Your relative wasn’t crucified and dead for three days.”

      You have a massive Leap to make to draw a link from being dead and rising again to being the son of God. You are now going to impose a set of rules on this Gap as to the type of death and the length of time you are dead for? Where are you getting these rules from? Is 3 days the magic number? Is crucifiction the only way you can die in order to meet the criteria?

      I once heard someone say that “religion is for the weak of mind” I thought this was an unfair and untrue statement. You have made me have another look at this. You make me think the ” Religion is where strong minded individual seek out weak minded individual or as you would call them seekers, to follow them blindly” If they don’t buy into your vision, they are not worth speaking to, it is sad really.

      Reply
    • Erik holmes says:

      I have been all around this great planet of ours, I have lived on a First Nations reserve in Northern Canada, I have been to Israel 11 times and I will go again. I have talked about religion with people from all different backgrounds and despite what you think they all are interesting opinions and are worth listening to. I find religion a very mind stimulating topic of discussion, different opinions foster thought. You need some Muslims, Jews, atheists, first Nations, to make this discussion more interesting. Nothing more boring then a bunch of Christians splitting hairs over scripture, embrace our differences don’t condemn people for what they cannot help, their beliefs, even if they do not match yours.

      I guess you could call me a seeker, the only conclusion I have come to after speaking to people of different religions is that there is a difference between spirituality and religion. Although most people recognize that there is something greater than themselves religion seems to be a cultural way of describing this feeling. History, power, money,politics all seem to find a way of creeping into this description. As you can tell I am not a fan of religion, but I do think there is something greater than us, beyond that it is speculation.

      Reply
    • The One True God says:

      Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce
      a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and
      don’t manage to get anything done.

      Reply
    • erik holms says:

      I found this list of 40 harmful effects of Christianity:

      1. The discouragement of rational, critical thought.
      2. Vilification of homosexuality, resulting in discrimination, parents disowning their children, murder, and suicide.
      3. Women treated like second-class citizens based on religious teachings.
      4. Children growing up to hate and fear science and scientists, because science disproves their parents’ religion – leading to appalling scientific illiteracy.
      5. Tens of thousands tortured and killed as witches (a practice which still continues today).
      6. People aren’t making the most of this life because of their belief in an afterlife.
      7. People dying because they believe their faith makes them immune to snake venom, or other lethal aspects of reality.
      8. People dying – and letting their children die – because their religion forbids accepting medical help.
      9. People choked, starved, poisoned, or beaten to death during exorcisms.
      10. Genital mutilation of babies endorsed by religious texts.
      11. Psychological and physiological conditions blamed on demons, preventing believers from seeking medical care for themselves and their children.
      12. People disowning family members for leaving their religion.
      13. Friendships and romances severed or never started over religious differences.
      14. “Abstinence-only” sex education, resulting in five times the amount sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies – often leading to ill-fated “emergency” marriages.
      15. Women having septic abortions—or being forced to have unwanted children they resent—because religious organizations have gotten laws passed making abortion illegal or inaccessible.
      16. Censorship (often destructive) of speech, art, books, music, films, poetry, songs and, if possible, thought.
      17. The demonization of other religions, e.g. Christianity demonizing Pagans (“They’re devil-worshipers!”)
      18. Children spending the period of their lives when the brain is most receptive to learning new information reading, rereading, and even memorizing religious texts.
      19. People who believe the world is about to end neglect their education, are not financially responsible, and in extreme cases take part in mass suicides.
      20. Long-term environmental issues ignored because of beliefs that the rapture/apocalypse or something will happen soon, so they don’t matter.
      21. Wives told they will be tortured forever if they leave their abusive husbands (and vice versa).
      22. Holy wars – followers of different faiths (or even the same faith) killing each other in the name of their (benevolent, loving and merciful) gods.
      23. The destruction of great works of art considered to be pornographic/blasphemous, and the persecution of the artists.
      24. Slavery condoned by religious texts.
      25. Children traumatized by vivid stories of eternal burning and torture to ensure that they’ll be too frightened to even question religion.
      26. Terminal patients in constant agony who would end their lives if they didn’t believe it would result in eternal torture.
      27. School boards having to spend time and money and resources on the fight to have evolution taught in the schools.
      28. Persecution of “heretics”/scientists, like Giordano Bruno (burned at the stake) and Galileo Galilei.
      29. Blue laws forcing other businesses to stay closed or limit sales, while churches can generate more revenue.
      30. Mayors, senators, and presidents voted into office not because they’re right for the job, but because of their religious beliefs.
      31. Abuse of power, authority and trust by religious leaders (for financial gain or sexual abuse of followers and even children).
      32. People accepting visual and auditory hallucinations unquestioningly as divine, sometimes with fatal results.
      33. Discrimination against atheists, such as laws stating they may not hold public office or testify in court, or in half a dozen countries around the world, laws requiring their execution
      34. Missionaries destroying/converting smaller, “heathen” religions and cultures.
      35. Hardship compounded by the guilt required to reconcile the idea of a fair god with reality (“why is God punishing me? What have I done wrong? Don’t I have enough faith?”).
      36. Human achievements—from skillful surgery to to emergency landings—attributed to gods instead of to the people actually responsible.
      37. Mother Teresa, prolonging the agony of terminal patients and denying them pain relief, so she can offer their suffering as a gift to her god.
      38. Tens of billions annually in the US alone spent to build, maintain, and staff houses of worship.
      39. Grief and horror caused by the belief that dead friends and family members are tortured as punishment for disbelief.
      40. Natural disasters and other tragedies used to claim God is displeased and present demands to avoid similar events (it’s like terrorism, but without having to plan or do anything).

      Reply

    • David Hunter says:

      At the core of this issue is that there have come to all of us in 2014 very strong proclamations that God is on His Way.

      Over and over in these scriptures of the Torah and the New Testament one God with specific names has declared that He created the Universe and all life.

      He has stated clearly that he is “God On A Mission” and that no one has ever taken away His power or authority to do exactly as He wills at any time.

      Yeshua HaMashiach, His Coming, His Mission, His Sacrifice were foretold many times in the Torah.

      No other religion has any such comparable story or claim. No other religion claims such deity or power or authority.

      God has made himself accessible 24 hours a day if you want to test His claim.

      I did, decades ago.

      I agreed that I was a “sinner”, that I had been seeking to know other things, other pleasures, other “truths” rather than simply turn to God and ASK Him face-to-face to prove Himself to me.

      This is the horrible truth that will arrive for too many people: seeing God on their own plane of existence it will instantly hit them with terrifying conclusiveness that It WAS SO EASY; SO STUPEFYINGLY EASY TO ASK GOD TO PROVE HIMSELF AT ANY MOMENT OF THEIR LIVES: AND THEY NEVER EVER ASKED!

      What happened when I HUMBLED myself to Ask God to come into my life and heart and to BE my Lord was SUPERNATURAL.

      Within 10 minutes of that prayer, asking Jesus, Yeshua, to save me.. not deeply understanding what “save” really meant, I was FLOODED with the literal Spirit of that same God.

      God came inside me, cleansed me, washed through my being, and literally opened up my eyes to truths I had been missing even though I was nominally “a Christian”.

      I understood exactly what it meant to be Re-Born, I understood finally the meaning of “baptism of the Holy Spirit”, I understood finally what it meant to MEET JESUS. I opened up the Bible and the words took on such huge meaning and emotion that could only have come from another MIND, another SPIRIT talking to me, teaching me.

      All discussion is dry meaningless discourse until you Truly Seek.

      You do not have to give up ten-thousand pleasures and 100 cherished beliefs and dogmas ahead of time.

      You do not have to Become Anything else ahead of time.

      You can be an atheist, if you wish.

      But you must be an HONEST atheist.

      You must at least decide, which is more important?

      To STAY an Atheist no matter what truths may exist to the contrary?
      Or to allow the possibility for this being we call God to prove Himself to you?

      And if you choose to allow Him to Prove Himself to you then you cannot dictate the terms.
      You have only one path to find out the Truth.

      You can not be so arrogant, can you, to avoid ASKING Him to prove himself to you and for you to promise to abide by what you discover.

      Reply

    • Erik Holmes says:

      So much to reply to here I don’t know where to start. I do love how you can accuse me of being arrogant and at the same time claim that there is no other religion as perfect as the one you believe in. God is on his way to clean up this mess and pluck up the Christians in to the heavens and let the billions of people who have been raised with other beliefs to suffer. Religion preys on fear, fear of loss. What if there is a heaven and I don’t get to go because I bet on the wrong pony? What if I am forever gone from existence? If questioning mans ability to come up with explanations for his existence is arrogant then I am proudly arrogant! You want to talk about being honest, I honestly believe we have pulled explanations for our existence out of thin air ever since we could form words. Some of those explanations gain traction, others don’t. The honest truth that you and others cannot deal with is that we don’t know the truth, we have no real answers. You seem to want to call me something, an atheist so you can cast stones at your enemy. I am not an atheist, I am not a evolutionist, I do know one thing, I have no faith in religion for truthful answers to our existence.

      Reply

    • erik holmes says:

      Perry, I am curious, what kind of relationship does your family have with your brother? Can you put aside your spiritual beliefs for the sake of a relationship?

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          It’s absolutely not a problem at all.

          Reply

    • Erik Holmes says:

      I am glad to hear that Perry, I wish the rest of the world could figure it out.

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          I’m sorry if you have had a different experience from your own family. One of the things I had to do when Bryan made his change of direction was I had to become comfortable in my own skin with people who believe very different from me. It’s part of growing up. Sometimes we can have VERY productive conversations with people we greatly disagree with.

          Reply

    • Erik Holmes says:

      My family is fine, we are all a bunch of lovable, crazy heathens. I just returned from Israel, no one gets along there. Even people of the same faith are divided by their depth of belief. I just have to shake my head sometimes and wonder if there will ever be a solution.

      Reply

    • Erik says:

      Perry, I am puzzled by the fact that you don’t believe the hand of God was involved in the creation of the Bible yet you seem to quote from it and devote your time to it, why? Also why would God leave his commandment for one race of people only and leave the rest of the world out?

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          Not sure what you mean “I am puzzled by the fact that you don’t believe the hand of God was involved in the creation of the Bible”

          Reply

    • Erik says:

      I asked you in an earlier post of God had written the Bible , and your answer was no. I asked you if God had written the 10 commandments and your answer was yes.
      Since man has written the Bible do you not think that men are flawed, and it is possible the can make errors?
      The proof for the the 10 commandments being fingered by God comes from a book that God did not write. I don’t understand how you could place such weight on a book you admit was written by men?
      Do you not think any of the writers could be under the influence of any other powers other than God?
      Forces like fear, money, fame, prejudice, revenge, family…..
      You cannot possibly believe that all of the writers were perfect humans who could not be shaped by external forces, can you? I am puzzled by this..

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          Of course the writers are influenced by fear, money, fame, etc.

          That’s the signature of authenticity of the Bible. That, and the miracles and the prophecies. The writers were NOT perfect humans. That is the whole point. They don’t even pretend to be perfect. David was a murderer and adulterer, but he was also “A man after God’s own heart” because he confessed his sin (Psalm 55).

          Let me ask you a question:

          Was mother Theresa “inspired”?

          Was there something in her that was on a divine mission?

          Did the fact that she was a flawed human being change that fact?

          Or did it add color?

          Reply

    • Erik says:

      The second part of my question is if God did write the 10 commandments why did he pick favourites and only give his rules to one race? He handed them to Moses, not Chan in China, or someone in the juggles of Africa, or a Native in North America. He never felt the need? There were no planes, no mail, no internet, God had to know his commandments would never reach these other cultures. I am asking if God was a racist? I am asking why he picked favourites, does this question ever cross your mind? I am also wonder why God presented his commandments in a format that was the norm for the era, tablet, in the language and writing of the culture it appeared in? If God wanted his message to reach the world why not deliver it in a universal form that would leave no questions as to where it originated from. I find it very puzzling that this is not something that would cause you or any one to at least ponder these questions.

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          Consider this. Mark 7:

          24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

          27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

          28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

          29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

          30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

          Reply

    • Erik Holmes says:

      If you agree the writers of the Bible were influenced by other forces, do you agree the Bible is a book of fiction or do you quote it as fact? I wonder why you spend so much time reading and quoting a book that has to contain lies. Who can possibly pick the truth out of the Bible?

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          Based on your snarky and insulting tone, I don’t think this is a serious question nor do you sound like you want a serious answer.

          If you want to have a serious discussion, leave your insulting attitude at the door. If you don’t, please leave.

          Reply

    • Erik Holmes says:

      The Lord says,
      “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
      I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
      I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’
      to a nation that did not call on my name.

      Here is the problem I have with your concept of God. You can`t be intelligent enough to create the universe yet so stupid that you lay all of the clues of your existence before only one culture. Then sit with your arms folded pouting like a child when the rest of the world does not come beating your door down. Why would China call his name? Why would first Nations in North America call his name? They had no concept of him, nor could they and he would have to know that if he was God. I can only come to two conclusions, God picked favorites or this was what man thought of God 2 thousand years ago.

      I am not arguing that there is no greater power, I am just arguing that this is a very poor interpretation of that power.

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          Acts 17:

          22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

          24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]

          29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

          32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.

          Reply

    • Erik Holmes says:

      A day may come when humans can create a new race with the use of nanobots and DNA. Lets just say that one day the create an intelligent being that can survive in the atmosphere of Mars. We send them there without letting them know about us, letting them evolve and adapt.

      Questions..
      1. Who is their creator, the one person in the lab that designed them? The team that worked in the lab? The entire human race?
      2. Will they have a soul?
      3. When they die what will happen to them?
      4. Do we become God?

      Reply

    • Erik Holmes says:

      Perry,
      I do want an answer, sorry for asking the question so poorly. When someone quotes me the bible it is important to know what their reference point is. Ken Ham he would quote the Bible as if it were the word of God. Others only quote the Bible like a reference to Shakespeare and then there people that believe some parts of the bible are stories and some parts are reference to historical events.
      You probably don’t remember but 10 years ago you and I sat down at a conference table at a Dan Kennedy event. You were leading a round table, slowly people left as you spoke at a higher level then most could grasp. I was the only person left and I listened to every word you said. I understood clearly what you were talking about. I took what you told me back home with me and used it, I still use it to help other with their adwords accounts, I have respect for your knowledge.
      When I ask a question that requires deep thought I get disappointed when you point to the Bible, I want to know what Perry thinks, what does your gut tell you. I hope that being Christian does not restrict you from thinking about our existence outside of the context of the Bible. Thinking about God and asking very tough questions without fear. The most intelligent thing I have heard in a religious debate came from you, it was “I don’t know”.
      My question was about the Bibles meaning to you, is it fact fiction or a bit of both?

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          I think the Bible is divinely inspired. I do NOT believe one can reasonably defend it as “infallible.” As a historical document it is extremely accurate and time & time again pundits have pronounced various parts of it as being inaccurate and eventually history and archaeology proved that it had been right all along. Many times people have pronounced the whole thing ‘dead’ but it has somehow always managed to rise up and bury its critics.

          Some people (Ken Ham for example) only think in black and white terms, take it as literally as possible….though somehow managing to conveniently avoid taking it TOO literally – they don’t lay hands on people and pray for them to be healed, they don’t gouge their eye out even though it is causing them to stumble…. and they try to force it to ten decimal places of precision. Much of this is driven by paranoia and perhaps even a form of escapism.

          My views are somewhere in the vicinity of the Swiss theologian Karl Barth. Barth was the first postmodern theologian – 50 years before the world became postmodern. I’d summarize his view of scripture like this: “The Bible is not the Word of God. JESUS is the Word of God. The Bible is the word of God – lower case w – it’s actually man’s testimony to God’s grace.”

          Barth exposited the Bible much the way many conservative Bible teachers would, he took it very seriously. His book on Romans is a bullwark. But he did not consider it inerrant. ***He used words like “myth” and “saga” to characterize various kinds of narrative in the Bible***, like the garden of eden story or Noah’s ark.

          So for example Genesis 1 matches modern science remarkably well, given a few elegant simple assumptions – see http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/genesis1/ ….yet it is clearly written in very poetic, non-scientific language. To look at it as JUST something to be compared with modern science is to miss 3/4ths of the point.

          Or for example 270+ ancient cultures have a “flood story.” Clearly there was some kind of huge flood that wiped out vast #s of people and a man who somehow knew ahead of time to build a boat and save his family. It is not clear to me how much the Noah story in the Bible is fact and how much is “Saga.” I would most certainly not classify it as “fiction.”

          A lot of Christians are absolutely terrified of the consequences of such a view… but it’s because they haven’t thought it through. People sort of assume that believing the Bible is inerrant saves them from having to sort stuff out. Well that just ain’t true! Actually when people assume the Bible is inerrant it sort of causes them to think their interpretation of it is inerrant. Then things get arrogant really fast.

          It doesn’t matter WHAT you think of the Bible, you still have to work really hard to apply it.

          In my online convos I found it got a WHOLE lot easier when I stopped trying to defend the Bible as inerrant. Some atheist would try to back me into a corner on that and I’d just say, “Oh, well I don’t think it’s inerrant and we don’t have to assume it’s accurate to 12 decimal places in order to understand it. It’s quite sufficient to assume that four gospel writers wrote four different accounts of what happened and they did their best. Mistakes and all, today we have a really good idea of what happened. And it’s more than enough to make the point that you’re a sinner and Jesus died for you etc etc.”

          Even skeptics tend to realize that’s a pretty reasonable way to approach it.

          Not only that, the discrepancies between the four gospels prove they’re independent. Obviously, nobody harmonized it all together before they started distributing copies. Which means you can throw out 10 or 20% of it if you must, but 80% of it is attested to at least twice and in some cases four times. The core of the gospel story is as rock solid as anything in ancient history. I don’t say that lightly.

          When I let go of the inerrancy thing, it was like a big weight lifted off my shoulders.

          Oh, and one other thing about Barth: He said, “Inspiration isn’t what’s in the words themselves. It’s what happens in YOU when you read those words and they come alive in your spirit.”

          You don’t just read the Bible. The Bible reads you. Read the book of John in the NT and you’ll see what I mean.

          I think most evangelicals elevate the Bible above the Holy Spirit and that’s a BIG mistake. The Holy Spirit will tell you a lot of stuff if you listen to Him… if you ask and listen.

          Most churches have a statement that says something like “We believe the Bible is inerrant in its original documents” but we don’t have the original documents so that’s a useless statement. The Bible we hold in our hands is imperfect and it ain’t such a big deal. It’s still VERY remarkable and more accurate than any other ancient history sources I know of.

          Most of the stuff that you’d quibble over if you doubt its perfection has nothing to do with living a God-honoring Christian life anyway.

          So on one extreme you have Christians, mostly American right wing evangelicals who very nearly worship the Bible. Many of them don’t even believe that God speaks to people today, thus in a sense elevating the Bible ABOVE God and I think that is a big mistake.

          On the other extreme you have skeptics, atheists, people of all kinds of stripes who mock and criticize the Bible, quote it out of context, only know bits and pieces, and don’t want to be bothered to appreciate the nuances and richness and the tapestry. That is an even bigger mistake. They are astonishingly ignorant and almost invariably arrogant as well. I have little patience for that crowd.

          Does this help?

          Reply

    • erik holmes says:

      An interesting article about heathens raising heathens…

      http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0115-zuckerman-secular-parenting-20150115-story.html?utm_content=buffer17530&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

      Reply

    • Erik says:

      Perry, I ran across a situation that made me think about a previous post. I was (as I always am) skeptical of any documents you could provide to prove that Jesus and God are real. I suggested that maybe any documents you could provide could not reveal anything because we do not know the details, who came forth with them at what other documents were destroyed…we are talking about a while ago.

      Today in Canada they have dug up some mass graves of children from schools the first nations were forced to go Ito in the last century. The last school was closed in the 1970’s. Children were burnt, electricuted, and beaten to death. The point I am making here is that there were no records of this anywhere, the church of course would not keep such records because it was not in their self interest to do so. The official ducuments and the history books I was raised with tell a very different tale then what really happened. Today we have live witness who lived through the nightmares of these schools and have been fighting the system to get their stories out there.
      My point is if we can’t count on the truth today with people that lived through still alive..how can you be so confident in the documents you have read from so long ago?

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          Erik,

          I’m not sure how any reasonable person can doubt Jesus’ existence. Exceedingly rare is the historian who says Jesus never existed, and frankly I think the “mythicists” as they are called who deny it (Richard Carrier for example), are all crackpots. Though I doubt mythicism is what you are getting at anyway.

          The answer I believe is to undertake this as a serious inquiry. There is much to study here. With Christian history, it’s not like there is a LACK of evidence as was the case with these children for so long. There are smoking guns all over the place.

          A very good place to start is a book called “Cold Case Christianity” by J. Werner Wallace. It is a rigorous treatment of this problem by a professional detective who applies his epistemology, skepticism and formal process of reasoning to these historical questions. He has quite a few YouTube videos as well. He squarely addresses the exact question you ask. There is no lack of material to work with.

          I also think Anne Rice has a very good analysis: http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/anne-rice-atheist-christ/. I offer several other routes of exploration at http://www.perrymarshall.com/spirituality.

          I challenge you to dive into the research as a serious endeavor. Jesus is after all the most influential person in history so this subject is worth nothing less than a full, fair and vigorous effort.

          Reply

    • erik holmes says:

      Perry,
      I am not questioning the existence of Jesus, I am question the recording of the events that surrounded him that in your opinion are 100% true and verified.
      Reading historical documents (and that is all you can do) is no way to prove much of anything. There is no way to verify testimony; there is no way to use science and DNA. You have to hope that the people involved in producing and preserving the documents had no other interests. What documents were destroyed in the process and why?
      Another perfect example of this is the invasion of Iraq. Why did the US decide to invade Iraq after 911? History will record the fact that the US thought that they had and were hiding WMD’s. Even though all of those responsible for the attacks were from Saudi, why did the US attack Iraq and not Saudi? What will history record? Never mind history, what do and did news stations report about this incredibly important decision and why weren’t the right question asked? It was not considered patriotic to question the government about such matters…
      The point is we can’t even get to the truth now because the truth is not always in the best interest of those in power (I understand this). We have all kinds of tools now that make getting to the truth much easier, but we can’t get there. How can I have any trust in a reporter who dug up 2000 year old documents and pieced together what you consider the absolute truth in your totally unbiased opinion that because of these documents Jesus was the son of God. I believe he gathered the documents and I belief they exist, I also belief a man name Jesus walked the earth and had followers.
      I also know that money and power very powerful forces, 2000 years ago they were not immune to either. People were told what the ruling powers and the church wanted the people to know. Documents would have been created to support their messages and documents would have been destroyed that took away from their position. That is the way the world worked then and it has changed little since.

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          Precisely the issues that Wallace addresses. He’s a cold case murder detective. People in his case have all the same problems you cited. Read his scholarship on the matter and evaluate based on the evidence.

          Reply

    • Erik says:

      Perry, I had the pleasure of reading “Cold-Case Christianity”, I thought it was well written and entertaining. It did fail to prove anything, if you are a Christian it would strengthen your commitment and if you are a skeptic, it leaves you with more questions than real answers.
      If you are going to compare cold case crimes with the claims of the supernatural you need to level the playing field. This is in my view a false equivalence; the claims of a resurrection and a cold case crime are two very different events. Wallace has offered no other reasonable explanation for the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection because he doesn’t want one, he believes in the evidence he has brought forward to the readers. I can sit here and come up with dozens of scenarios that would be plausible explanations to his death, the body no longer in the coffin and his resurrection. None of my explanations would be “he is the son of God” so it must be supernatural. This is because I am also as guilty as Wallace, the only difference is that I will admit it. I will look for any reasonable explanation before I would put all my eggs on the supernatural explanation.
      Has a cold case murder or rape ever concluded with a supernatural explanation? The courts with through it out and have the investigators committed! In Wallace work as an investigator was he always open to a supernatural explanation, I would bet not or he would never work again. Yet he has all the openness in this one cold case from 2000 years ago. Wallace wants this cold case to be solved once and for all, I am not buying into it. I will say this again, there are too many corrupt powers that had a massive influence on any records we will ever bear whiteness to in our century. The Church and state had influence to the documents that were saved and the ones that were destroyed, we only can read what they wanted us to read, old documents prove very little when you are seeking the entire truth on a matter of such importance.
      I could take David Blain (Magician) and walk into any country at any time in history and turn him into a religious figure. He would have his skeptics like me and he would have his followers, if he appeared at the right time in history they would be talking about him for thousands of years. I could have him die and be resurrected and there would be many whiteness who would swear to it, none of this would make it true or would it make David the son of God.

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          If you can turn David Blain into a religious figure, then go ahead and do it.

          “Old documents prove very little when you are seeking the entire truth on a matter of such importance.”

          Really? Well then, let’s just discard recorded history and make up whatever we want to believe.

          I don’t think you’re serious and I think this discussion is a waste of time.

          Reply

        • Perry says:

          One of the reasons I think you’re wasting my time is because Wallace goes to such great lengths to show the corroboration between independent historical sources. Yet you are so dismissive.

          If you don’t want to believe, it’s not my job to convince you. Believe what you choose to believe.

          Reply

    • Erik says:

      Perry,

      It is not your job to convince me of what? What is it that I need convincing of? Christianity is the only true religion and without it my soul will be lost forever, that only Christ can save me, is this what you want me to believe?

      Wallace does show records of some events and he does go to a great deal of effort. I am open to believing that Jesus existed and people may have witnessed his death, saw an empty coffin then saw him alive again. I am going to give Wallace that, but so what. Did he actually die and comeback.? Who could medically verify that, what ancient method did they use to confirm he was dead? How does Wallace know that deception was not involved as a deceived whiteness could never testify… Even if it all happened and no deception was involved how to you then conclude with 100 percent certainty that he is the son of God? The two events are only linked by faith, not anything else!

      As for turning David Blain into a religious figure, I would never do it! I have no interest in the deception of religion. I am just saying it is not difficult to pull off, the act it self would be a waste of everyone’s time.

      As for dismissing all historical records… Not all are manufactured and destroyed, it all depends on the players involved and what is at stake. If you falsely believe that religious powers have never used what ever resource available to influence records and direction, then you will always believe what you are told. To me accepting what we are told to be 100% true is a big mistake, we see the history that is presented to us, it is seldom the way it was. If my inability to accept historical documents from 2000 years ago as the 100% truth is a waste of your time, then I am a big waste of your time, I would agree with you there.

      What about going the other way, you never commented on that. What if Wallace used his belief in the supernatural as a cold case investigator? What if he concluded that God was the murder in a cold case because there was no other reasonable explanation. Wallace takes what he wants from his previous profession and tries to convince us that it is an arms length forensic conclusion, yet he could never go the other way, Wallace would be fired on the spot and would lose all credibility as an investigator.

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          I am open to believing that Jesus existed and people may have witnessed his death, saw an empty coffin then saw him alive again. I am going to give Wallace that, but so what. Did he actually die and comeback.? Who could medically verify that, what ancient method did they use to confirm he was dead?

          Ancient method used to confirm death: Roman crucifixion, with soldier spearing heart at the end to finish him off. That’s as dead as dead can get.

          Wallace does cover this by the way. Erik, are you paying attention?

          Belief in the supernatural is a lot easier when you’ve already experienced it. When you’ve already witnessed blind see, lame walk, deaf hear. I’ve experienced it: http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/miracles. Some events on this page are extensively documented. Are you here to just argue or are you actually seeking? If you’re seeking and you’re not wasting my time, then take your time, watch the videos, follow the links.

          Then report back to me.

          You will never get 100% certainty that Jesus was the son of God. What you have is… the power of ANY alternate explanation.

          Go ahead. Offer one.

          (This is true of ANY worldview. ALL worldviews involve a leap of faith…. or else laziness, as in “well we just can’t know anything, so I’m not going to commit to anything…. which is still a commitment to a belief that you can’t know anything… even as you claim to KNOW that you can’t know anything – which is self contradictory.)

          Whatever explanation you offer, I will hold you to. You don’t get to waffle around and try 50 different ones and never commit to any of them.

          Erik, give me an explanation of what happened in the first century, one that fits all the data and satisfactorily explains the explosive growth of the #1 mass movement in human history.

          I await your explanation. Oh, and “Well we just can’t trust documents that old” isn’t going to do. That would just be wasting all of our time.

          Please explain to me how a crucified man speared through the heart could, 3 days later, convince ALL his close followers he’d risen from the dead, AND start the largest movement in the history of the world.

          Reply
            • Chuck says:

              Erik-

              I have two comments to offer you.

              First, to paraphrase C. S. Lewis, going from the historical record, there are 3 reasonable conclusions one can make:
              (1) Jesus was a liar
              (2) Jesus was a lunatic
              or (3) Jesus was the Son of God.

              As you suggest, we might add to the first two that Jesus would have also had to be a great magician.

              You seem to believe in Option 1 or 2 and want 100% proof from the historical record that your belief is wrong. The truth is that whichever one of those 3 choices you pick is a leap of faith. If you find more comfort taking the leap of faith and believing that Jesus was a liar or a lunatic, then that’s your choice. It’s not the one I chose but no one can “prove” to you based on the historical record that you’re wrong. In the end, it’s your choice.

              Now my second point is that if you are uncertain and uncomfortable with your leap of faith that concludes Jesus was a liar or lunatic then here’s what I suggest. Get to a quiet spot where you’re alone. Say aloud with as much genuine earnestness as you can summon: “Jesus, if you exist, please help me learn about you.” Then go about your day and life. You will get the answer you are ready for.

              Chuck

              Reply

    • Erik says:

      There are a few important questions Wallace fail to ask in his investigation.

      1. We’re there any other religious figure before Christ that had the story of a virgin birth, and a resurrection associated with them?

      2. What powers benefited from the story of Christ at the time and present?

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          #2: Wallace absolutely addresses that.

          #1: Q: Were there any novels or stories about planes flying into the World Trade Center before 9/11?

          Reply

    • Erik says:

      I first of all I need to know what we are discussing here. Is it that Jesus died and was resurrected a true fact, Or is it that Jesus died and was resurrected therefore he has to be the son of God. Those are 2 very different conclusions. If someone died today and came back days laterr you would not assume that they were God, you already bet on that race horse, you would be skeptical as I am.

      Yes Perry I will admit I don’t have a clue, I can come up with a more logical explanation but I will be the first to admit I am guessing. Here is my guess…
      2000 years ago religion was power, you could control large masses of people and wealth if you controlled the religion. In order to create a religion you need a god like figure or it doesn’t’ work very well. There were many Christ like figures before Christ, there was a proven formula just like copy writing. You needed a virgin birth, crucified and a resurection.
      My guess that it was a deception, it was trickery to create a religious figure and draw in followers as far as they could reach all for the sake of power.
      With out all 3 elements it would not relate to what people believed in the past. This is far more plausible then jumping to the conclusion that it happened exactly as was written and that Jesus is the only true God,
      I refuse to look at this through a pin hole, religion equals power and power corupts.
      As for your miricles, yes they happen, in all religions and with those with no faith, I believe in them as much as you do. I have seen them first hand, it has nothing to do with what we are talking about though. I am also sure more than a few Muslims would question your number one status of Christianity, there are more Muslims than Christians..

      Reply
        • Perry says:

          Let’s just start with: Jesus died and was resurrected.

          Whether he was God can wait for later.

          “Proven copywriting formula”??? Name just one other figure in history who anyone believed to have been crucified and resurrected.

          (Statements like this are what you get from people who are so cynical that they believe marketing rules the world. It does not. Marketing may rule the world in the short term, but eventually marketing cannot overcome actual facts. Marketing ruled the world even less at a time when virtually everything you ever learned came from actually talking to someone, in person, whom you actually knew. It was MUCH harder to start a rumor in the ancient world than it is now, because there was no internet and there was no Facebook. Ancient people were not nearly as gullible as modern snobs would like us to believe. Ancient people were quite aware that dead people stay dead, thank you very much.)

          One proven copywriting formula is: Tell people that the Jesus story isn’t true because other mythical gods had similar stories, ancient people were so gullible they actually believed in miracles and resurrections, and greedy men hungry for money and power made all this stuff up and burned the books of those who attested otherwise, and gave us the Christian religion. That formula has been selling books for hundreds of years. It’s evergreen. Every 10 years a few more famous authors go on book tours and lecture circuits with this same recycled story.

          Erik, show me how – citing recorded history and actual references and quotes FROM the first century – how any time before 100AD, that the above was a formula for acquiring useful money and power.

          Please support your assertion that someone engaged in trickery to create a religious figure and draw in followers as far as they could reach all for the sake of power. Please provide historical references, testimony, documentation to support these assertions.

          If you say the church destroyed all this evidence, please cite the testimony of those who saw them do this and what they claim the evidence contained.

          “…religion equals power and power corrupts.” Sure, anyone can agree with that – to a degree. You can figure that out just by reading the gospels. After all, who crucified Jesus and why?

          But that is not the whole story. All around me I see all kinds of religiously founded homeless shelters, adoption agencies, hospitals, charities, the list goes on and on and on and on. Corrupt religion equals power. The religion Jesus taught equals service and service tames the demons of humanity. As Jesus said in Mark 10: “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”

          Erik, name one movement or worldview that has started more charities and helped the poor and sick on its own dime more than Christianity.

          There are not more Muslims than Christians.

          Jesus rose from the dead. That is by far the most coherent and attested conclusion. The support for any other explanation is lacking and there is no other single theory that has gained significant traction in 2000 years.

          Reply

8 Comments on “The God who hides”

  1. Perry — all these many years since you first penned your thoughts.

    You were “spot on target” then (2011) . . . . and today (2021) only underscores your thoughts. Your words really were/are still an “Inconvenient Truth”

    I have lived the reality of what you said.

    Thank you. Thank you my brother. Thank you

    Mark

  2. Some key powerful things I’ve learned in the last 3 years from studing the OT in its original ancient Hebrew context (i.e. NOT Western European church context):

    1) The Edenic vision is the point of the whole thing – Eden was the intersection of heaven and earth, on earth. Eden is where God and angels and humans live and interact directly with each other in perfect immortal harmony. Genesis begins with a local Eden, it got detailed but Revelation ends with a global Eden.

    2) Free willed beings is the design intent of the whole creation enterprise, so whilst God is working to restore Eden, he wants to do it without overriding his original design intent.

    2) God doesn’t micromanage the cosmos (he has divine staff, who have free will like us and some of them went bad, really bad).

    3) There were 2 Yahwehs in the OT, one in heaven and one who appears in “filtered” form before people (an angel or some anthropomorphic embodiment)

    4) This embodied Yahweh is everywhere in the OT (Genesis 3 “tree of life” – tree being an ancient near eastern idiom for divine being, the angel who visits Daniel whom Michael had to assist from fighting the ‘Prince of Persia’, the Captain of the Lord’s Army who appears to Joshua etc)… he becomes Jesus in the end.

    5) The embodied Yahweh doesn’t cheat (the Prince of Persia withstood him 21 days in Daniel, Jesus was mortal)

  3. God and Religion don’t mix

    The arguments for the existence of a greater power, a creator is a something I can debate understand and respect both sides.

    The moment you insert any religion into to the debate you have a big contradiction that cannot be resolved.

    A creator would have to have a level of intellect beyond comprehension, I doubt anyone would take the opposite position. To create the universe, life, time its all mind blowing.

    Then you insert a religion, I don’t care which one, they all have the same issues. These are not the words or plans of something with such a mind, they are in fact polar opposites.

    It would be like stating that Donald Trump alone has built and perfected a cold fusion device. The words and actions of Donald Trump leave me and the rest of the world 100 percent certain that Donald Trump does not have the intellectual capacity to solve cold fusion.

    The same is true of the Ten commandments, the Christ story, the Book of Mormon, the story of Muhammad I am left with over whelming intellectual evidence that these are not the words or ideas of something with such intellectual capabilities.

    In fact I see clearly why Trump has such strong support among evangelicals, they are very familiar with contradiction. The selfish child like behaviour of Trump is not unlike that of the God referred to in the Bible.

    If any of this has got you angry, we are not that far apart. What ever religion you follow I am sure all other appear obviously fake to you for these very reasons. “ God didn’t leave gold tablets for only Joseph Smith to see, this is absurd” you may think. A Morman believes this is true, not because it is true but because they have committed to a belief system.

    Something with the intellectual capabilities to create the universe and all that is in it would not require a prophet or a son to get the message out there to only people of certain regions. The entire concepts is about the dumbest plan you could conceive with access to unlimited powers. A creator could appear everywhere at once and give a clear consistent message for all people of the globe to understand if this was a desire.

    If you destroyed all evidence of all religion and science and waited a few thousand years there were be new creation stories and religions and not one existing religion would survive. The only books that would re appear almost the same would be science and math books. Maybe if you are looking for proof of God, instead of disputing scientific facts they should be embraced, there may be some clues with in the design.

    My question is how do you justify the obvious contradiction in order to believe?

  4. For the Financial Sozo Sessions

    “Jewish, Catholic or Orthodox
    Protestant or Charismatic
    Lapsed Catholic, or some other flavor like Methodist or Baptist or Episcopal”

    Is there a reason why ‘Muslim’ was left out?

    Even if In the Quran Jesus was not mentioned 25 times and Mother Mary around 34

    And even if you just consider us ‘Gentiles’

    Know that some (Muslims) including myself are your students

    and we would just like the same consideration show to other faiths..

    You are a fan of C. S. Lewis,

    You should take note of the overwhelming friendship and acceptance he showed to Martin Lings (a Muslim convert)

    Cheers,
    Omar

    1. Omar,

      I don’t get a lot of Muslims but from what I understand Muslims get a great deal out of Sozo sessions. Thanks for posting.

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