Foreknowledge

It's time, once again, to address Bob Hutton's internet-ravings. Reading through his latest, it quickly becomes apparent that Bob's not a student of logic. Nor is he particularly adept at making clear, concise points. The whole post is a mess of half-expressed ideas, paradoxes and misreadings or misrepresentations of his source material; the Bible. And none of it, once you pick out the various strands is new. In fact it's not even new to this blog or to my main blog, where all of the points discussed have been dissected before.

Still an' all, let's go through it and see if some rewording n my own part might finally convince Bob that there's an objection or two he needs to address with more than a hand-waving reference to a Bible-verse. (I'd say I'd like to convince the chap he's wrong about something, but let's not set our goals too high, eh?) Continue reading

A Singluar Lack Of Pointedness

Okay, so I've spent three bloody days trying to wrestle something worth discussing out of Bob's latest. Something which, given how limited his actual point is, I could extend into a point of my own and expand on it.

I have got zip, nada, bugger-all, nowt, sweet Fanny Adams.

So okay, Bob thinks that the fall of the church-persecuting Soviet Union is evidence that "the Gospel had triumphed over communism and God had had the last word against those who opposed Him and His word – the Bible." It can't have been caused by human corruption and the failure of the economic system. It must've been God! Continue reading

Gott Mit Uns

So Bob's written this little "we wuz only following orders" apologetic, which he's entitled, "I could never worship a God like that!"

He says…

In the Bible God commanded King Saul to attack the Amalekites and completely wipe them out, every last one of them. He was also commanded him [sic] to destroy all the animals. However, the king disobeyed the Lord and spared King Agag. He also spared a number of animals ostensibly to use them as sacrifices to the Lord. Continue reading

Israel: Proof That Cherry-Picking & Re-Interpretation Of The Bible Can “Prove” Anything You Want It To

Finally catching up on Hutton's latest, let's start with this little gem:

Issues like evolution, abortion and gays are important, and we should have Biblical views on them, but people's need of personal salvation come first.

Quite why anyone should have a view on abortion and LGBT rights is beyond me. In any sane world, what a person wants to do with their own body, and who they might want to do it with, should be none of my, your, or Bob's business. And that's my "view" on abortion and people acting on their sexuality in a nutshell; people are free to do whatever the hell they want, regardless of whether I'd want to do it or not, and what doesn't affect me, is none of my business. Fact is, if those nosy-parkers like Bob, who think that they need to have a view on matters which are none of their bloody business (and why is it that such people always turn out to be anti-whatever-it-is-they-have-a-view-on?), would realise that it is, in fact, none of their business and that they have no right to tell others how to behave in these matters, then no one else would need to be bothered about it either.

And evolution? The correct way to assess a scientific theory is to study the science, not look to an ancient book of tribal mythology and morality tales. The world is what you can show it to be, not what you want it to be or would like to claim it to be. Using the Bible to judge the correctness of the theory of evolution makes no more sense than seeking a nutritionist's opinion on the practicality of your design for a suspension bridge. Ludicrous!

Moving on, apparently…

…we see a huge number of Old Testament prophecies and how they are fulfilled in Christ. Continue reading

Bob’s Rebirth: A Painful Experience For All Concerned

Born again‽ No, I'm not. Excuse me for getting it right the first time.
Dennis Miller

I'm a bit late getting to Bob's latest couple of dribblings, not having noticed he'd posted them. (My own fault. I've been having fun with Thunderbird of late, and in a tidying-up exercise, I deleted the RSS feeds of a few blogs which seem to have deceased; in the course of which I deleted Bob's by mistake.) This is in response to the first of the two, The New Birth.

I'll dispense with his preamble, and get straight into his major points…

1. Why is the New Birth necessary?
It is necessary because we are, in our natural state, dead in trespasses and sins (see Ephesians 2 v 1). This speaks for itself; there is no spiritual life in people who do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. This is why they consider the claims of Christ to be irrelevant and not important enough to give any thought to. Moreover, those who die in that state of spiritual deadness are under God's condemnation for all eternity.
[My emphasis]

No, Bob, we consider Jesus's claims—or those made on his behalf—to be the son and representative of a god, unevidenced. Until we see extraordinary evidence in support of this highly extraordinary claim, we will, indeed, consider those claims irrelevant. In fact, Bob, you yourself treat, for instance, Mohammed's and the Pope's claims to be the sole Earthly representative of your god in exactly the same fashion, so please don't pretend you don't understand this point.

2. What is the operation of the New Birth?
In other words, how does it happen? It happens when the Holy Spirit of God comes upon people and gives them new life. It cannot be explained, but needs to be experienced (ie. better felt than telt). I experienced this, in my own life, in September 1975 when I got saved. Millions of people all over the world, over the last 2 millenia, [sic] have also experienced the same phenomena. The Bible likens it to a wind which cannot be seen but it's [sic] effects are clearly visible (see John 3 v 8).

People have been experiencing holy transcendence, whether real, imagined, or a mixture of both (the feeling may be, and usually is, real, even if the cause is misattributed) for way longer than two thousand years, Bob. In fact, your own Biblical Abraham underwent such an epiphany, and would (according to answers in genesis' discussion of the literal dating I assume you adhere to) have lived, at the earliest, somewhere around four thousand years ago.

Which, yeah, I know Bob would claim that anyone having such feelings prior to Christ having lived and delivered his message (even Abraham‽) was basically mistaken. And that's my point. Why should I believe your feelings to represent reality, Bob, when you yourself claim that others who've had seemingly identical feelings are mistaken? If you cannot show me a difference between X and Y, then my first and best assumption is going to be that X and Y are, in fact the same thing. Which means I must assume that all gods who such feelings are attributed to are real, or that they're all imaginary. Given the lack of any evidence shown apart from these feelings, and given that these feelings cannot be shown to be attributable to a real, rather than imaginary, god, we're still left with a lack of useful evidence.

If that seemed a bit wordy, here's the simplified version. What actual difference can you show me, Bob, between your feeling of being in touch with a divine being and that you are right about which book describes that being, and the equally sincere belief of a Muslim, a Hindu or a Pagan that they are in touch with the divine and that they are right about who that being is?

3. What is the condition of the New Birth?
The answer is found in 1st John 5 v 1 where we read that "everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God". When we come to the realisation that we are lost sinners, that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, and we truly repent and accept Him, then we are Born Again. God brings us to newness of life. The Bible puts it like this: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" 2nd Corinthians 5 v 17.

Personally, I think that "original sin" is one of the most abhorrent doctrines I know of. The idea that a person's mere existence warrants punishment and abuse, and needs atoning for, is, after all, the basis of such lovely world-views as racism and misogyny.

Also, I see nothing laudable about a being—if it even exists—who would create us in a state for which they will then punish us, and then make release from that punishment contingent upon believing in their own existence, which they at they same time make no effort to provide believable evidence for, but leave it up to personal faith.

And nor do I believe that another person, be they the son of the Almighty or not, can atone for my actions, whether they endure death by torture on a Roman cross or do two weeks' community service picking up litter. If I do something wrong, then it is I who needs to attempt to put that wrong right. Whether that earns me forgiveness from the person I've wronged is another matter, and is entirely up to the wronged person to decide, but it will quite justifiably be my attempts to atone, not those of a third party, which they will base that decision on. That is a moral standard which, allegedly, your god has instilled in me. If I judge his idea of what constitutes atonement in the light of that standard, he has only himself to blame if I judge him to be a hypocritical, amoral wanker.

4. What is the result of the New Birth? I've already alluded to this in the previous paragraph when mentioning the new life we experience. We are also adopted into God's family; we become His children (see John 1 v 11-13). Many people believe that we are all naturally God's children but this is not the case. We are all, naturally, the devil's children; but when we get saved then, and only then, do we become the children of God through faith in Christ.
[My emphasis]

This premise is nothing but fantasy, even by Biblical-inerrancy standards. "We are all, naturally, the devil's children"? Give me chapter and verse for that please. Show me where Satan created Adam and Eve. Show me the Christian prayer which begins "Our father, who art in Hell, Cursed be thy name." (And no, anticipating the obvious response, 1 John 3:8 does not imply that we are all children of the devil. It does not say that all who are "born in sin" (Ugh!) are of the devil, but only that those who actively commit sin are of the devil.)

All in all, Bob, you've said little here that you haven't said many times before, you've made no attempt to address objections people have made time and time again to these assertions, and the one new point you've made doesn't even appear to be supported by the scripture you claim to be inerrant. Poor work. Very poor.
Daz


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