Republican Televangelist Preaches Divisive, UnChristian Partisanship at RNC

I haven’t met the Christian God yet, but I’ve seen His literature around town and spend time with many of His acquaintances. As far as I can tell, this Christian God fellow would never sanction a prayer like that offered by televangelist Mark Burns as a benediction at the Republican National Convention:

Hello, Republicans! I’m Pastor Mark Burns from the great state of South Carolina! I’m gonna pray and I’m gonna give the benediction. And you know why? Because we are electing a man in Donald Trump who believes in the name of Jesus Christ. And Republicans, we got to be united, because our enemy is not other Republicans, but is Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

Let’s pray together. Father God, in the name of Jesus, Lord, we’re so thankful for the life of Donald Trump. We’re thankful that you are guiding him, that you are giving him the words to unite this party, this country, that we together can defeat the liberal Democratic Party, to keep us divided and not united. Because we are the United States of America, and we are the conservative party under God.

To defeat every attack that comes against us, protect the life of Donald Trump. Give him the words, give him the peace, give him the power and authority to be the next President of the United States of America. In Jesus’ name—if you believe it, shout “Amen!” [Mark Burns, benediction, Republican National Convention]

Burns loses a point for redundancy at the top—to “give the benediction” is to “pray”. He loses another point for asserting that Donald Trump “believes in the name of Jesus Christ,” a statement that may only be technically true in that Trump does indeed believe as I do that the name “Jesus Christ” exists and can be politically useful, but a statement that does not appear to align with any prominently and exemplary Christian behavior exhibited in Trump’s words and actions. He loses a third point for claiming God is giving Trump words, because the sources of the Trumps’ words are Michelle Obama, F.H. Buckley, and regretful ghostwriter Tony Schwartz.

But Burns forfeits the title of “Pastor” (and that claim is already tenuous, since the TV entrepreneur’s only academic credentials appear to be a GED) when he asks God to favor one American political party over another and refers to a fellow Christian (Clinton can assert her faith at least as credibly as Trump or Burns). Even from my outsider perspective, I feel confident concluding that the God of the Israelites, the God who sent His Son to Earth to be nailed to a cross by the Romans, only to enjoy Constantine’s imperial conversion three centuries later, does not favor any partisan candidate or group. A pastor should recognize God’s partisanship and preach to all souls, not just the ones with the same voter registration.

Burns’s speech is contradictory and maledictory. Lutheran Pastor Hans Fiene dissects Burns’s malediction, noting that Trump’s adultery, greed, insults, and rejection of forgiveness do not embody the Christian ethos. Neither, says Pastor Fiene, do Burns’s words:

First, I think you meant to pray that God would keep us united and not divided, although the Freudian slip is rather fitting given the context of your prayer. Second, Pastor Burns, if you want to defeat the forces of godlessness that swim in the waters of the Democratic Party, get off the stage in Cleveland and go do the things that God says will actually drive sin from the hearts of both Republicans and Democrats.

Preach the gospel that unites all who believe it. Tell people their sins are forgiven. Tell them they are now free to love their neighbors because God has loved them through the blood of his Son. Tell them that, because Christ’s kingdom is not of this earth, they are free to love those who have a different approach to the work of earthly kingdoms. Speak the words that have caused people in every generation to stop loving the sins unique to their respective political ideologies, to embrace those they once called their enemies, and totrust not in princes, but in the King of Kings [Pastor Hans Fiene, “Why Mark Burns’ RNC Benediction Was Terrible,” The Federalist, 2016.07.19].

I’m not a pastor, but I can tell when someone isn’t doing a pastor’s job. With his RNC malediction, Mark Burns speaks as Republican, but not as a Christian pastor.


110 Responses to Republican Televangelist Preaches Divisive, UnChristian Partisanship at RNC

  1. Steve Sibson

    The sad excuse for a Christian prayer provides an example of the kind of deception that too many believe is Christian, yet it falls short of what the Bible says followers of Jesus Christ should be doing…presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ. Fiene correctly identified Burns’ false gospel as being a “prosperity gospel”, which is prevalent among televangelists. The false “dominion theology” is also a partner in this political right version of fake Christianity.

    The political left’s version of false Christianity is the “social gospel”, which violates the Biblical principle of coveting. That movement does include the liberal Lutherans. Haven’t done enough research on Fiene to determine if he is that brand of Lutheran. Cory do you know if he is a ELCA?

  2. What – they couldn’t get Franklin Graham to preach politics to the GOP Party faithful?

    This Burns guy comprehends neither Christianity nor Donald Trump.

  3. Don Coyote

    @cah: “Burns loses a point for redundancy at the top—to “give the benediction” is to “pray” ”

    Actually not. There is a distinction between a prayer and a benediction. A prayer is speaking to God, a request for His help, an intercession or to give thanks while a benediction (usually given at the end) is a blessing of the gathering.

    […]

  4. Stace Nelson

    Grrrrrrrrrr! Shame on this man for using the Lord’s name in vain. My “enemy” is not Hillary, nor my fellow Americans who make up the Democratic Party, and I refuse to perpetuate such nonsense.

    I disagree with Sec Clinton, her politics, and the wholesale black cloud of corruption that engulfs her life. I believe in opposing her political agenda via traditional conservative American values that freed us from tyranny and promoted freedom for all.

  5. Don Coyote

    @cah: “…because the sources of the Trumps’ words are Michelle Obama, F.H. Buckley, and regretful ghostwriter Tony Schwartz.”

    Are you implying that Michelle Obama wrote her own plagiarized speech for the 2008 Democrat Convention all by herself? That’s odd since all this time I thought it was veteran speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz. Hurwitz, a former Hillary speechwriter, was brought on board specifically for this speech since earlier speeches by Mother Michelle were pretty perfunctory (translation: awful).

    While Schwartz might be regretful for ghostwriting “The Art of the Deal”, he at least got a shared byline on the cover (which begs the question can you ghostwrite a book when your name is on the cover?) and half the royalties which is more than Barbara Feinman Todd got from Hillary for writing “It Takes a Village” or Ted Sorenson got from JFK for writing “Profiles in courage”.

  6. Mike Henriksen

    This “pastor” does not practice the same Christianity I do. Satan is the enemy, and the Jesus I know is inclusive.

    As a friend of mine once said: “I have nothing against people who are Christians, but their public relations people suck!”

  7. mike from iowa

    The sad excuse for a Christian prayer provides an example of the kind of deception that too many believe is Christian, today’s wingnut party brand of kristian. Where was the 2a blessing?

    I plagiarized Sibby in the exact same order.

  8. Steve Hickey

    Yep. Definitely a cringeworthy prayer. Dems and Hillary are not our enemy.

    Listening to this guy made we think that is what it was like for the Obama’s in church each Sunday with the imprecatory prayers of their angry and unloving pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

  9. Steve Sibson

    “Satan is the enemy, and the Jesus I know is inclusive”

    How does that line up with the exclusivity of Jesus Christ:

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

    Perhaps you are siding with the enemy and don’t know it.

  10. Bill Dithmer

    Its nothing, just like the prayer in a locker room before a game.

    I dont know what anyone expected from this turd biscuit. He was asked tp “perform” at the GOP convention, he was just playing to the crowd.

    The one thing that has always bothered me about prayers like this. If you think God has picked you and your party to win, and you dont, wouldnt that shake your faith to the bone? Wouldnt you be just a little concerned that in fact God didnt pick you? Wouldnt you look for ways to change?

    Like I Said before, its just words, but it seems like even if you think your praying to a god, your really ptaying for the power to control.

    I know it aint pretty, but its the way the religions of this world work. They praise god when things go their way, but make excuses when they dont. It wasnt Gods fault but someone elses. Even when they say their god controls everything. Hpw does that work?

    The Blindman

  11. Mike,
    I agree with you. Christianity is inclusive. “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you”. Jesus made this point, we all just need to hear it and do it.

  12. Sibby and I agree: “prosperity gospel” is wrong.

  13. Coyote, if I’m praying, I’m benedicting. Redundant… but as I said, only one point off compared to Burns’s real error of thinking Christianity and Republican Party membership are the same thing.

  14. Steve Sibson

    Hank, how inclusive was Jesus with the hypocrites?

    “angry and unloving pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright”

    Yes, the very sad false liberation theology that is currently pushed by Pope Francis. And the liberal protestants are going along with it because of their belief in the false social gospel. This is setting up the “inclusive” ecumenical religious system that represents the harlot used to set up the one-world political/economic system for Satan. Unity based on paganism will even attract atheists, who seek pragmatism.

  15. On your other distraction, Coyote—gotcha! Unlike the Trumps, I choose my words carefully and use them with a keen sense of meaning. I speak of “sources,” not “plagiarism.” To erect another strawman distraction, you draw an implication that I do not make. God is not the source of the Trumps’ words… but if he’s the source of Melania’s, he’s darned bad at citing sources.

  16. Bill Dithmer, real pastors don’t get to play to the crowd. This wasn’t a private conversation; this was a public event. In public, pastors always wear the collar, and they are always called to preach to everyone.

    A conscientious pastor preaches and prays as if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were in the pews. A conscientious pastor speaks as if the richest woman in town and the poorest woman in town are there, as if the congregation includes Americans and Mexicans, Romans and Jerusalemites, Africans and Asians. The Word must include everyone. Burns excludes everyone but conservative Republicans. Burns is not preaching the Word. He is more likely grasping for dollars.

  17. I was more bothered by Herman Cain’s accusations about Clinton being a disciple of a devil worshiper. One of these was a candidate for the republican nomination, the other is a starry eyed pastor who was participating in performance art, imo.

  18. Ted Cruz claimed God spoke to him and gave him the green light to seek the Presidency. Apparently Cruz is colorblind.

    Rick Santorum (and his wife) stated in his previous campaign that him running was what God wants, and he continued to reference God as being part of his campaign this time. Considering Santorum dropped out after Iowa, I guess maybe he misinterpreted what God actually wanted.

    Mike Huckabee referenced God’s plans numerous times but he too fell far, far short of the nomination.

    Scott Walker stated that his running for President was “God’s plan” for him, but he didn’t last too long. I guess God had other plans.

    Several others such as Paul, Rubio, and even Kasich made comments about God and their campaigns… but where are they today?

    All of these guys seem to believe God has a plan and that they should follow it… funny how not a single one of them has stated it was God’s plan to have Obama win not one, but two terms, and how today the likelihood of a Hillary Clinton Presidency are very high. Is this God’s plan too?

    The Republican party needs to shed itself of these hucksters and form a party of true conservatives. If there was ever an indicator of how broken this party has become it is on full display in Cleveland. This is not the party of Lincoln any longer.

  19. Steve Sibson, how inclusive was Christ on the cross? His life evolved and was changing from his early preaching to his death. You say my beliefs are allowing Satan to triumph because I don’t live up to your standard? If that is what you think, then I will accept that and move on. See you in Heaven, sorry, you don’t think I am headed that way, so, have a great life!

  20. Steve Sibson

    “I don’t live up to your standard?”

    It is not my standard, they are from the Word of God. And I hope to see you in heaven, but do you think everyone will be there no matter which side they took while on this earth? Is that the gospel of Jesus Christ and is what resulted from his dying on the cross, and then defeated Satan by rising from the dead three days later? You can do whatever you want and you are automatically forgiven? Is that the love of Jesus Christ? If so, then do you also expect to see Satan in heaven? And how about Mark Burns? Will you see him in heaven too?

  21. mike from iowa

    Wingnuts kristians have squawked for years that god has turned his back on America because gays,abortions and liberals.
    godless Clintons have and will take their lumps for adhering closer to god’s words than most wingnuts.

  22. mike from iowa

    I don’t recall many right wing pols confessing they could be better kristians. I have heard numerous claims that their god and wives have forgiven them.

  23. David Newquist

    The aim was to give a benedictory aspect to what the entire convention has become as a massive ritual of hate, as it builds up a lynch mob intensity to take out Hillary Clinton, with Chris Christie conducting. In Jesus name.

    Orwell portrayed this technique in “1984” with the two minutes of hate, which the GOP has expended into a week long event.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvGmOZ5T6_Y

  24. David Newquist

    expanded

  25. Roger Cornelius

    On Facebook the past few days, Steve Hickey has been promoting the controversial Rev. Wright. Somehow I knew he would eventually end up on DFP promoting the old news of Rev. Wright.

    What is truly odd about this Burns fellow and other blacks that support Trump is that Trump hates blacks and has made numerous derogatory comments about them.

  26. mike from iowa

    Difference between liberals and wingnuts comes down to choice. Libs have literally hundreds of right wing fauxknee gospel mongers to criticize. Wingnuts have only Jeremiah Wright.

  27. Don’t let U becky becky becky becky stan stan man bother you, Dicta. He will only have a minor cabinet post in President Trump’s cabinet.

  28. Steve Sibson

    Mike, you can add these false Christian teachers to Jeremiah Wright:

    http://so4j.com/false-teachers

  29. Steve Sibson

    Mike, this wingnut has a very big list to add to Jeremiah Wright:

    http://www.thepathoftruth.com/false-teachers/#list

  30. Steve Sibson

    Here are some of the false teachers that influenced Steve Hickey (Note Bob Jones and Mike Bickle):

    http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/8.htm

  31. Roger Elgersma

    When I saw Trump enter to the tune, ‘you are the champion of the world.’ I thought of the anti Christ. He will look good, he will fool many. He is arrogant enough to not be putting his real trust in God but he trusts his own brand to much for a real pastor of God to participate with him. He found a pastor who likes to be the show, which is a fit for trump. I do have Republican friends who had friends tell them not to be delegates because they would need to many vomit bags for the convention. The whole thing stinks and the world is watching on TV, not a good way to portray ourselves as being arrogant and dominating. That show could become a recruiting tool for ISIS.

  32. I’d suggest anyone who tries to pass off a book of fiction as historical fact should be classified as a false teacher… so these lists will need to be much larger.

  33. Steve Sibson

    “I’d suggest anyone who tries to pass off a book of fiction as historical fact should be classified as a false teacher”

    Yes, schools should stop teaching Darwinism and evolution.

  34. Steve Sibson

    Sorry, I let myself go off topic with Craig’s comment, but then it does lead us to Cory’s use of “UnChristian” in the title of the post. Upon what source did Cory and those who agree with him use to judge Mark Burns UnChristian?

  35. Steve: “Yes, schools should stop teaching Darwinism and evolution.”

    Considering this display of ignorance and misunderstanding of what constitutes scientific fact, we can be thankful you haven’t been elected to a school board.

  36. Steve Sibson

    “what constitutes scientific fact”

    Evolution is not a scientific fact. That fact is Darwin was a racist who came up with a theory that cannot be proven in a laboratory. It takes as much faith, if not more, to belief in his writings as it does to believe that the Bible is God inspired.

    Now for the on topic question, on what source do we judge the prayer “UnChristian”?

  37. If a person were looking for the ultimate evidence that God loves Democrats, it’s hard to imagine a clearer sign than Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president (ha ha).

    “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
    —The Bible (Ephesians 6:11-12)

    These are some (off-topic) facts for Craig:
    http://www.truedakotan.com/opinion/letterbox-science-includes-recognizing-assumptions/article_c211de08-0ba7-11e6-9f62-f74e57bae3ee.html
    http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/opinion/letters/4032885-letter-all-sound-science-compatible-christianity

  38. Steve Sibson

    Right Kurt, and Darwinism is not sound science.

    So what source does one use to determine what is Christian or what is UnChristian?

  39. mike from iowa

    mike from iowa, Sibby.

  40. Douglas Wiken

    A proverb on the lips of a fool hangs limp like the legs of a cripple.

    Darwinism is a theory that has been proven dozens or thousands of times. Bacteria and virus are evolving every day to defeat antibiotics and other medicines. Insects develop resistance to chemical killers. Weeds develop immunity to weed killers.

    Ministers and priests who agree to pray at political events belong to a mutual abuse society.

  41. “…traditional conservative American values that freed us from tyranny and promoted freedom for all”. As I’ve pointed out before, Nelson, conservatives had nothing to do with the founding of this country and were in fact opposed to the idea. Tories, or conservatives, of the latter part of the eighteenth century feared separation from the English crown and worked to prevent it. This is elementary level American history. Conservative thought stood in the way of progress and positive growth then as it does now.

  42. Stace Nelson

    @JonD The musical chairs game that seems to pass for political discourse is of little interest to me. The rewriting of history claiming conservatives of today evolved from people with ideological opposite beliefs is ridiculous. What ideology of today pushes the same ideas of freedom of our Founders? The rebelling against governmental tyranny? Limited government? The Bill of Rights and the US Constitution? Conservatives.

    You rewriting of history is fully rejected.

  43. (Dicta, you meant Ben Carson, right?)

  44. No, Nelson. Up is still up, down is still down, conservative (status quo) is still conservative, and progressive (evolve and move forward) is still progressive. Those things do not change at your whim.

  45. Troy Jones

    JonD,

    I could argue your assertion as illogical and non-historical on several levels but I only have one: The logic fallacy of False Equivalence.

    The assertion the views, values, and priorities of the Tories (called conservatives then) are equivalent to those who call themselves conservatives today.

    The Tories at the time of the Revolution had significant numbers (maybe more than 50% but we don’t really know) were pro-monarchy/anti-Revolution. Many Tories gravitated to the Federalist (strong central government, weak state government) Party and were sympathetic with many ideas which centralized government power with the Congress or the President. Those views are a long ways from those advocated by conservatives today. In fact, generally those views are anathema to conservatives and more in-line with Bernie Sanders.

    Just as I don’t agree with all that was promoted by the Anti-Federalist (Jeffersonian thought), Tories/Federalists weren’t all wrong either. The pro-Revolution Tories (anti-Revolution Tories became irrelevant after the War) were those who understood the importance of a Judiciary independent of politics, nationalizing defense, and a single currency.

  46. Stace Nelson

    @Troy Jones You are on the money today. Spot on.

  47. bearcreekbat

    The discussion comparing the thinking of Tory conservatives with today’s conservatives reminds of some current Republicans who attempt to equate today’s Republican party with Lincoln’s Republican radicals, while trying to equate today’s Democrats with the racist pro-slavery Democrats who committed treasonous acts leading to the civil war.

    Change is constant and the values and attitudes of most groups grow and change with the times. Heck, even the KKK has stopped engaging in open and public murders of innocents by lynching. Folks might get a more accurate picture of what any group stands for today by looking at what that group says and does in today’s world, rather than equating that group with folks living hundreds of years ago.

  48. mike from iowa

    Troy- isn’t it your party that constantly reminds the world that Dems were pro-slavery in the 1860’s?

  49. mike from iowa

    Sorry bcb. I did not read your comment before posting mine. My life is yours.

  50. bearcreekbat

    mfi – we do seem to share many values and ideas – which necessarily means you are indeed a bright commentator!

  51. mike from iowa

    Thank you, Sir. Just don’t say that too loud. It will come as a fatal surprise to many on here I don’t try to see eye to eye with.

  52. Steve Sibson

    Sad that this thread has moved into the false fight between us vs them. How so we achieve unity?

  53. Mr. Sibson, let you and I stand shoulder to shoulder, if you crouch a bit that is, being the big fella you are, and me a heathen and you an overgodder can together push the barbarians back. Stand with me, Steve.

  54. Roger Cornelius

    Sibson would like us to achieve unity as long as it is his kind of perverse unity and his rules.

  55. Mr. C, you have to agree that Mr. Sibby’s perversity are attractive in the way that Ms. Hubbel’s insanity makes her a more beautiful woman. People want to drink beers with Sibby because of he is insaner than most.

  56. Roger Cornelius

    grudz’s
    In that case, I’m glad I don’t drink beers.

  57. As you know from nights past, I respect that choice immensely Mr. C. And I shall drink you share of beers with Mr. Sibby when he comes to town and would still like you to join us for the conversations. You serve as a pretty swell referee when Sibby and I get bogged down.

  58. Yeah, Cory. I did. My bad.

  59. They had to get their one token black up there since there isn’t any in audience that I can see. Lol…smh…

  60. This false pastor was roasted tonight on the Daily Show. It was classic.

  61. Sibby, I base my claim on my lifelong experience with Christianity. I support my argument here with my explicit citation of Pastor Fiene.

    My position also seems to find support among Christian conservatives Steve Hickey and Stace Nelson, which we all should find noteworthy. Stace makes clear we can disagree on policy and political values yet still expect inclusive preaching from Christian clergy.

    I do find the tangent on conservative values and the American Revolution amusing. Both Stace’s and JonD’s positions have merit: Yes, the Founding Fathers represented values that square better with what Stace preaches on the campaign trail than did King George III and the Tories. However, on an abstract level, as JonD suggests, conservatives don’t stage revolutions; they preserve the status quo. Troy rightly notes that times change and that a rigorous analysis of political values present among the Revolutionaries would not find everything American fitting neatly in Stace’s conservative GOP bucket or everything British fitting neatly in my liberal Democratic bucket. (Stace is moving us toward a pernicious and false dichotomy in which his party is all patriots and my party is all traitors.)

    Note that however much the Founders liked Stace’s conservative values, they pretty quickly shifted toward a stronger central government after the swift failure of the Articles of Confederation to secure the blessings of liberty.

    The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were liberal, radical documents in their time. They have served as touchstones for radical revolution worldwide… and thank Gaia they have! Among those radical ideas was the separation of church and state, which is as good for the church as for the state. Mark Burns needs to reread that part of the Bill of Rights as well as his entire Christian theology (or maybe, given his lack of formal education, read it for the first time instead of thinking that mere piety and volume make you a pastor) and stop thinking God takes sides in partisan political battles.

  62. Steve Sibson

    “I support my argument here with my explicit citation of Pastor Fiene.”

    Cory, I also support your position, but Craig has claimed that the Bible is a book of fiction. So what source do we use, and what source did Fiene use, to determine what is Christian and what is UnChristian? My question is not intended to argue against you position.

    “conservatives don’t stage revolutions”

    Neither should Christians who follow the Bible’s New Testament church. Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul made that clear. The real force behind the revolution was a Freemasonic attack on monarchy and the Church of Rome. The revolution would not have been successful without the efforts of the French Templars. It was the Freemasons of France who sent the Statue of Liberty, which is a pagan representation of Semiraimas.

    http://grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?1,76178,76178

    And Cory, wittedly perhaps, exposed that truth with this:

    “The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were liberal, radical documents in their time. They have served as touchstones for radical revolution worldwide… and thank Gaia they have!”

    Gaia is pagan based. America was founded by a pagan worldview disguised as a Christian worldview. The domionists of the political right do not understand that. The liberal’s “do as you want” is liberty in a pagan sense and now America has been turned over based on Romans 1 because of that pagan agenda. There is no saving it politically. We can only save individuals by presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work.

    Now you folks know why I am not running for office this year.

  63. “Now you folks know why I am not running for office this year.”

    It couldn’t be that you had a rare moment of introspection and realized you couldn’t win, could it?

  64. Steve Sibson

    I consider losing to be a blessing. I also learned a lot. As you should have gathered, I no longer support the so-called Religious Right. I will explain Ted Cruz on the thread Cory has just started regarding Cruz’s position last night.

  65. Roger Cornelius

    The only relative thing Sibson said in his lengthy comment is that he is not running for political office.
    Until Sibson thoroughly comprehends the difference between church and state he should never seek elective office.

  66. Kurt: “These are some (off-topic) facts for Craig”

    I find the irony in Kurt linking to “facts” which were nothing other than his letter to the editors of newspapers published on the OPINION page.

    Sorry Kurt – I’ll take my facts from real scientists. Not from young earth creationists that ignore scientific discovery because a book written by men a few thousand years ago is supposedly more accurate.

  67. Easy, Steve, don’t hurt yourself. I don’t need to take a position on Craig’s apparent claim that the Bible is a work of fiction to maintain my claim. Whether Christianity is based on a book of fact or a book of fiction, it is a religion with principles that its pastors should follow. I can read that book, fact or fiction, supplement with informed discussion and commentary, and identify the principles Christian pastors should follow. I can then look at Mark Burns and say his hateful, exclusivist speech does not follow those principles.

  68. Steve Sibson

    Craig, “I’d suggest anyone who tries to pass off a book of fiction as historical fact should be classified as a false teacher”

    Cory, “I don’t need to take a position on Craig’s apparent claim that the Bible is a work of fiction to maintain my claim.”

    Cory, if the source of your position ends up being the Bible, then Craig is accusing you of being a false teacher.

  69. bearcreekbat

    If the Bible were admitted to be a work of fiction, then choosing to follow a Religion such as Christianity could actually make some sense. You could pick and choose the best parts of the Bible while rejecting the immoral stuff.

    If the Bible is a factual history and is completely accurate in its stories about God and Christ, however, then atheism – in the sense of rejecting Christian’s claim that it depicts a loving God and Christ deserving of worship – is the only moral ground available.

    Most of the stories I have read throughout the Bible do not depict a moral deity. Rather it depicts a deity with a personality much like Donald Trump – insecure, jealous, cruel, xenophobic, willing to murder and torture innocent family members of demonized groups, etc. And the Bible even clarifies that it’s God has to threaten eternal damnation to get readers to abandon morality and join this club. Mark Burns seems to fit right in.

  70. Steve Sibson

    Choosing to follow fiction is what atheists do when they follow Darwinism. Just ignore the part that blacks come from apes and whites come from chimpanzees to prevent your worldview from being based on racism vs the Biblical Christian worldview that we are all one race originating with Adam and Eve. You can ignore the immoral in Darwin’s book of fiction, but it doesn’t make it go away. Sad that scientists call it fact.

    Good luck with your rebellion against God. You can call the resulting wrath immoral, but it doesn’t make it go away. You will lose whether the Bible is fiction or not.

  71. Douglas Wiken

    Steve, check the direction of the wind before you post. Even if it is terribly hot, you probably don’t want to get wet.

  72. Douglas Wiken writes:

    Darwinism is a theory that has been proven dozens or thousands of times. Bacteria and virus are evolving every day to defeat antibiotics and other medicines. Insects develop resistance to chemical killers. Weeds develop immunity to weed killers.

    Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) didn’t mention either bacteria or viruses. He was apparently unaware of their existence despite the fact that bacteria had first been observed in the laboratory more than 180 years earlier, in 1676, by creationist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the founder of microbiology.

    The other examples regarding insects and weeds refer only to microevolution, which is a simple change in allele frequencies as originally expounded in the mid 1860s by creationist Gregor Mendel, the founder of genetics. Darwinism would require an actual net increase in genetic information, which no one in the history of modern science has ever observed.

    I’d written:

    These are some (off-topic) facts for Craig:
    http://www.truedakotan.com/opinion/letterbox-science-includes-recognizing-assumptions/article_c211de08-0ba7-11e6-9f62-f74e57bae3ee.html
    http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/opinion/letters/4032885-letter-all-sound-science-compatible-christianity

    Craig replies:

    I find the irony in Kurt linking to “facts” which were nothing other than his letter to the editors of newspapers published on the OPINION page.

    Excluding my central thesis that sound science is compatible with Christianity, can you cite anything in either letter that you’d say isn’t true?

    … I’ll take my facts from real scientists. Not from young earth creationists that ignore scientific discovery because a book written by men a few thousand years ago is supposedly more accurate.

    That would be good news if it were true. Creationists who ignore scientific discovery often do more harm than good.

    “Bearcreekbat” writes:

    If the Bible is a factual history and is completely accurate in its stories about God and Christ, however, then atheism – in the sense of rejecting Christian’s claim that it depicts a loving God and Christ deserving of worship – is the only moral ground available.

    If the Bible is true, rejecting its claims is immoral.

    And the Bible even clarifies that it’s God has to threaten eternal damnation to get readers to abandon morality and join this club.

    The Bible clarifies that threatening damnation doesn’t cause people to follow Christ.

  73. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, then why is eternal damnation promised or threatened if not to persuade humans to submit to God or Christ?

    I don’t recall addressing the “claims” in the Bible, rather, I was referring to the stories some folks believe to be based on fact, such as the Passover story, the Midianite story, the Daniel and the lion’s den story about what happened to the tattletale guard’s innocent wife and children, Elisha and the two bears story, and similar stories. If these are indeed factually correct stories of the slaughter or enslavement of innocent wives and children it seems difficult to call the responsible deity “moral.”

  74. “Bearcreekbat” asks:

    Kurt, then why is eternal damnation promised or threatened if not to persuade humans to submit to God or Christ?

    I’m not sure, but the Bible indicates both that God can cause people to submit without threatening their damnation and that He can threaten people’s damnation without causing them to submit.

    I don’t recall addressing the “claims” in the Bible …

    You challenged a number of the Bible’s claims, including these:
    (1) God exists.
    (2) God is loving.
    (3) God deserves worship.

    … rather, I was referring to the stories some folks believe to be based on fact, such as the Passover story, the Midianite story, the Daniel and the lion’s den story about what happened to the tattletale guard’s innocent wife and children, Elisha and the two bears story, and similar stories. If these are indeed factually correct stories of the slaughter or enslavement of innocent wives and children it seems difficult to call the responsible deity “moral.”

    Setting aside the question of whether the wives and children were innocent, the fact that your concept of morality contradicts the Bible’s concept of morality doesn’t imply that the God revealed by the Bible is immoral.

  75. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, I suppose it depends on how you define morality. I don’t think enslavement, torture, and killing of women and children falls within my definition of “moral” conduct.

    As for the “claims” you describe, I based my position on the factual assumption that God exists as described in the Bible.

    Whether such a God is in fact “loving,” is also dependent on your definition of “loving.” Based on the behavior that the Bible attributes to the factual God it appears that God factually is capable hating or loving, but is not all love or hate.

    And whether that God is deserving of worship again depends on the reasons you might choose to worship that God. For example, if you favor killing children to upset an Egyptian Pharaoh then you might worship a God who slaughters Egyptian children. If you fear eternal damnation absent worshiping that God then you might choose to worship it. But if you find such inducements and behavior abhorrent then you might not be inclined to worship the God described by the Bible.

  76. I’d written to “bearcreekbat”:

    Setting aside the question of whether the wives and children were innocent, the fact that your concept of morality contradicts the Bible’s concept of morality doesn’t imply that the God revealed by the Bible is immoral.

    “Bearcreekbat” replies:

    Kurt, I suppose it depends on how you define morality.

    No, you can’t logically imply that the God revealed by the Bible is immoral just by making up your own definition of morality.

    As for the “claims” you describe, I based my position on the factual assumption that God exists as described in the Bible.

    You said if the Bible is completely accurate in its stories about God, then atheism is the only moral ground available. That doesn’t make much sense.

    Whether such a God is in fact “loving,” is also dependent on your definition of “loving.”

    No, you can’t logically imply that the God revealed by the Bible isn’t loving just by making up your own definition of loving either.

    Based on the behavior that the Bible attributes to the factual God it appears that God factually is capable hating or loving, but is not all love or hate.

    You said you based your position on the assumption that God exists “as described in the Bible,” and the Bible says explicitly that God is love (1 John 4:8).

    And whether that God is deserving of worship again depends on the reasons you might choose to worship that God.

    “As described in the Bible,” God is inherently deserving of worship regardless of the reasons we might choose to worship Him.

  77. “inherently deserving of worship”? Not Burns’s God, a God that takes sides in partisan battles (and takes the wrong side, at that!).

    Seriously, how does one come to inherently deserve worship?

  78. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, okay I’ll go along. Please provide the definitions of “moral” and “loving” that you believe support your position that an all powerful being that chooses to torture and kill women and children as a means of accomplishing another goal, such as changing the behavior of our recalcitrant Egyptian Pharaoh, is both moral and loving.

    I could be mistaken, but I suspect you may have decided to reject our dictionary definitions of these terms as I could find no definition of “moral” or “love” that encompassed such cruel behavior. Perhaps you are relying on the tautology that God = “morality and love” to argue that God is by definition loving and moral regardless whether he commits numerous heinous acts that are inconsistent with our dictionary definitions of what would be a moral or loving act. That seems like a hard sell.

    I am also interested in your response to Cory’s question about an entity inherently deserving worship without regard to, or perhaps in spite of, the harmful behavior of that entity.

  79. “Bearcreekbat” writes:

    Please provide the definitions of “moral” and “loving” that you believe support your position that an all powerful being that chooses to torture and kill women and children as a means of accomplishing another goal, such as changing the behavior of our recalcitrant Egyptian Pharaoh, is both moral and loving.

    That isn’t an accurate representation of my position. As described in the Bible, God’s goal was to harden Pharaoh in his recalcitrant behavior, not to change it:
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NASB&search=Romans_9:17-18

    I could be mistaken, but I suspect you may have decided to reject our dictionary definitions of these terms as I could find no definition of “moral” or “love” that encompassed such cruel behavior.

    Every dictionary contains errors, but these definitions seem adequate:
    moral: “conforming to a standard of right behavior”
    loving: “feeling or showing love”
    love: “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others”

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/moral
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loving
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/love

    Perhaps you are relying on the tautology that God = “morality and love” to argue that God is by definition loving and moral regardless whether he commits numerous heinous acts that are inconsistent with our dictionary definitions of what would be a moral or loving act.

    I’m not arguing that God is moral regardless of heinous acts. I’m arguing that His acts are just.

    I am also interested in your response to Cory’s question about an entity inherently deserving worship without regard to, or perhaps in spite of, the harmful behavior of that entity.

    Cory asks:

    Seriously, how does one come to inherently deserve worship?

    Sorry if I’m missing the point of your question, Cory, but as described in the Bible, God hasn’t “come to” deserve worship. He’s always deserved it.

  80. Kurt, I rephrase: what qualifies any entity for inherent worship? Eternal existence? Omnipotence?

  81. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, and I’ll rephrase:

    Please provide the definitions of “moral” and “loving” that you believe support your position that an all powerful being that chooses to torture and kill women and children as a means of accomplishing another goal, such as hardening Pharaoh in his recalcitrant behavior, not to change it, is both moral and loving.

    Thanks for identifying definitions that can move our discussion forward.

    moral: “conforming to a standard of right behavior”
    loving: “feeling or showing love”
    love: “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others”

    Focusing again on the passover killings of Egyptian children:

    How is such killing of children “conforming to a standard of right behavior”?

    How is such killing of children “feeling or showing love”?

    How does such killing of children “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another”?

    How is such killing of children evidence of “the fatherly concern of God for humankind”?

    How is such killing of children evidence of “brotherly concern for others”?

  82. I feel like we’re doing an oblique reference to the problem of evil, so why not just go there immediately?

  83. bearcreekbat

    I am interested in your thoughts on that Dicta. Why should we worship an entity that commits evil acts and encourages humans to commit evil acts, such as Moses actions against captured Midianite women and children?

    Or is Kurt right that a God that enslaves and kills women and children is not committing evil acts, but has acted in a moral and loving manner?

  84. There’s a lot wrapped up in this, but I’ll try to be as succinct as I can. I was raised catholic but always struggled mightily with my faith. It got worse when I was in the military and got deployed. I’ve always been a skeptical theist, in that I believe tenuously and acknowledge that the problem is a killshot to the idea of a benevolent, omniscient and omnipotent god, or that the answer is simply beyond my narrow understanding of the world. I generally settle on the latter. It’s a complete copout from a philosophical sense, and I acknowledge that.

  85. bearcreekbat

    Dicta, thanks for your comment. I think many folks share your view and conclude that such questions are simply beyond anyone’s narrow understanding of the world.

    Other folks do their best to explore, understand and defend the idea that such a God should be worshiped, despite the evil that the God inflicts or encourages humans to inflict, and I think that may be where Kurt is leading us. As I said earlier, that seems like a hard sell, but I want to hear the sales pitch and I am willing to change my views when presented with contrary evidence or compelling and logical reasoning.

  86. Rest assured that I’m planning to continue this discussion when I have time. :-)

  87. bearcreekbat

    I look forward to your comments Kurt, but I may be away from computers for a few days so I likely won’t be able to continue the discussion until the end of the week, so no need to hurry.

  88. mike from iowa

    bcb-you are not to question god or god’s mysterious works.

    You’ll be labeled a commie or worse.

  89. Cory writes:

    Kurt, I rephrase: what qualifies any entity for inherent worship? Eternal existence? Omnipotence?

    I’d say the combination of divinity and perfection.

    Also, only doing things that “bearcreekbat” fully understands and approves (ha ha).

    “Bearcreekbat” writes:

    Focusing again on the passover killings of Egyptian children:
    How is such killing of children “conforming to a standard of right behavior”?

    God establishes the standard for His own behavior, and everything He does conforms to that standard.

    How is such killing of children “feeling or showing love”?
    How does such killing of children “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another”?
    How is such killing of children evidence of “the fatherly concern of God for humankind”?

    Here’s what the Bible says about the Israelites who died in the wilderness:

    “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
    —1 Corinthians 10:11

    The same could presumably be said of the Egyptians. The Passover killings may show benevolent concern for humankind in other ways too, but that’s one way.

    How is such killing of children evidence of “brotherly concern for others”?

    I’m not sure it is.

    Why should we worship an entity that commits evil acts and encourages humans to commit evil acts, such as Moses actions against captured Midianite women and children?

    I’m not arguing that we should worship an entity that commits evil acts. I’m arguing that God’s acts are just. The Bible says explicitly that God doesn’t tempt anyone to commit evil acts (James 1:13), so apparently either the actions of Moses were just, or God didn’t encourage them.

    “mike from iowa” writes:

    you are not to question god or god’s mysterious works.
    You’ll be labeled a commie or worse.

    As far as I’m concerned, honest questions are welcome.

  90. I guess I just have no grasp of divinity and perfection. Perhaps I have no grasp of worship. Respect, admiration, like I have for Bearcreekbat’s intellect and efforts to elevate the conversation, sure. But worship?

    I know nothing divine. I can conceptualize some rational being who builds a universe. I can imagine being in awe of a being that creative and powerful. But I can also imagine looking at an omnipotent, omniscient being and saying, “Well, shouldn’t we expect a universe from an entity so powerful? Shouldn’t we expect more?” That an ominpotent being can create a universe is perhaps less impressive than the fact that we finite beings can build language, houses, and the Internet. That God always does the right thing is perhaps less impressive than the fact that finite human beings occasionally overcome their fallibility and do the right thing.

  91. mike from iowa

    Divinity is some kind of candy confection people make and eat around christmas time.

  92. Haven’t eaten divinity since my sister died 6 years ago.

  93. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, thanks for your response. It seems that the only issue that we disagree on is whether God’s acts, if the Bible is factually accurate, in killing children and other people who the Bible did not explicitly accuse of wrongful or sinful behavior constituted acts that demonstrate a moral and loving entity.

    If I understand your argument correctly, it is tantamount to saying God makes his own rules and who are we, as mere humans, to question whether his behavior is moral or loving. I think that brings us full circle and probably identifies an impenetrable wall preventing further analysis.

    You argue that based on the Bible, God can do no wrong and none of his actions reported in the Bible can be considered immoral or unloving. I argue that based upon how I imagine the children who were killed or enslaved in the Bible (if it is factually accurate) must have suffered, God’s acts were perceived to be immoral and non-loving by those kids who were tortured or killed, and should be perceived as evil, immoral and non-loving by any rational measure.

  94. mike from iowa

    “mike from iowa” writes:

    you are not to question god or god’s mysterious works.
    You’ll be labeled a commie or worse.

    As far as I’m concerned, honest questions are welcome.

    Are you speaking for your god or as god?

  95. Cory writes:

    That an ominpotent being can create a universe is perhaps less impressive than the fact that we finite beings can build language, houses, and the Internet. That God always does the right thing is perhaps less impressive than the fact that finite human beings occasionally overcome their fallibility and do the right thing.

    As described in the Bible, we finite human beings who can build language, houses and the internet—and occasionally overcome our fallibility and do the right thing—were ourselves created by God. It’s hard to imagine any way our Creator could be less impressive than we are.

    “Bearcreekbat” writes:

    It seems that the only issue that we disagree on is whether God’s acts, if the Bible is factually accurate, in killing children and other people who the Bible did not explicitly accuse of wrongful or sinful behavior constituted acts that demonstrate a moral and loving entity.

    The Bible explicitly accuses every human person except Christ of wrongful and sinful behavior.

    If I understand your argument correctly, it is tantamount to saying God makes his own rules and who are we, as mere humans, to question whether his behavior is moral or loving.

    I’d say we’re allowed to question but not to insist on our own answers.

    You argue that based on the Bible, God can do no wrong and none of his actions reported in the Bible can be considered immoral or unloving.

    Some of God’s actions might be considered unloving, but based on the Bible, God Himself can’t be. For example, expelling Lucifer from heaven wasn’t necessarily a loving act in itself, but even that act was ultimately motivated by God’s essential nature of love.

    I argue that based upon how I imagine the children who were killed or enslaved in the Bible (if it is factually accurate) must have suffered, God’s acts were perceived to be immoral and non-loving by those kids who were tortured or killed, and should be perceived as evil, immoral and non-loving by any rational measure.

    Yes, but your argument is really only based on a gut feeling, not a rational measure.

    “mike from iowa” had written:

    you are not to question god or god’s mysterious works.
    You’ll be labeled a commie or worse.

    I’d written:

    As far as I’m concerned, honest questions are welcome.

    “mike from iowa” asks:

    Are you speaking for your god or as god?

    I’m only speaking for myself. As far as I’m concerned, you’re welcome to question God or His mysterious works, and I’m not likely to label you a commie or worse if you do.

  96. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, a couple of thoughts. First, When you say “The Bible explicitly accuses every human person except Christ of wrongful and sinful behavior,” are you referring to the idea that every living human is guilty of the original sin committed by Adam and Eve? If so, are you saying they deserve to be tortured or killed at least until they repent? And if this is your position, does it apply to the babies and young children who were killed by God during Passover?

    Next, you observe that I am relying on a gut feeling about how those children felt who were tortured and killed, rather than thinking rationally about them. Would you also say that the view that the Bible is an inerrant, and a factually accurate record must also be premised on an irrational gut feeling in light of the history of the Bible? If not, can you explain why not in your view?

    Saturday’s RC Journal has an interesting column regarding the Bible at page C-2. Rev. Duke Tuffy points out that

    “The 66 books of the Bible were written over a 1300-year time period by many authors with many viewpoints.

    Since that time the Bible has been tweaked, touched up, added to and deleted from to fit the viewpoints of the ruling class as well as serve the personal interests of religious authorities.

    When King James oversaw the translation of his version he choose to leave out more than 500 pages that he disagreed with and added many that supported his beliefs . . . .

    It is important to remember, when we read the Bible today we are reading a translation of a translation of a translation into a language that didn’t exist when the original Bible was written.

    Scholars agree that there are more than 20,000 inconsistencies in the Bible as a result of different people with different viewpoints.”

    Given that history it seems irrational to declare the Bible to be inerrant and factually accurate, doesn’t it?

  97. “Impressive”—maybe that’s not the right word. Meeting God is probably like rounding Yavin and seeing the Death Star: “Look at the size of that thing!” But once I got over that initial deep impression, I’d ask for the tech specs, see what it could do, and perhaps, like Bear, take umbrage at its past performance (blowing up Alderaan? why use such awesome power for that?).

    The Sun is impressive. It is far more powerful than anything else I know. It makes life on Earth possible. But I don’t worship it for heating the system with fusion power. The laws of its existence say it can’t do anything but generate fusion power.

    This God character you speak of is apparently impressive, more powerful, life-giving. But the explanations surrounding God indicate that God can’t do anything but be good. What’s the big deal there that merits worship?

    Meanwhile, I’m surrounded by broken little creatures who are destined to malfunction, to sin and die. (I apologize to Bearcreekbat for imbibing so much original sin theology… and I pause just a moment to remind myself of where this post started, with a story about one of those broken creatures, making another mistake, urging a small group of his fellow broken creatures to unite behind a most broken creature to defeat a bunch of other broken creatures whom he paints as the enemy.) Yet every now and then, one of those broken creatures will overcome its flaws to cook me dinner. Another gives me a hug. A few more take time to grace me with sincere, intelligent responses to words I string together.

    I can make at least a poetic case that I should be less impressed with great entities doing what their natures dictate than with my scrawny compatriots transcending their flawed and finite nature to create small daily wonders. And if worship is more than being impressed, isn’t it some heightened, poetic exaltation that begins with, “O!” and doesn’t just list fact but expresses honor, gratitude, and loyalty?

    As you can tell, I just don’t get “worship”.

  98. mike from iowa

    Maybe if the worship had warp speed and phasors or whatever all that Star Trek stuff is. I haven’t watched it since the original show went of the air back when.

  99. “Bearcreekbat” asks:

    … When you say “The Bible explicitly accuses every human person except Christ of wrongful and sinful behavior,” are you referring to the idea that every living human is guilty of the original sin committed by Adam and Eve?

    The theological term original sin normally refers to our own sinful nature, which was inherited from Adam, rather than to the first sin committed by Adam and Eve, but yes, I’m referring to original sin.

    If so, are you saying [all living humans] deserve to be tortured or killed at least until they repent? And if this is your position, does it apply to the babies and young children who were killed by God during Passover?

    Yes, it applies to all of us except Christ.

    Next, you observe that I am relying on a gut feeling about how those children felt who were tortured and killed, rather than thinking rationally about them.

    No, I said your argument that God’s acts should be perceived as evil and immoral is based on a gut feeling, not a rational measure.

    Would you also say that the view that the Bible is an inerrant, and a factually accurate record must also be premised on an irrational gut feeling in light of the history of the Bible?

    Obviously I wouldn’t.

    If not, can you explain why not in your view?

    It doesn’t require an irrational gut feeling.

    Saturday’s RC Journal has an interesting column regarding the Bible at page C-2. Rev. Duke Tuffy points out …

    Given that history it seems irrational to declare the Bible to be inerrant and factually accurate, doesn’t it?

    His name is Tufty, not Tuffy. He’s a Sioux Falls native turned Kansas City cult leader, and his claims definitely don’t qualify as history.

    Cory writes:

    Meeting God is probably like rounding Yavin and seeing the Death Star: “Look at the size of that thing!” But once I got over that initial deep impression …

    I’m wondering how you claim to know you’d get over it. :-)

    But the explanations surrounding God indicate that God can’t do anything but be good. What’s the big deal there that merits worship?

    As described in the Bible, the combination of divinity and perfection is a big deal that merits worship.

    Yet every now and then, one of those broken creatures will overcome its flaws to cook me dinner. Another gives me a hug. A few more take time to grace me with sincere, intelligent responses to words I string together.

    I can make at least a poetic case that I should be less impressed with great entities doing what their natures dictate than with my scrawny compatriots transcending their flawed and finite nature to create small daily wonders.

    Yes, and I could probably make a poetic case that I should be less impressed with Cory Heidelberger than I am with his blog, but I couldn’t make a logical one. If God gave you your scrawny compatriots and gave them their ability to create small daily wonders, it’s hard to imagine any way He could be less impressive than they are.

    And if worship is more than being impressed, isn’t it some heightened, poetic exaltation that begins with, “O!” and doesn’t just list fact but expresses honor, gratitude, and loyalty?

    It doesn’t have to be all that, but it can be.

  100. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, thanks for correcting my spelling of Tufty. Can you document your statement that the history of the Bible described by Tufty is factually incorrect or is only based on Tufty’s opinion rather than any factual study of the history of the Bible? I thought what he wrote was consistent with what I have seen written by many other theologians describing as the history of the Bible.

    You win on the original sin argument. If you really believe babies and children deserve torture and death because they have not yet repented from their inherited sinful nature, then I really don’t what else I can say.

    I respectfully disagree with your argument that I only perceive God’s acts as evil and immoral based on a gut feeling, rather than based on rational thinking. God’s killing, enslaving and torturing humans seems to fit squarely within any rational reading and understanding of our definitions of evil – no need for a gut feeling to read and apply these definitions.

    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/evil

    The definitions include:

    2. “harmful; injurious . . .

    3. characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous . . .
    . . .
    5. marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.. .
    . . .
    9. harm; mischief; misfortune. . .

    10. anything causing injury or harm . . . .”

  101. mike from iowa

    Yes, it applies to all of us except Christ.

    I disagree. I chose the opt out plan when I was about 12. The stuff !st Baptists were feeding me didn’t make sense then and it has gotten worse.

    If your christ continues to use me against my will, I will sue his arse in every court in the land.

  102. mike from iowa

    Back in my formative years I remember a Duke Tufty from Sioux Falls that sold Dodge cars and trucks.

  103. Mike, I won’t be used against my will, either. Class action suit?

    If I’m impressed with the creation, I should be impressed by the creator… Kurt, I could work with that. Then again, I can be mightily impressed by Jackson Pollock’s creations (in front of which I have stood with the closest attitude to worship that I can identify in my life) and still recognize that Pollock was a troubled, angry, drunk SOB who, had I met him in 1954, I would not have trusted with my keys or my daughter.

  104. “Bearcreekbat” asks:

    Can you document your statement that the history of the Bible described by Tufty is factually incorrect or is only based on Tufty’s opinion rather than any factual study of the history of the Bible?

    I probably could, but I’m not planning to bother. Tufty’s claim that an English version of the Bible is “a translation of a translation of a translation” is simply wrong. We have texts in the original languages, and English translations draw directly from those texts. Common sense suggests Tufty would be famous if he could prove his other claims.

    I thought what he wrote was consistent with what I have seen written by many other theologians describing as the history of the Bible.

    In that case maybe you’re the one who should provide documentation (ha ha).

    I respectfully disagree with your argument that I only perceive God’s acts as evil and immoral based on a gut feeling, rather than based on rational thinking. God’s killing, enslaving and torturing humans seems to fit squarely within any rational reading and understanding of our definitions of evil – no need for a gut feeling to read and apply these definitions.

    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/evil
    The definitions include:
    2. “harmful; injurious . . .
    3. characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous . . .
    5. marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.. .
    9. harm; mischief; misfortune. . .
    10. anything causing injury or harm . . . .”

    The definition at your link that fits the context of evil acts is this one:

    adjective
    1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked:
    evil deeds; an evil life.

    The Bible indicates that acts can be good and moral even if they cause harm.

    “mike from iowa” writes:

    Back in my formative years I remember a Duke Tufty from Sioux Falls that sold Dodge cars and trucks.

    Assuming you mean the one who died in 1973, the Duke Tufty in Kansas City is his son.

    If your christ continues to use me against my will, I will sue …

    I believe He’s protected by sovereign immunity. :-)

    Cory writes:

    Mike, I won’t be used against my will, either.

    As described in the Bible, Pharaoh probably thought the same thing.

    If I’m impressed with the creation, I should be impressed by the creator… Kurt, I could work with that. Then again, I can be mightily impressed by Jackson Pollock’s creations (in front of which I have stood with the closest attitude to worship that I can identify in my life) and still recognize that Pollock was a troubled, angry, drunk SOB who, had I met him in 1954, I would not have trusted with my keys or my daughter.

    Pollock’s bad traits obviously didn’t add to his impressiveness, but I guess I’d argue that they didn’t subtract from it either.

  105. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, here is some research that tells us there were multiple translations of the Bible to English.

    http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/

    According to this author the 1st translation to English was based on the Latin version of the Bible, which apparently must have been translated from the original Hebrew or Greek. So it was a translation from the oral stories to Hebrew or Greek, then to Latin, then to English – “a translation of a translation of a translation.”

    While there apparently others who translated directly from Hebrew or Greek to English, it appears that the most well known and used translation – the King James version – “was the result of the combined effort of about fifty scholars. They took into consideration: The Tyndale New Testament, The Coverdale Bible, The Matthews Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, and even the Rheims New Testament.” I am no fan of Tufty, but this seems to support his statements about the Bible.

    As for whether acts that intentionally hurt or kill people can be “good” or “moral” I can concede that some evil acts can be the lesser of two evils, and perhaps by that definition good.

    That brings to mind the old train track moral dilemma where a train is racing out of control toward 5 innocent healthy atheists that it will kill unless you pull a switch to put it on a different track. But if you pull that switch the train will switch to a track that results in the death of 10 innocent elderly and sick evangelicals, all of which will die within the next 6 months anyway.

    If you save the atheists by intentionally pulling the switch knowing the train will then kill the evangelicals is that a moral or evil act? If you intentionally decline to pull the switch knowing the train will then kill the healthy atheists, is that a moral or evil act?

    The biggest problem I see with God’s choices are that if God is omnipotent, God faces no such moral dilemmas. God could simply stop the train so no one is killed.

  106. “Bearcreekbat” writes:

    http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/

    According to this author the 1st translation to English was based on the Latin version of the Bible, which apparently must have been translated from the original Hebrew or Greek. So it was a translation from the oral stories to Hebrew or Greek, then to Latin, then to English – “a translation of a translation of a translation.”

    Most of the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts weren’t translated from oral stories, and in any case Tufty’s claim is as follows: “It is important to remember, when we read the Bible today [emphasis added] we are reading a translation of a translation of a translation into a language that didn’t exist when the original Bible was written.” You can’t reasonably defend that claim by citing John Wycliffe’s first handwritten English-language manuscript from the 1300s, because no one is reading it today.

    While there apparently others who translated directly from Hebrew or Greek to English, it appears that the most well known and used translation – the King James version – “was the result of the combined effort of about fifty scholars. They took into consideration: The Tyndale New Testament, The Coverdale Bible, The Matthews Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, and even the Rheims New Testament.” I am no fan of Tufty, but this seems to support his statements about the Bible.

    Which specific statements would you say it supports? The texts listed in that quote were already in English, so there was no need to translate them.

    Here’s another one of the Tufty claims you quoted: “When King James oversaw the translation of his version he choose to leave out more than 500 pages that he disagreed with and added many that supported his beliefs …” But your chosen authority at the above link says this: “Protestants today are largely unaware of their own history, and unaware of the Geneva Bible (which is textually 95% the same as the King James Version, but 50 years older than the King James Version …).”

    I’m wondering how you’d say King James could have left out more than 500 pages and still produced a version that was textually 95 percent the same as one 50 years older.

    As for whether acts that intentionally hurt or kill people can be “good” or “moral” I can concede that some evil acts can be the lesser of two evils, and perhaps by that definition good.

    You aren’t conceding that to me, because I’m not arguing that evil acts can be good, but we can’t logically equate harm with immorality merely because colloquial uses of the word evil sometimes conflate the two.

    That brings to mind the old train track moral dilemma where a train is racing out of control toward 5 innocent healthy atheists that it will kill unless you pull a switch to put it on a different track. But if you pull that switch the train will switch to a track that results in the death of 10 innocent elderly and sick evangelicals, all of which will die within the next 6 months anyway.

    If you save the atheists by intentionally pulling the switch knowing the train will then kill the evangelicals is that a moral or evil act?

    I’ve never heard this version of the trolley problem before, but I’d say moral.

    If you intentionally decline to pull the switch knowing the train will then kill the healthy atheists, is that a moral or evil act?

    I’d say not moral.

    The biggest problem I see with God’s choices are that if God is omnipotent, God faces no such moral dilemmas. God could simply stop the train so no one is killed.

    Right. God never has to choose the lesser of two harms because He’s always free to choose the ultimate long-term good.

  107. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, you make a good point about Wycliffe’s translation – no one is reading it today. That opens up another point – today people apparently are reading several different versions of the Bible including: New King James Version; New American Standard Bible; English Standard Version; Revised Standard Version; New International Version; New Living Translation; and New English Bible. This raises an obvious question – which modern Bible is inerrant and which editions are not?

    The particular Tufty comment that the quote about the creation of the King James version seems to support is Tufty’s assertion that “the Bible has been tweaked, touched up, added to and deleted from to fit the viewpoints of the ruling class as well as serve the personal interests of religious authorities.”

    You ask,

    I’m wondering how you’d say King James could have left out more than 500 pages and still produced a version that was textually 95 percent the same as one 50 years older.

    First, that is Tufty’s assertion, not mine. I am fully open to whatever factual corrections to Tufty’s claims are appropriate. Next, if you are correct about the 95% of the King James’ version, that still leaves an apparent 5% that was either not inerrant, or if inerrant was improperly excluded from the King James’ version.

    I tried to modify the trolley hypothetical a bit to fit our religious issues, in part to create a couple of additional factors that you might or might not consider relevant. I appreciate you answers and would be interested in your explanation of the reasons you deemed the act or failure to act as moral or not moral. Some of the factors I wonder about include:

    Would it have mattered in your determination of the moral act if you had no knowledge about each groups’ religious beliefs, ages, anticipated time of death, or number of people that would be killed in each group? What did you consider to be the most important factor or factors in your analysis?

  108. “Bearcreekbat” asks:

    … which modern Bible is inerrant and which editions are not?

    As I’ve tried to tell you more than once before, there isn’t a translation that I believe retains the absolute perfection of the original manuscripts:
    http://dakotafreepress.com/2016/01/05/monroe-prefers-repeating-creationist-fantasies-over-dealing-with-teacher-pay/#comment-30789
    http://dakotafreepress.com/2016/01/05/monroe-prefers-repeating-creationist-fantasies-over-dealing-with-teacher-pay/#comment-31515

    The particular Tufty comment that the quote about the creation of the King James version seems to support is Tufty’s assertion that “the Bible has been tweaked, touched up, added to and deleted from to fit the viewpoints of the ruling class as well as serve the personal interests of religious authorities.”

    You said the quote at the link you provided seemed to support Tufty’s “statements” (plural), and in any case it doesn’t say anything about the viewpoints of the ruling class or the personal interests of religious authorities.

    I am fully open to whatever factual corrections to Tufty’s claims are appropriate.

    Your responses show you aren’t.

    Next, if you are correct about the 95% of the King James’ version, that still leaves an apparent 5% that was either not inerrant, or if inerrant was improperly excluded from the King James’ version.

    The vast majority of those textual differences are slightly different ways of saying essentially the same thing, not contradictions.

    I tried to modify the trolley hypothetical … Would it have mattered in your determination of the moral act if you had no knowledge about each groups’ religious beliefs, ages, anticipated time of death, or number of people that would be killed in each group?

    Yes, a lack of knowledge about any of those factors would have mattered in my determination.

    What did you consider to be the most important factor or factors in your analysis?

    The number of people that would be killed in each group. For example, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the other factors could make 500 deaths less harmful than five.

  109. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, my memory is not always as good as it used to be and my responses are not intended to resist new information, rather, they are intended to learn your views more accurately as it is apparent you have given much thought and study to our topics. Thanks for an interesting discussion!

  110. “Bearcreekbat” writes:

    Kurt, my memory is not always as good as it used to be and my responses are not intended to resist new information, rather, they are intended to learn your views more accurately as it is apparent you have given much thought and study to our topics. Thanks for an interesting discussion!

    No problem. Thanks for not making the conflict personal.

    The blood Jesus Christ poured out on the Cross almost 2,000 years ago can still cleanse us from our sin today. That may sound foolish to you, but I’m hoping you’ll at least file it in your not-always-as-good-as-it-used-to-be memory for possible future reference.

    And since I get the vibe that Cory may not be the biggest fan of off-topic (or at least side-topic) conversations like the one we’ve been having here, let me bring the discussion full-circle by affirming that, like Duke Tufty, Mark Burns seems profoundly confused about Christ’s teachings.