Anti-Christian Bigotry from USAToday Readers

As many of you know, I follow the ministry of Dr. James White. He has been a long time critic of Dr. Bart Ehrman, and rightfully so. Ehrman is an apostate who uses his apostasy in his scholarship to interpret the facts in a worse case senario for Christianity.

Recently, Dr. White was mentioned in an op-ed piece for USAToday by a man named Tom Krattenmaker. Amazingly, Mr. Krattenmaker wrote:

One of Ehrman’s chief critics is the theologian and author James White, a leading practitioner of apologetics, the branch of theology devoted to defending and proving the orthodox faith. White denounces Ehrman as an apostate guided by deepanti-Christian bias. He charges in one Internet post that Ehrman has “moved far beyond the realm of his narrow expertise in his last three most popular books, all of which are designed to do one thing: destroy Christian faith.”

Now, anyone who has followed Dr. White’s work on Bart Ehrman knows that to say that he “denounces” him because of his anti-Christian bias is simply silly. Dr. White simply is pointing out that no scholar is free of biases. No scholar approaches any study with a tabula rasa. It is simply impossible. The interpretations that Ehrman gives to textual data are largely controlled by his anti-Christian presuppositions, and hence, those anti-Christian presuppositions need to be challanged.

Hence, when Ehrman says, “The idea that the New Testament is inspired is a theological conclusion, not a historical conclusion,” he is, in essence, giving us a theology. It is a theology that God cannot ordain whatsoever comes to pass in history. Yet, whether purposefully or unintentionally, Mr. Ehrman would like people to think that it is simply unscholarly to hold a view of God that says that God can ordain events in history. If this is the case, then theology certainly would be relevant to the discussion of history, because his theology of history is that God cannot act in history, and it effects his historical conclusions!

Now, that would be bad enough. However, some of the comments in the comments section are simply outragious. I signed up, and have been interacting with these folks “under the name ‘Calvinist,'” and some of the bigotry has just simply been unbelievable. Take the following posted by “Bady1:”

As with evolution & creationism, the debate was over a long time ago among honest scholars. Only those who use the Bible to gain power over others pretend it is somehow the literal word of a magical God.
There you go. Evolution is an established fact…not a philosophy that cannot even make sense out of sense perception, and must believe that something came from nothing, that life came from non-life, and that intellegence came from non intellegence, and all kinds of nonsense. However, it gets worse. Here are the comments of a man who goes by the screenname “Rabbi:”
Christianity is MERELY the result of the confluence of European Pantheism with Middle Eastern Monotheism as, first, the Greeks, and then, the Romans, subjegated the area…
This is backed-up by not only historical facts but also by the close examination of the philosophies and mythologies involved…
Trying to ascribe some greater, somehow “divine” meaning to such a purely humanistic artifact as the Bible is merely an engagement and pre-occupation in fantasy, magic, superstition, and myth-making!!

Which is why…

SCHOLARSHIP IS ANTETHEMA TO THE RELIGOUS!!

 

 

Ya, that is why my professor is chair of the Biblical law section of SBL, and is high up in the Cunieform studies section of the American Oriental Society. Also, how in the world is Christianity going to come from pagan religions when these pagan religions were greatly resisted by Judaism during the time of the attempted hellenization of the Jews? Hasn’t anyone ever heard of the Maccabean revolt? To suggest that, in such a context, a religion could be started in the heart of Jerusalem is simply absurd.
Not only that, but it is funny that Bart Ehrman himself rejects such theories. Track down the program that Bart Ehrman did with “The Infidel Guy” [Reggie Finley]. Reggie Finley promotes the same kind of nonsense that Rabbi posted here, and, when Finley tried to bring it up to Ehrman, it was all Ehrman could do to keep from laughing. Yet, this stuff was brought up over and over again on this comments section. This is how amazingly fringe these folks are.
Then we get to the statements of that wonderfully “unbiased” man with the screenname “Mr. K.:”
Hey calvinist: Are you seriously trying to tell us that Genesis is literal truth? So then I take it you believe that a snake (or lizard or some other “serpent”) has the anatomical structures, the brain capacity, and the intelligence to speak. Great! And you are telling me that you accept the Genesis story of a six-day creation. Who was there to see it? Better yet, who is the author? When did he write it? What did he write it for, as fact, as an allegory, or as a colorful fable? Come now, you have to have more of an IQ than that.
Ya, there you go. Just assume naturalism, and then, say that someone needs an I.Q. check when they don’t agree with naturalism. It is very simple. Satan exists, and so, therefore, you can have a talking snake. Of course, he later does it again calling Satan a fairy tale, again, assuming naturalism, and then laughing when Christianity, which is openly not naturalistic departs from naturalism. Next, we had comments from someone with the screenname of Ronald David:
Amazing discussion among theorists (note the similarity to terrorists) who believe in spirits, ghosts, souls, and resurrection of humankind after-death with absolutely no evidence to support such paranormal nonsense.
No doubt you all believe there is some POINT in trashing bibles and deluded authors thereof?

Gods and prophets are the products of ignorant folks who invented them. Stop arguing about deluded authors and the fiction they write. You waste time you might spend believing in President Obambi.

Of course, we then ignore the fact that Sumerians discovered the Pythagorian therom nearly two thousand years before Pythagoras, using base 60! We ignore the sophisticated economic system of Mesopotamia, and the fact that the Akkadian writing system was syllabic and required memorization of nearly 600 signs. Remember that children were learning this system at the same age you were learning to read.
Also, again notice that, if you don’t like a position, just say that anyone who holds that position is a terrorist. Never mind the irrationality of such a claim.
Then we again have another comment by the wonderfully unbiased and impartial Mr K:
Hey calvinist: Satan is a myth, an excuse for bad behavior invented by myth-producing primitive people. As for talking snakes, if you believe that tale, you’ll believe anything. Really, though, could you possibly be that naive? As for Moses writing Genesis, where do you get that piece of information? It is certainly not attributed to him. As for begging the question, you obviously are afraid to think for yourself and question literature written three thousand years ago. Try to grasp this: The Bible is a collection of fiction, or allegorical fables, and fairy tales. You are so afraid of life and to live it that you have to grasp something that even in the back of your mind you know to be nonsense. A talking snake violates all scientific laws—–God’s laws, if you will—–those of chemistry, physics, and biology. The real world is not like that. I never mentioned evolution, YOU did, so it appears you have serious doubts in your mind about the Biblical tales of creation. If you want to believe that the Bible is fact, then it will be your IQ that will be questioned.

Of course, Mr. K. is most certainly willing to question his naturalism, right? Well, no, of course not. Of course, my point in mentioning evolution is to mention the silliness in naturalistic theories of origins. There are “scientific laws” apart from the sovereign ordination of God [which a “Calvinist” rejects”], and anything that is not naturalistic is just a fairytale. There you go, see how wonderfully unbiased and unbigoted this man is?

And, of course, how does Rabbi respond to someone saying that things that they consider to be “natural” are ordained of God? Well:

Cal: “the reason why things happen the way that they do, is because God ordains it as such.”
Cal: ” The only reason why chemistry functions the way that it does is because God ordains that it will function as such”
Now THAT is appeal to IGNORANCE, if I ever saw one!!

It used to be that people would ask, why does fire burn wood…

And someone would say…

“God wants fire to burn wood”

Now we actually know the reasons WHY wood burns, you still want to claim that those laws are only laws because…

“God wants them to be laws!”

You’ve only removed the IGNORANCE to one further step beyond in a continuing and misquided effort to substiture “God” wherever you posit more IGNORANCE…

Once again, your logic is cicular and your ideas illogical… LOL!!!

That’s pretty much just CIRCULAR reasoning taken to its ultimate extreme…

Hardly the kind of logic I’d place ANY “faith” in at all… LOL!!!

Ya, and he is not begging the question, assuming that, at root, there must be some naturalistic explaination? Again, how do you describe the situation of Romans 1 any better than this? Although they know God, they neither honor him as such, nor give thanks to them, but their foolish hearts become darkened. In this case, not only darkened, but extremely bigoted. This is the kind of stuff that is out there amongst the people with whom you bump shoulders every day. We need to be prepared to rip the mask off of the alleged neutrality of this position and show it for the bigotry that it is.

Addendum: Mr.K. has, again posted, and it, again, demonstrates the truth of Romans 1:

OK, calvinist, I’ll try to explain it so even YOU can understand it. Now try to follow along, stay with me. Despite all your pseudo- intellectual and pseudo-religious banter, these things are FACTS (yes, facts and truth may make you uncomfortable, but stick with me): There is no such thing as Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, gremlins, the tooth fairy, hob-goblins, or boogie men. There is no such thing as Satan, there are no talking snakes, talking donkeys, or people living to be 900 years old. If you have a hard time accepting these facts, then either you are unbelievably stupid or you purposely refuse to think along the lines of logic and reason. The Bible is a book of fairy tales, some of which border on the ridiculous and preposterous; however, you are free to believe and expound on the subject, calling me or anyone who doesn’t agree with you various names. Your posts are funnier than the Three Stooges.
Huh, facts? Again, notice the assumed naturalism. I don’t reject the existence of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny because I am a naturalist, I reject them because of the fact that they cannot provide the preconditions for the intelligability of reality. Only the existence of Satan, men living to 900 years old, and talking donkeys can. Hence, I do not reject those things because of naturalism, but because of Christianity itself! Hence, again I have to point out the bigotry of this man simply assuming his naturalism, and they calling anything foolish that does not comport with his naturalism.
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8 Responses to “Anti-Christian Bigotry from USAToday Readers”

  1. Amir Larijani Says:

    It is my observation that theological liberalism is itself experiencing its death throes. 50 years ago, one could have made the case that Orthodoxy was in trouble, at least in the world of Biblical scholarship, and the academic world of theology. There were very few conservative seminaries, and even at one that were historically conservative, they had no dog in the theological fight.

    Today, the real advancements are being made in conservative scholarship, and naturalists are seeing their agenda come under credible attack. In Biblical scholarship, it is the conservatives that are scoring the points. You wouldn’t know it, given the press that the Jesus Seminar gets.

    The more that comes out of the ground–archaeologically–the more the Scriptures are affirmed. Denominations that have embraced liberalism–from the PCUSA to the ECUSA to the UCC and the ELCA–are dying. Conservative denominations are surviving, some even thriving.

    In America, it’s a little shaky. Some of that is a good thing: we’re finding out who the real Christians are, and who is just going to church to keep up a good image. Outside the West, the Church is doing just fine.

    Of course, the Head of the Church called it: the gates of hell won’t prevail against it.

  2. rushncap Says:

    Brilliant post. If the only way you can make sense of the universe is through talking snakes and/or donkeys, best o’luck to ya. Just be thankful that those of us who live in the real world work on “naturalist” sciences to provide you such comforts as medicine, electronics, transportation and protection.

  3. otrmin Says:

    Rushcap,

    I would say that the only way you can make sense out of medicine, electronics, transportation, and protection is through the existence of the Christian God. Without him, it is impossible to prove anything.

    The point is that the real world *is* God’s world, and, so long as you deny his existence, you will never be able to make sense out of any of the things you do on a daily basis, including science. That is the whole point of the argument. If you do not agree, then how do you make sense out of the principle of induction given your atheism? How do you know that salt will dissolve in water in five minutes in the same way it did in the past, or that the opposite poles of a magnet will attract in five minutes the same way they have in the past? [BTW, the man who said that this argument was unanswerable from your perspective was David Hume, who held to your perspective.]

    In fact, in philosophical circles, this is not even an issue. As Amir said, this type of naturalism is an old, worn out, and refuted theory. It just gets more publicity.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  4. rushncap Says:

    LOL, Adam. That was cute. Look, if YOU can’t make sense of the world any other way, that’s your thing. Please don’t project your failings upon others. I have absolutely no trouble making sense of the universe without your (or anyone else’s) imaginary gods, and neither do millions of other people. I make sense of induction based on Maxwell’s equations, which describe the natural phenomena of electricity and magnetism. You have to pray that god doesn’t turn off gravity. Er, I’m sorry, I meant to say “god doesn’t nullify the Law of Intelligent Falling”. That’s the difference.

    I don’t know much about “philosophical circles”, though I’m pretty certain neither do you. No one has come up with a philosophy that both explains the universe better than physics and, simultaneously, requires some sort of sky-god to maintain it.

    As for Hume — for someone who claims to be all philosophical, to immediate fall into the logical fallacy of appeal to authority is sad. No one has “refuted” naturalism no matter how often you click your heels and say it. Until someone does, your magical religion is just the latest in the long line of various religions.

  5. otrmin Says:

    Rushncap,

    LOL, Adam. That was cute. Look, if YOU can’t make sense of the world any other way, that’s your thing. Please don’t project your failings upon others. I have absolutely no trouble making sense of the universe without your (or anyone else’s) imaginary gods, and neither do millions of other people. I make sense of induction based on Maxwell’s equations, which describe the natural phenomena of electricity and magnetism. You have to pray that god doesn’t turn off gravity. Er, I’m sorry, I meant to say “god doesn’t nullify the Law of Intelligent Falling”. That’s the difference.

    Which, of course, begs the question. How do you know that Maxwell’s equations will always hold? You have explained the uniformity of nature with more uniformity within nature. I asked how you know that there are uniformities within nature at all! You responded with a response that basically says, “Because there is this uniformity in nature based on Maxwell’s equations.” However, that begs the whole question!

    Also, the point is that unless you trust in this God that “seedtime and harvest, winter and summer, and harvest and day and night shall not cease” [Genesis 8:22], you cannot even know that there is uniformity in the natural world.

    Also, you might want to consider the fact that, as a Van Tillian, I don’t believe in atheists. In other words, I don’t believe that you don’t know this God that I am talking about. I believe you do know that he exists as you have to rely on him in order to know that Maxwell’s equations will always hold. If you say that the problem of induction is understandable without this information, I say, “How, given the fact that any naturalist attempting to justify the uniformity of nature will have to appeal to nature itself, he will thus have to beg the whole question.”

    Also, yes I am familiar with philosophical circles, as I am friends with several philosophers, and we discuss this issue. It is not a matter of “appealing to authority,” it is a matter of recognizing how fundamentalist you and the USAToday readers are in your atheism. Also, it is interesting that David Hume already addressed your answer long before you even gave it, and pointed out that it was circular reasoning.

    What is also interesting is that David Hume was willing to pay the price of skepticism for his naturalism. You, for some reason, think that you are more brilliant than one of the best your side has to offer, and one whom even Bertrand Russell could not refute on this point. Again, as I said, I think we need to use the term “fundamentalist atheist” of this kind of irrationality.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  6. rushncap Says:

    I don’t KNOW that Maxwell’s equations will always hold. However, every time we have tested them, they have. Our understanding of nature is such that laws of physics do not arbitrarily change. Until it is shown otherwise, that is the assumption we go by. We don’t know why they don’t change, but giving an entirely made up answer (i.e. god did it) is not better, in my opinion, than saying “I don’t know”. Your answer might well be right, but there is absolutely zilch in the way of evidence for that assertion.

    Also, I don’t care if you’re a Van Tillian, Van Winkian or Van Dammian. If you choose to not believe in my existence, you might want to consider the fact that you’re posting internet blog exchanges with a voice in your head, and go see a shrink. However, I am am real, I am an atheist, so maybe, for once, dealing with reality will be to your benefit.

    Yes, I do know this God you’re talking about. I know lots of gods — yours, Allah, a whole slew of ancient Greek gods. I have not read enough other mythology to know gods of the Native American peoples, or of ancient Egyptians. Which is a shame, to be honest. But yes, I know your god. He’s a character in a book.

    You have, again, failed to provide any refutation of “naturalism” other than to say that it’s circular. Which, of course, is exactly like saying that you appealing to your god is circular, since you have no knowledge of that entity either, so you’re observing the natural world and inventing a god to fit it. I mean, I don’t care, if that’s what you need to stay afloat in life, just don’t assume we all do. That’s all.

    Oh, and spare me the self-righteous “god blesses”. You no more care that god blesses or damns me, so save yourself the typing.

  7. otrmin Says:

    rushncap,

    I don’t KNOW that Maxwell’s equations will always hold. However, every time we have tested them, they have. Our understanding of nature is such that laws of physics do not arbitrarily change. Until it is shown otherwise, that is the assumption we go by. We don’t know why they don’t change, but giving an entirely made up answer (i.e. god did it) is not better, in my opinion, than saying “I don’t know”. Your answer might well be right, but there is absolutely zilch in the way of evidence for that assertion.

    However, if you can’t answer how you know that there are uniformities within nature, then you can’t even know about past experiences. For example, if how do you know that human memory is consistent with what happened in the past? If you can’t know that, then saying that you observed it in the past is rather useless since you can’t know that your memory is uniform with the past. You might say that someone wrote it down in a scientific report. Ok, that assumes that the meanings of the words you are now taking is consistent with the meaning of the author in the past. However, if you cannot make sense out of uniformities within nature, then you can’t even know whether there is this linguistic consistency? In essence, if you cannot know that there is uniformity in nature, than you cannot really know anything, even your past experiences.

    The point is that Christianity can account for it, and naturalism ends up in a position of having to say that they don’t know anything. So, I just simply ask the readers a question. Do you want naturalism which reduces to not being able to know anything, or Christianity which can account for knowledge? Given Christianity you can have knowledge. Given naturalism, knowledge is impossible.

    Also, we do have knowledge of God, as we know him in so far as he reveals himself. According to the Christian worldview, he has revealed himself in his word, and has told us that there would be uniformities in nature. All you can do, in your worldview, is beg the question.

    Finally, when I say that you know God, what I mean by that is that you know that the Christian God exists, because it is in light of him that you do scientific investigation. In a naturalistic universe, science is impossible because it is impossible to know that there are uniformities in nature. Hence, you have to rely on the very God you say does not exist to even do your science.

    God Bless,
    Adam

  8. rushncap Says:

    Adam, you no more know that nature is uniform than me. After all, you have no way of knowing whether your memories are correct either. You may THINK you read the Bible yesterday, but so what? You don’t know if this indeed happened. And the fact that you happen to believe in a god does nothing to change that point. You cannot simply declare, by fiat, that since you believe in god you’re immune to all the problems that the rest of us face. Does not wash. Your god is just as able, in fact far more so, to change any laws of nature, therefore you know nothing either. You believe in uniformity not because of your god, but because the other alternative is baseless rejection of all reality.

    Christianity does not “account for knowledge” in any different way than any other worldview — be it Islam, Hinduism, atheism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Satanism, Deism, agnosticism, Shinto, etc etc etc. Again, you bare assertion is worthless, you provide no evidence that you’re correct.

    Do I “know” that your particular invented god exists. Sure, he’s a character in a book. He exists much like Odin, Isis, Quetzecoatl (sp?), Perun, Tom Sawyer, Moby Dick, Cookie Monster and the Yeti exist. They are invented characters, and owe their existence to the artistic talents of those who thought them up. Does your god exist outside of that? Maybe, but there is zero evidence for that claim. And until there is a bit more than zero, I’ll prefer to stick to things we can test scientifically.

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