Posted by Pastoral Musings on 1st January 2013
Here is a statement from Infidels.org.
“NOTE: These lists are meant to identify possible problems in the Bible, especially problems which are inherent in a literalist or fundamentalist interpretation. Some of the selections may be resolvable on certain interpretations–after all, almost any problem can be eliminated with suitable rationalizations–but it is the reader’s obligation to test this possibility and to decide whether it really makes appropriate sense to do this. To help readers in this task, these lists are aimed at presenting examples where problems may exist given certain allowable (but not always obligatory) assumptions. It should be kept in mind that a perfect and omnipotent God could, should, and likely would see to it that such problems did not exist in a book which s/he had inspired. It should also be kept in mind that what is and is not an inconsistency or contradiction is to some extent a matter of opinion. You are entitled to disagree with the author that these are, in fact, inconsistencies or contradictions.
IMPORTANT: Please keep in mind that by “inconsistencies” I do not necessarily mean “contradictions.” Even though accepted and common definitions of the two terms often make them synonymous, I make a subtle distinction which is reflected in at least some of the accepted definitions. What I have in mind is that an inconsistency involves a lack of harmonious uniformity, regularity, steady continuity, or agreement among the verses cited. Thus, whereas a contradiction is necessarily an inconsistency, an inconsistency is not necessarily a contradiction. But certainly some of the listed biblical inconsistencies could be taken as biblical contradictions.”
What is contradictory about this statement?
The fact that they think that they are able to point out contradictions.
You see, logic is only logical in the worldview of the Christian Theist. The atheist and agnostic cannot use logic consistently with their worldview.
Because there is no absolute, intelligent, reasoning personality. That is, there is no standard for logic. If we have simply evolved to where we are today, our logic has evolved. That means that, tomorrow, our logic may have evolved even more. If that were the case, what was an inconsistency or contradiction today may be perfectly clear to us tomorrow. Reason would not be reason, because our thinking would be in a constant state of change.
Logic DEMANDS an absolute. Atheism and agnosticism have no absolutes. Thus they have no logic.
Thus they cannot logically speak of inconsistencies and contradictions in the Scriptures.
Tags: atheism, Contradiction, Scriptures
Posted in apologetics, Bible, higher criticism, liberalism, logic, truth | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 31st July 2011
The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. The looming economic and environmental collapse will provide sparks and tinder to transform this coarse language of fundamentalist hatred into, I fear, the murderous rampages experienced by Norway. I worry more about the Anders Breiviks than the Mohammed Attas.
via Chris Hedges: Fundamentalism Kills – Chris Hedges’ Columns – Truthdig.
Such irresponsible writing.
Fundamentalism is not extremism. The words are not synonyms.
Neither can an atheist be a Fundamentalist, as Fundamentalism is uniquely Christian.
A Fundamentalist cannot be a terrorist either. Christian Fundamentalism will take us back to the basics of the faith of Jesus Christ, whose teachings direct us to love our enemies.
I truly wish that people would study and think before they begin their uniformed spewing of vitriolic nonsense.
Tags: atheism, fundamentalism, Fundamentalist Christianity, terrorism
Posted in Fundamentals | 1 Comment »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 1st June 2011
Image via Wikipedia
Ken Ham on the brouhaha about the historicity of Adam and Eve:
The interesting point is that this quote actually does deal with the real issue, and sadly, atheists understand this better than the majority of Christian academics these days. And in this instance, as shocking as it may seem, I agree with the atheists, not the majority of Christian academics. The following is what the atheists say (now I don’t agree with the first paragraph of course, but I agree with the essence of their points as you read them): Chances are, if you’re reading this, you don’t believe in the fable of Adam and Eve and the talking snake. You probably think it’s a story, created out of ignorance, to explain the origin of life. You probably don’t believe that Adam literally ate a fruit, resulting in God expelling him and Eve out of the idyllic Garden of Eden. In other words, you know that’s a myth. Right so far? So if Adam and Eve and the Talking Snake are myths, then Original Sin is also a myth, right? Well, think about it. Jesus’ major purpose was to save mankind from Original Sin. Original Sin makes believers unworthy of salvation, but you get it anyway, so you should be grateful for being saved (from that which does not exist) Without Original Sin, the marketing that all people are sinners and therefore need to accept Jesus falls moot. All we are asking is that you take what you know into serious consideration, even if it means taking a hard look at all you’ve been taught for your whole life. No Adam and Eve means no need for a savior. It also means that the Bible cannot be trusted as a source of unambiguous, literal truth. It is completely unreliable, because it all begins with a myth, and builds on that as a basis. No Fall of Man means no need for atonement and no need for a redeemer. You know it. (http://atheists.org/atheism/Christmas)
via I Agree with the Atheists! | Around the World with Ken Ham.
Tags: Adam, Adam Eve, Answers in Genesis, atheism, creation, Eve, evolution, Garden of Eden, God, historical Adam, Jesus, Ken Ham
Posted in apologetics, Bible, biblical criticism, creation, depravity, doctrinal issues, doctrine, exegesis, Genesis, gospels, hermeneutics, higher criticism, history, Inerrancy, Jesus, liberalism, misc, New Testament, Old Testament, origins, Preaching, Scripture, theology, Uncategorized | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 11th January 2011
A Reasonable God: Engaging the New Face of Atheism by Gregory E. Ganssle
A reasonable God.
The author declares that his intentions are to counter the arguments of the new atheists. He acknowledges that the book takes a defensive tone and does not claim to be the all-in-all apologetics study. What he does is examine the arguments of the new atheists and determine whether they stand muster or not.
Folks such as Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris have written books that are hits among many who don’t want God. Ganssle examines the arguments put forth by these writers and deals with them. While he is defensive in posture, he is not offensive in tone. I think that is a good thing.
Ganssle, in examining these arguments, is fair. He is also honest. His honesty is such that there are a few times in which he acknowledges the weaknesses of certain arguments for theism.
What I truly like about this book is the fact that it is not over the head of the average reader, though the author takes pains to carefully examine arguments and build counter arguments.
I think that I will find myself pulling this book off the shelf in the future for the purpose of revisiting particular issues discussed in it.
A worthwhile read for the person interested in the reasonable nature of theism.
This review copy provided freely by Baylor University Press. There was no demand or expectation of a positive review.
View all my reviews
Tags: apologetics, atheism, Baylor University Press, Dawkins, Gregory Ganssle, Hitchens, Sam Harris
Posted in book reviews | 1 Comment »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 30th December 2010
The issue of the relationship between faith and biblical studies has been debated for a while. Recently Jim West pointed us to an article related to this issue. While I would not agree with all that is said in the article, let us notice the following:
Offer religious readings of the sacred texts to religious students. Recognize and celebrate their (our?) faith, and explore the texts within that framework, with spiritual goals in view. Such a study would not focus almost exclusively on the last century or two of scholarship. Rather it would give students a sense of how our spiritual ancestors wrestled with the texts. Thus revealing that our predecessors read the Bible using a range of non-literal hermeneutics, and how they read parts in the light of the whole. Particularly it would show that Christian readers in the past understood everything in Scripture in the light of the story of Jesus.
I must agree.
I also must say that I would hate to be the man who is praised in this manner:
..I began having some basic doubts about Christianity and the existence of god..
..Fortunately, through the internet I have found bloggers and their readers that have shown me that I am not the only one with a new and ever-changing paradigm of belief. That’s how I came across your blog…
To be a professional in biblical studies is a great responsibility. To use that position for anything other than the building up of faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God is to deny the message of the Scriptures in every way. Why? Because the Scriptures cannot be ripped apart piece by piece, pitting one section against another, and denying that it is a united whole. It simply cannot be done. That is to ignore the approach of too many previous greats such as the Ante-Nicene Fathers. It is to ignore the testimony of Scripture to itself. It is to ignore the words of Jesus who said that the Scripture of the Old Testament spoke of Him.
When one does the above things, any external document can be made to seemingly contradict long and deeply held doctrines of the Christian church such as the deity of Jesus Christ and monotheism. I cannot help but wonder why there is such a fascination with ancient literature, such high regard given to it, and such little regard given to Scripture. I know, I know, the argument is that Scripture should be taken in its own historical context. I agree with that. The only problem is that Scripture should be given at least the same respect as these other documents, yet it is obvious that it is not, but it is subjected to the “authority” of those other texts. The playing ground does not seem to be level at all, does it?
I’m sure that I’ll get into hot water over this. I can only say that I am thankful to be one of those horrible Fundamentalists. I also am glad to have the opportunity to learn from great Fundamentalists such as Gresham Machen (1 & 2), who, though he did not like the term, certainly embraced the beliefs. No, I don’t have an advanced degree in anything but hard knocks in life. That makes me much less in the eyes of many. As a middle-aged person who has studied the Bible academically, devotionally, theologically, and with a desire to honor the God who gave it to us, I must say that I pray I’ll never be guilty of confirming anyone in unbelief.
Biblical studies should lead people to the kingdom of God. That seemed to be Jesus’ idea.
Luke 11:52 (NLT)
52 “What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.”
Tags: agnosticism, atheism, Bible, Biblical studies, doubt, God, scholarship, skepticism
Posted in apologetics, Bible, doctrinal issues, doctrine, Fundamentals, liberalism, ministry, pastoral issues, Scripture | 2 Comments »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 2nd June 2010
MT 1:20-23, LK 1:26-33 An angel announces to Joseph and/or Mary that the child (Jesus) will be “great,” the “son of the Most High,” etc., and ….
MT 3:13-17, MK 1:9-11 The baptism of Jesus is accompanied by the most extraordinary happenings, yet ….
MK 3:21 Jesus’ own relatives (or friends) attempt to constrain him, thinking that he might be out of his mind, and ….
MK 6:4-6 Jesus says that a prophet is without honor in his own house (which certainly should not have been the case considering the Annunciation and the Baptism).
It is often only by looking for fault that fault is found. So it is in this particular case.
All of the Scripture references listed above are true. Together they do not make a discrepancy or error. One only needs to remember that it was prophesied that Jesus would not be received by the people:
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. ” (Isaiah 53:3, KJV)
We also read a statement in the second Psalm that is used to show that Jesus would be rejected:
“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. ” (Psalm 2:2–3, KJV)
The early church recognized this as referring to the Christ (Messiah, anointed one):
“ they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. ” (Acts 4:24–28, KJV)
The glorious thing about being able to refute this “finding of an error” is the fact that once again the Gospel of Jesus can be preached. God’s love for us sinners was so great that He gave Jesus to die for our sins. He was raised from the dead and now receives, forgives, and gives eternal life to all who believe Him.
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: ” (John 1:10–12, KJV)
Tags: agnostic, agnosticism, apologetics, atheism, atheist, Bible, Biblical apologetics, christian apologetics, God's Word, gospel, presuppositional apologetics, skeptic, Word of God
Posted in apologetics | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 26th May 2010
MT 1:18-21 The Annunciation occurred after Mary had conceived Jesus.
LK 1:26-31 It occurred before conception.
MT 1:20 The angel spoke to Joseph.
LK 1:28 The angel spoke to Mary.
Wow! How simplistic can one be?
It only takes a cursory reading of the text to see that there are two different events recorded. In Luke the angel speaks to Mary. In Matthew the angel speaks to Joseph. The time, the place, and the persons are different.
I must observe that one finds what one wishes to find. If he seeks errors, he shall find what he deems to be an error.
On the other hand, with the Bible, he will always find truth. That is why they seek errors in the Bible. They simply do not wish to face the truth of the Bible.
Tags: agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, atheist, Bible, Bible inconsistencies, Biblical apologetics, Christian, christian apologetics, God's Word, presuppositional apologetics, Scripture, skeptic
Posted in apologetics, Bible, exegesis, modesty | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 19th May 2010
MT 1:17 There were twenty-eight generations from David to Jesus.
LK 3:23-38 There were forty-three.
Is this truly an issue of an inconsistency or discrepancy?
Could it be that the Biblical writers wrote with a purpose?
Could that purpose not necessitate a strict listing of every person in the lineage of Jesus?
We have already seen that the two genealogies are different, and are different for a reason.
It should be no surprise, then, that there is a difference in the number of generations counted from David to Jesus.
Why? Because the purpose was simply to show that Jesus was of the lineage of David, and of the seed of Abraham.
In an oral culture it is most likely that only the most important of names were retained in the genealogies. If Uncle Joe was insignificant, he might have been dropped. One less name would make the list of names easier to remember and transmit to others. Uncle Joe was not a significant “missing link”. He could probably be found it there were need to find him in history. The fact that he didn’t make the list doesn’t mean that the list was incorrect. Grandpa Ebenezer may have been skipper for the same reason. You don’t forget Solomon, though. Important names are retained along with a few lesser names to show the connection.
The person to person connection isn’t as important as showing that the genealogical connection existed.
These two genealogies are not contradictory or inconsistent. They serve different purposes and are formed to carry out those purposes.
Tags: agnostic, agnosticism, apologetics, atheism, atheist, Bible, Biblical apologetics, christian apologetics, Christianity, genealogy of Jesus, God's Word, New Testaement studies, New Testament, presuppositional apologetics, Scripture, skeptic, Word of God
Posted in apologetics, Bible, exegesis, liberalism, New Testament | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 1st May 2010
It seems that some folks think that they can totally subdue their bias and study the NT simply as literature.
Importantly, Professor Ehrman’s approach is as an historian, and the course “suspends” belief or disbelief to understand how, when, why, and by whom the New Testament was written. He explains in detail the light that historical research brings to the texts. He also reviews key texts omitted from the New Testament.
Jesus is not dealt with so simply. You either love Him or hate Him. You either believe or do not. That affects everything that one does.
“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, ” (Romans 1:19–22, KJV)
One’s faith in God, or lack thereof, has an impact on his thinking.
Tags: atheism, Bart Ehrman, Bible, faith, Jesus, New Testament, unbelief
Posted in Bible, doctrine, hermeneutics | 1 Comment »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 23rd September 2009
GE 22:1-12, DT 8:2 God tempts (tests) Abraham and Moses.
JG 2:22 God himself says that he does test (tempt).
1CO 10:13 Paul says that God controls the extent of our temptations.
JA 1:13 God tests (tempts) no one.
On the surface this does indeed look like an inconsistency. Why is it not?
It is not inconsistent because there is one thing that is very important in reading the Bible- CONTEXT.
There are three basic rules to remember when reading the Bible:
3. You got it…..Context
Someone once wisely said that ” a text without a context is a pretext”. How true, especially in this situation.
In the Old Testament passages cited God is putting people to test to refine them and to bring to light what is in their hearts.
In the passage from 1Cor the Scripture is presenting us with encouragement that God will not allow us to face temptation to sin that is more than we can handle, because He will always provide a way to avoid, or overcome in times of temptation. This does not mean that God sends temptation to sin our way. It does mean that God does control how much we are tempted and won’t allow us to be overcome. Thus we are encouraged to trust God who will help us in temptation.
The last passage is totally out of context. Why? Because the context tells us that God does not tempt us with evil. It is obvious, however, from the context of the argument presenting this as an inconsistency that the skeptic wishes us to think that God does indeed tempt us with evil. If that is not the intent, the only other would be for us to think that God does not test (tempt) us at all. Either way one looks at it, this is a terrible abuse of the Bible and takes the verse totally out of its context.
Let us be glad that God tempts (tests) us so that He might refine us. He gives us choices and we are tested by trials and hardships in life, as was Joseph (See Ps 105:15-22).
Let us also be glad that God is for His people (See Rom 8:31) and will not tempt us to sin. If He were to do so, none would be able to stand before Him (Cf Ps 130:3-4)
Tags: agnostic, agnosticism, apologetics, atheism, atheist, Bible, Biblical apologetics, christian apologetics, Christianity, God's Word, presuppositional apologetics, Scripture, skeptic, theology, Word of God
Posted in apologetics, Bible | Comments Off