Το επόμενο άρθρο θα είναι 3 σε 1:
1)«Αληθώς σας λέγω, Όσα εάν δέσητε επί της γης, θέλουσιν είσθαι δεδεμένα εν τω ουρανώ, και όσα εάν λύσητε επί της γης, θέλουσιν είσθαι λελυμένα εν τω ουρανώ.» (Ματθ. κεφ.16, 18)
Τι σημαίνει, ποιους αφορά;
2)«..και ενεφύσησε και λέγει προς αυτούς ‘Λάβετε Πνεύμα Άγιον’.» (Ιωάν.20:19-23)
Πότε λάβανε Το Άγιο Πνεύμα οι απόστολοι;
3) «..και επί ταύτης της πέτρας θέλω οικοδομήσει την εκκλησία μου…» (Ματθ.16:18)
Ποια είναι αυτή η περιβόητη «πέτρα»;
Το συγκεκριμένο άρθρο έχει "κολλήσει" μήνες τώρα σε κάποιες λεπτομέρειες σχετικά με το "δεσμείν και λύειν". Αν Ο Κύριος δεν μου το "ξεκολλήσει", δεν μου γίνει όλο ξεκάθαρο και σίγουρο, δεν θα το αναρτήσω, παρόλο που οι απαντήσεις στις τελευταίες δύο ερωτήσεις είναι εύκολες. Παρακαλώ όσους θεωρούν απαραίτητη την συμμετοχή του Πνεύματος της αληθείας στην εύρεση και κατανόηση της αλήθειας, να με έχετε στις προσευχές σας, αλλά και όσους θα διαβάσουν το άρθρο. Ευχαριστώ.
-------Το άρθρο: "Δέκα ερωτήσεις σχετικά με την Αγία Γραφή (Δευτεροκανονικά κ.ά.) από ένα αγαπητό 'Ορθόδοξο'", είναι έτοιμο, στην 2η κατηγορία "Ενδιαφέροντα για Ορθοδόξους/Καθολικούς". Προτιμότερο να ανοιχτεί με Γκουγκλ Κρομ, το Μοτζίλλα και Ιντενετ Εξπλορερ μπορεί να παρουσιάζουν επιπλοκές στις εικόνες, σύμβολα κτλ.. Μπορεί να λείπουν, ή να έχουν αλλοιωθεί κάπως. Θα προσπαθήσω να λύσω το πρόβλημα, αλλά δεν είναι καινούργιο...
---Το κουμπί ακριβώς κάτω και αριστερά από αυτό εδώ το "κουτί" ανακοινώσεων το έχετε δοκιμάσει; Πατήστε τα βελάκια και δείτε τι θα γίνει.
---Ψαλ.5:8-11 Κύριε, οδήγησόν με εν τη δικαιοσύνη σου, ένεκα των εχθρών μου· κατεύθυνον την οδόν σου έμπροσθέν μου. 9 Διότι δεν είναι εν τω στόματι αυτών αλήθεια· η καρδία αυτών είναι πονηρία· τάφος ανεωγμένος ο λάρυγξ αυτών· διά της γλώσσης αυτών κολακεύουσι. 10 Καταδίκασον αυτούς, Θεέ· ας αποτύχωσι των διαβουλίων αυτών· έξωσον αυτούς διά το πλήθος των παραβάσεων αυτών, διότι απεστάτησαν εναντίον σου. 11 Ας ευφραίνωνται δε πάντες οι ελπίζοντες επί σέ· ας χαίρωσι διαπαντός, διότι συ περισκεπάζεις αυτούς· ας καυχώνται ομοίως επί σε οι αγαπώντες το όνομά σου.
A critique/refutation of a segment
of “The Atheist Experience” episode 696#
April 1, 2012
On this segment, Matt Dillahunty answers to his caller (on the show) named Mark. In one way or another, he get’s across to his viewers that the Bible is not credible and in general that Christianity should be avoided. All this since according to him a) the Old Testament seems to present a young earth where macroevolution-scientists present an old earth, b) the claims of the NT cannot be proven (the loaves and fishes miracle) c) Christianity is poisonous and destructive d) if there was a God He should have gotten His message across differently and not through texts, and more. Because of the above, he makes his Christian caller in this episode sound unreasonable for being a Bible believing Christian.
In regards to the caller, he presented himself as a Christian attending a particular church, although seemed to be a very very weak Christian (I’ll leave it at that…). I read on the internet that he called in on another later episode of the show, so I saw that episode and to my amazement (and it seemed even to one of the hosts’ amazement) he seemed not to be a Christian anymore! There is a chance that the caller was part of a prank played on the show but I don’t know. Maybe he was simply a confused person; that’s more how it seemed to me. It doesn’t really matter though since my interest is on Matt Dillahunty’s use of logic.
Now, this segment of the video was uploaded here:
by someone going with the name of:
This person titles this particular segment (of episode 696#) that he uploaded “Matt’s brilliant response”. So I just had to watch this “brilliant” response for my self to see what the fuss was all about, and then… my jaw just dropped to the ground. Why? You will realize why as you read on.
But this person was not alone in his opinion.
I also found this Atheist Experience thread where everybody is admiring Matt and his “speech” on this same episode (696#) that I will be refuting and again I felt sorry for them. You can find there comments like: “Well done!”, “…one of your best speeches”, “a beautiful thing to watch”, “Excellent show”, “rational reasoned response”, “…if we were a religion, we'd be erecting a statue of Matt, pointing to the sky, with the words of his speech engraved on the base.”, “good job”, “I took off my headphones and just had to say "damn" because you two totally dismantled his arguments in a focused and reasoned manner that was totally satisfying.”, “one of my favourite of your responses”, “…brilliant. Maybe the best speech Matt ever did.”, “that speech should be bookmarked by everyone.”, and much more.
I suggest that the reader first views the video segment on the 696# (first link provided above).
By dealing with the following, I hoped that the reader realizes that Matt Dillahunty is making huge mistakes and unintentionally misleading others to them as well; he definitely has to relearn Biblical Christianity, but unfortunately, so do many Christians. Anyway, in God’s mercy, I hope I will indeed be of help to all those seeing his videos as well as to Matt Dillahunty himself. He has been informed via email (I haven’t got any response from him) about this article/critique and the rest of my critiques on Atheist Experience and of course is welcomed to respond having read the principles/rules of this website.
I will be commenting mainly on the parts I’ve underlined. One of the points I want the reader to realize is that he uses arguments to show that a Christian (in face of the caller) is being irrational when believing in the Bible, when the Christian is actually not being irrational in his own mind; if he properly considered this as he should, he wouldn’t use the type of logic he used with his caller.
I find his arguments/positions in themselves to be irrational, flawed, when simple alternative logic shows up by any knowledgeable Christian, something that even any sincere thinking atheist will hopefully realize as he reads on. His logic is something that screams to me the reality that before he became an atheist, he in fact lacked a mature relationship with God, when it is that that makes the big difference in understanding Scripture and more importantly Him, God; this is a hidden secret even to many Christians. Allow me to make a parallel here of what I mean:
Up to the age of let’s say
May God have mercy
on him and all his listeners/viewers, and open their hearts as He did
Let’s see his statements as I’ve quoted them.
Note that his statements will be in yellow highlight. The time (e.g. 0:52) on the left side of his statements is where you can find that particular statement in the video. AE stands for The Atheist Experience show. MD stands for Matt Dillahunty. NT stands for New Testament and OT stands for Old Testament. Although my website is mainly for Christians, here I will mostly be addressing Matt Dillahunty or/and atheists in general (sharing with them some “revelations” so to speak as to how we Christians think) and only a few times addressing Christians.
I make clear that I DID NOT take any of MD’s words out of context. I had carefully seen the video more than 3 times and after a while I saw it again twice.
I also should inform the readers that my English isn’t the best in detail, but I believe it will still do. I hope it wont be a significant inconvenience for you.
So, let’s get started.
0:02 “All of the scientific evidence points to an earth that is vastly older than 10000 years old.”
0:22 - 0:43 “…It doesn’t match with your literal view of the Bible. Now there’s a conflict there and we need to resolve that. And some people resolve that in favour of the Bible saying the Bible is absolutely right, and ignore what actual evidence is presented there. I find that patently absurd, because it turns Christianity into a self-contradictory proposition, which is and so by the way does the entire idea of a revelation in the New Testament.”
(My following long response to this first part, may be a little tiring for some [maybe not], yet still helpful.)
Comments: He finds it “patently absurd”, but so do I and many other Christians. That’s why I accept both the Bible and science without having yet found any definite/absolute contradiction among them. While it is true, that is, that some scientific finds can be interpreted to show an old earth (something that I and I believe millions of knowledgeable Christians, do not “ignore”), the same finds can be interpreted not to or to be doubtful as to their “message” (more on this later). Christians may disagree with the interpretation of scientific research/finds but not with the finds themselves; Creationists make that clear. Besides that though, what atheists don’t seem to understand -that makes Christians seem irrational- is the following.
A real born again Christian can only be intimidated by this on a superficial level (if he’s a weak Christian), the rest though will not be intimidated at all, but not because they’re supposedly naïve or irrational or liars as atheists would like to think, but because their relationship with the God of the Bible is not firstly based on the writings in the Book, the Bible; the Bible is there to aid a real Christian’s relationship with God, not to take it’s place becoming equivalent (that would be idolatry), **nor to give existence to God, but simply point it out describing His attributes and will**.
Unfortunately there is so much misunderstanding going around. Satan is in fact the master of confusion and THE liar, and knowing this helps me personally to be patient with atheists, and with Christians I will add. But I’d like to zoom in a little at the above truth, one that I would like you to be aware of.
A spiritual shift for the worst has and is taking place. Some Christians (born again or not) make it seem as if their belief in God is based on a relationship with the Bible instead of on The Person of God Himself. They base their faith on the Bible with all evidence presenting divine inspiration to its writers, and not firstly and above all on their own experiences with God Himself. These people have become ignorant of how things are meant to be, they have been deceived and unfortunately have even deceived people like atheists into the same. I mean, WHAT HAPPENED?? Isn’t that -first and above all- the most important aspect of your faith, an interactive relationship with The Lord? If so, hasn’t He been revealed to you?? Don’t you have further experiences with Him? If you answer yes, then why do you place more emphasis on proving the Bible is accurate, than in sharing your personal experiences? We will see why.
But what does all this have to do with MD’s statement regarding the age of the earth, you might still be wondering. It has everything to do with it. Allow me to elaborate as I must so for all atheists reading this and even some Christians.
Although as born again Christians we have many times experienced and experience God’s doings in our life (first experience being Him revealing Himself in my spirit and second being Him filling me with His Spirit), yes, of course, it would still sound weird to some that in the Bible it seems like the earth is only thousands of years old instead of the claimed billions. I mean, we’re not blind, nor are we liars! The thing is, that within us (those who base their faith on their relationship with Him), we of course feel that this is such a minor –close to invisible- argument in disproving the existence of our God, that is, in contrast to the personal proof of our God which is based on our experiences with Him, that we just place it in the “I don’t know why Scripture says that.” category in our mind, till He comes (if He feels He should) and deals with the issue revealing His truth to us concerning it. This means, that if a particular Christian (as the caller presented himself) can’t provide an answer to an evolutionist on the Earth-age issue, it doesn’t necessarily mean he ignores what is claimed by them, nor that he is irrational in trusting the Bible, it just means that there is an issue that he needs to pray about and research on in order that he a) has the truth on the issue, for his own benefit and b) then be able to help others in understanding it as well.
Objection: “Yeah right! You Christians just can’t accept that your supposedly inspired Bible is wrong because you fear that your faith will break apart. So you hide behind supposed personal experiences!”
My reply to this is: Actually calling us liars, is not an argument and doesn’t make one seem very rational, but only immaturely emotional. I do not say that I can’t accept that the Bible is wrong, but that I have every reason to believe it’s right (patience we will see more) and more importantly, that I have other reasons for being a Christian, ones that surpass your perspective on the Bible and in regards to my God’s existence. If you don’t consider all my reasons properly, you’re just being stubborn and cowardly and in denial I will add.
Although yes, you not considering or properly considering how we feel on the issue, what we believe and why, does make us look like fools to you, but it doesn’t make us look like fools to us, and this is something you should understand! See, in the end, it doesn’t matter to us what you think about the existence of our God or of our relationship with Him, or why Scripture has that take on the age of the earth, it only matters what we know about God **because we’re the ones living with Him**. And in that frame, a Christian possibly not being able to disprove the old earth claim, or even prove their experiences to you (how can I prove e.g. a thick warm healing energy starting from the top of my head slowly moving all the way down to my feet, healing me of something fiercely painful that just showed up –renal colic- and never happened before and never happened after??), can of itself say NOTHING to us that contradicts our God’s actual existence nor about the reason why the Bible seems to present a young earth (there is a reason to be found). Putting it differently, we completely understand your objection and would have it in the same intensity if we were you (but we’re not), but you’re not understanding our objection because you’re not understanding where we come from and this is partially normal and partially our fault.
Having said that, in regards to his objection on the young earth, at most MD can claim that the Bible is wrong at that point (or other ones), and this is ok with us, but what’s not ok is him telling us (as he actually did to the caller) that we shouldn’t believe in the God of the Bible because the Bible seems to be wrong about the age of the earth, hence by default (…) this means that our experiences with God are not real, hence our God is not real, hence all other revelation in the Bible are also wrong, hence we are irrational for trusting the Bible. This -please attempt to calmly see it from a born again Christian’s angle- is just ABSURD to us, even though (!) we are aware of the fact that unlike us, you lack a real relationship with the God of the Bible.
So, it would be good if MD tries to understand and accept, that to Christians, Christianity is about way more than he thinks, more then hands on evidence for others to scrutinize; one doesn’t have to believe this, but they should take it actually into perspective when they speak of how I, we Christians, see the Bible or/and should see the Bible. From my perspective, you can’t know how I should see the Bible, you can only guess about it.
If MD had such a relationship with God, he himself would just say that he doesn’t know why the Bible says “that” and that it could be possible that scientists may be proven wrong on the issue of the earth\s age; meanwhile he himself would consider it FOOLISH AND IRRATIONAL if he dismissed his actual interactive relationship with God due to something he doesn’t have an explanation for. This would not make sense to him, as his line of thinking does not make sense to us, since the Bible seeming wrong to macro-evolution scientists on the earth age issue, has nothing to do with Christianity being “a self-contradictory proposition?” or with the existence of the God of the Bible, but -supposedly- with whether or not it’s inspired by Him. I’ll stay on this for a little longer.
The fact that something in the Bible may be wrong, could seem to indicate to an atheist or even to an unknowledgeable Christian, that the Bible is therefore not inspired by God, but guess what? First of all this has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and secondly, this changes nothing to me personally and others like me. I mean, me believing the Bible is inspired by Him (for various purposes…) is something that I accepted after the Bible’s God was revealed to me in my spirit in the beginning of my faith, and has been –as an inner revelation- spiritually witnessed to me again and again in the duration of my relationship with Him and its pages (in that order), and not because somebody simply said so or because I had evidence for this! In all simplicity back then I just naturally figured that since this God, the God of the Christians and therefore of the Bible (note that I hadn’t read the Bible yet) was revealed to me through Christians, Him providing His will for us in text form (something claimed by the Christians) was just something “normal” to do; the immediate implication to this for me was that “of course He would have told (“inspired” – I didn’t even connect this word then with Scripture!) the writers what to write”. After 1) the God of the Bible was revealed to me, as time passed:
2) I saw how He used the Bible in my life, something that again and again drove the point through that it was in His providence that we have the Bible and therefore divine inspiration most certainly must be infused within it.
3) I found out that all other mature Christians considered The Bible to be inspired.
4) I read that Paul says that the Old Testament Scriptures were divinely inspired (2Ti 3:14-16), Peter implies that Paul’s writings were equal with the OT Scriptures (2Pe 3:16), entailing God’s wisdom (2Pe 3:15), John clearly tells us that he was told by Jesus Christ to write his revelation (Rev 1:11). Anyone understanding, discerning, the personality and mission of these writers, as well as all writers of the New Testament, can realize that they are trustworthy and on this trust towards them the idea to a Christian that the whole Bible is inspired is based. This may seem as “a tall order” to someone who does not “know” the writers, but when he gets to know them, he will realize it isn’t.
So, in a few words, someone would have to go through the above to realize that Scriptures are divinely inspired (not divinely written), starting off as I said with the God of the Bible revealing Himself to them (more on this later); sometimes this revelation takes place as someone reads the New Testament. If someone doesn’t go through the above, then he cannot accept that the Scriptures are inspired by God and most Christians have no problem with that, since being saved has NOTHING TO DO with accepting Scriptures as being divinely inspired (more on this later).
A revelation to atheists at this point: Believing the NT is truthful, does NOT require a) having a revelation from God! b) believing it is divinely inspired. One with a good enough thinking capacity (common sense), logic, could come to trust in the truthfulness of the NT message (not necessarily of all its details from the beginning) even if they don’t believe that its books are with divine purpose and inspiration, by simply reading it without bias. Yep! That’s all it takes. Can you even imagine that?? Try it if you’re an atheist. This is my challenge -or if you prefer dare- to you. Make sure though you are not biased. Read it as if you never heard anything about Christianity or atheism. Having firstly done that, you can then deal with the claims that seem to show mistakes in the NT (more on this later). Guess what will happen. THEY WON’T MATTER if you followed the above simple procedure! Once you -without bias- clearly perceived the whole clear picture portrayed, any discrepancies claimed or even found, would not be able to negate the clarity of whole picture intended. It’s like making a 1000 piece puzzle that pictures a city, and then removing some of its pieces or even drawing on them something that doesn’t harmonize with the rest of the pieces (which is not actually the case). So what?? You can still see the reality portrayed!!! It’s a city filled with building one next to the other! Yes, you can wonder and research on what happened with those particular pieces, but at the end, no harm is done to the clarity of the “message” and in part messages of the picture.
-I added this paragraph, to show that not believing the NT is divinely inspired or that everything in it is accurate or not having a divine revelation revealing its God, are not reasons to not accept the obvious, unless there is a fixed belief against anything supernatural.
But getting back now, how can I prove to you that God was revealed to me?? I can’t. A revelation is not neon sign in my head that you can see with xrays. It’s a sudden divine information deeply implanted in our spirit. It’s as if a bucket of cool water just hits you in the face during a hot summer day. Now, although you can falsely use this against us Christians, nothing changes in regards to the revelation we were given; it indeed makes us rational when we continue to believe in the Bible’s divine inspiration in spite of some questionable parts within it.
An example of one of my personal revelations follows, not to boast of course (God gave it, not me!), but to give you a small idea of why and how ridiculous some atheistic arguments sound when they attempt to annul one’s revelations/experience.
My friend suddenly looks at me and says: “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!? Didn’t we both say we will stay? I told you we don’t even have chains for the tires!” Simultaneously one of the brothers that was there giggled for a second, and smiled somewhat sarcastically, and said: “No! Where are you going to go out there?!” And I said “No, I’m telling you everything is fine! Let’s go!”.
That brother giggled a little, because the way I spoke what came to my mind, reminded him of a “prophet”, and the implication behind his giggle and sarcastic smile, was this: “What?! Now you think you’re a prophet! You’re being crazy.”
Anyway, I convinced my friend insisting: “Just trust me! I just know it will be easy! The Lord told me this.” Seeing that I had previously decided to stay there with him, and that we both called to notify our families, he suspected that indeed I had a revelation/guidance for The Lord. So he trusted me and we left. And guess what happened Matt? As we got in the car and started driving on the snow almost in the blind (!) due to the blizzard, about 10 minutes in, the blizzard stopped and it just snowed very very slow! When my friend and I saw this, we of course praised The Lord. But there’s more. There were almost no cars on the road since everybody of course stayed in and the handful of cars that were on the road had chains on their tires! What does this mean though in regards to us on the road??
We had no worries at all since cars were scarce, like one car before and after
us like 300-
2) the snow on the road did not build up because they had just previously had passed to clean it up and had scattered salt on the road; this means that the road was easily drivable but for who?? For those who did not have any chains on their wheels!! The rest drove very slow because they still had their chains on and probably thought the blizzard will start again and so preferred not to take them off. We therefore passed everybody by. We made it home in a little more than hour!
3) It was such a beautiful night!! The lights on the road showing the snow, no cars around, I mean we were in a bliss!!
Now, do you know how many Christians are out there that had revelations of the kind, of any kind?? In my church life, I’ve heard of various stories by trustworthy people. Having said that, what can MD or anyone else say to convince me that my above revelation was not a divine revelation? Any negative response to this will just be an irrational response to me, and I will just laugh at it and shrug it off as I should. But I have a better question? What can MD or any other atheist say to actually convince themselves that this was not a –given to me- divine revelation?? But note, as I said, this is just one revelation from one Christian, what about other revelations of the kind that I and millions were given and are given from time to time?? What are we to do with them?? You don’t hear them being mentioned by Christians in debates with atheists and you won’t hear about them (but we will see why later), but you hear of them in every born-again Christian church.
When the above revelation was given to me, it was like I was struck with an awareness, one though that in this case was contrary to my logic/rationale, but I had to go with it, because I knew it was of The Lord. Note that revelations being given when studying Scripture, is almost an every day thing for all the loyalty-to-His-truth-tested disciples. To them, revelations are habitual to the point that they may even see them as insignificant, I mean, being in His light –goes to say- means there has to be… light, right; it’s a way of life hidden to others.
The same thing happened to me when God was realized by me, when I became aware of Him. It was a sudden information that overwhelmed me in a nice “smooth” way, as if I just stepped out from the darkness and into the light of truth; like when one steps out from the boundary of a shadow, into the warm sunlight. Now, how can I and millions of others prove this life changing revelation to you? I can’t. My evidence, is within my spirit and memory, how can I let you see it and more importantly, experience it? I can’t and neither can the million of Christians. But the fact that many sane honest people claim to have a revelation/s, is something that should carry some weight to any reasonable person.
So, MD telling us (if we were the caller) or anyone else who experiences God, that because the age of the earth is supposedly shown to be old by evolutionists and the Bible seems to give a different age on it, we then should not believe in the God of the Bible, becomes meaningless to us when we rationalize it in the frame of our experiences with Him. If atheists realize here what I am saying, they will see that a Christian is not being irrational but rational in persisting in still believing the claims of the Bible as being true, irrelevant if they themselves don’t.
Now, if, contrary to the axle/center of a dedicated Christian’s faith, the particular caller on this AE episode based his faith only on the Bible (sorry for him) and had no actual experiences with God, again:
a) MD cannot -as he did- imply that a Bible based faith is irrational (“And some people resolve that in favour of the Bible saying the Bible is absolutely right, and ignore what actual evidence is presented there.”),
b) he should not even claim that the caller’s supposed “only-Bible based faith” is irrational due to the one mentioned –according to him- mistake that he pointed out (the age of the earth), since there are other aspects in the Bible that give it a validity when it comes to whether or not it contains knowledge that is derivative from the God it calls upon; those things cannot negate the other ones that MD considers as being wrong and the caller would still be rational in believing in the God of the Bible, regardless of how problematic the “divine inspiration” claim/position may appear to him or others.
A very important clarification for atheists at this point, that most of them are not aware of, that I would like them to bear in mind when talking to Christians.
Notice that I said: “if….the caller based his faith only on the Bible…and has no actual experiences with God…”.
Although the caller sounded as if he didn’t have any experiences with God, I personally discerned a conviction in his voice and spirit, one that makes me think that God was indeed revealed to him. Even if he were to say he didn’t have any revelation, I would still have my doubts, and this because although Christians have the divine revelation regarding the truth of the God of the Bible within them as well as other experiences with Him:
a) some Christians are not conscientious of the fact that that strong persistent belief in them that the God of the Bible is the Real God and their Father, is not a result of brainwashing as atheists attempt to make it nor of just understanding Christians beliefs, but of a divine revelation in their spirit; them not having this Scriptural knowledge, makes them overlook their spiritual reality as they get sucked into the chase for evidence to help others, overlooking why they themselves still persist in believing in the God of the Bible. Note here, that although from my experience, this is not the majority of Christian’s case, it’s still the case of a large group of Christians (and their influence does spread!); they are not studied in the Bible and cannot properly perceive and interpret their own experiences; they are a problem to Christianity, although an unintentional one.
b) some Christians appear to atheists as if they don’t have divine experiences of some kind, since they have removed themselves from that premise, in order to stick to helping atheists and others to realize the validity of the Bible; they knowingly –in naïve faith, part of the “spiritual shift” I talked about- remove themselves from their foundational premise, since they have been deceived into thinking that personal experiences should not be allowed in the existence-of-God-debate, since they can’t be proven (even if some can!), becoming castrated before entering into a game where the atheist has set the foolish rules and the definitions of terms to his advantage (or so he thinks).
c) some Christians (mostly the weak ones) are just intimidated by atheism’s take on revelations/miracles to the point of not daring to speak about their experiences in cowardly fear that they would be mocked and marginalized. The NT’s response to them is Heb 12:12-13; in my own words: “Man up!”
It’s funny how it drives atheists crazy when they see a simple uneducated person insisting without any hands on evidence for them to put in the lab, saying:
“Look, what can I tell you?.. For some reason that I can’t explain, I am 100% sure that the God of the Bible is the real God and that the Bible is accurate. I just believe it.”
(This could be the callers case at this point in time.)
And the atheists and agnostics of course in turn reply (or should I say parrot):
“Well that’s irrational! You have no evidence for it and you continue to believe in Him??!!”
But no my friend, this is what I want you to understand. These kind of Christians and all real Christians in general, don’t have a type of evidence proving their experiences and inner revelations that they can bring to your table of discussion, the kind that you can put in a lab and dissect or test/experiment on, but they do have evidence for themselves, evidence that is manifested again and again among them, since it is intended for His family! Did you get that? IT IS INTENDED FOR HIS FAMILY. So, here’s a simple revelation for atheists:
When God gives any revelation to His children (born again Christians), He does not ordain that some proof of that revelation go along with it! WHY SHOULD HE?? When you talk to your kids, or family in general, do you provide proof of your talk with them for people outside your family to have?? No, you don’t. So, be rational and accept the sound logic of someone else’s position (that a God can reveal something to His children, naturally without providing evidence for it - simple as that), regardless if you think it’s real or not; try to see it first, as he sees it in order to perceive his logic. Therefore, when you hear them say that they can’t prove their God to you, do know that the reality behind it –from a Christian angle- actually interprets it as “I am given revelation for me, not for you. I can’t prove it to you and you can’t disprove it to me.”
Yes, it’s true that in this frame Christians do seem deceived and foolish to you, but (so?), it’s not their fault. Besides, haven’t you studied (…) atheists read in the N.T. about divine revelation seeming foolish to non believers and divine revelation being given to the (in Greek) “babies” of this world, to the simple minded[]? No, you don’t have to believe it just because it’s written, but it is interesting –at least to us Christians- how reality is in fact accurately portrayed in the NT. I mean, you do consider our divine revelations to be either foolish or/and non existent, and it’s true you just are not able to accept them, and again it’s true that simple minded people in one way or another claim to be 100% sure that their God exists and that His claims are true. So, sorry, to a Christian this –in light of all of course- cannot be a coincidence. Ask yourself, if the following indicative passages can actually be relaying to you a reality that you are not aware of or properly aware of, one that can make a big difference in your life:
Mat 11:25-28 Answering at that time, Jesus said, I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and of earth, because You hid these things from the sophisticated and cunning and revealed them to babes. 26 Yes, Father, for so it was pleasing before You. 27 All things were yielded up to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and the one to whom the Son purposes to reveal Him.
Mat 16:13 And coming into the parts of Caesarea of Philip, Jesus questioned His disciples, saying, Whom do men say Me the Son of Man to be? 14 And they said, Some say John the Baptist, and others Elijah, and others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 15 He said to them, But you, whom do you say Me to be? 16 And answering, Simon Peter said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And answering, Jesus said to him, Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father in Heaven.
Joh 6:44-45 No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. 45 It has been written in the Prophets, They "shall" all "be taught of God." So then everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me;
Rom 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God. 17 And if children, also heirs; truly heirs of God, and joint-heirs of Christ, if indeed we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together.
1Co 1:18 For the Word of the cross is foolishness to those being lost, but to us being saved, it is the power of God.
1Co 1:24-29 but to the called out ones, both to Jews and to Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God; 25 because the foolish thing of God is wiser than men, and the weak thing of God is stronger than men. 26 For you see your calling, brothers, that there are not many wise according to flesh, nor many powerful, not many wellborn. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world that the wise might be put to shame, and God chose the weak things of the world so that He might put to shame the strong things. 28 And God chose the low-born of the world, and the despised, and the things that are not, so that He might bring to nothing the things that are, 29 so that no flesh might glory in His presence.
1Co 2:12-14 But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. 13 Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in Words taught of the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. 14 But a natural man does not receive (in Greek: accept) the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Col 1:24 who now rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf and fill up in my flesh the things lacking of the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the assembly, 25 of which I became a minister, according to the administration of God given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God, 26 the mystery having been hidden from the ages and from the generations, but now was revealed to His saints; 27 to whom God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, who is Christ in you, the hope of glory;
Php 3:15 Then as many as are perfect, let us be of this mind; and if you think anything differently, God will also reveal this to you.
(Atheists not believing/accepting the above is one thing, Christians not having realized it to the degree they should is a sad other!)
So far I’ve presented that contrary to how MD made it appear in talking to his caller, that supposedly Christians are irrational when persisting in believing in the Bible since something/s in it seem wrong or even are wrong, logic says that:
**that CANNOT of itself negate one’s claim of having a relationship with the God of the Bible, if that person has experiences with the God of the Bible,
**that CANNOT of itself negate the revelation of God’s Person, that one has received,
**that CANNOT of itself negate one’s claim to a rational faith (in spite of some queries here and there), if it is based on other parts of the Bible which indeed provide revelation and give validity to the idea of his God existing. (I will gladly expand on this validity, when asked or challenged to do so.) So even if a Christian acknowledges inaccurate revelation/s in the Bible, this alone CANNOT negate the presence of accurate revelations in the Bible but just make the Christian wonder and research about it. Hence MD’s position expressed to his caller is wrong: that if science can prove a Biblical “revelation” to be wrong, then he and Christians in general, should not believe that the Bible is accurate or that it has anything to do with the God it professes, that is, if they want to consider themselves rational thinking people. This would be correct only if he shows that all other revelations[] in the Bible are wrong; only then can he speak of an irrational Christian faith, and this only to those who base their faith only on the Bible and not on their experiences with God. Until then he can claim that some “revelations” were not accurate hence were not inspired by the God the Bible calls upon, but that’s all.
But, there’s more that shows that MD’s logic is wrong.
As MD and all atheists know, Christians believe that the earth is young based on Scripture, something that is enforced by the claims of Christian creation-scientists that give scientific credibility to that claim. Regardless if the caller or even other Christians believe that the young earth belief has been proven wrong by evolutionists, if they consider it right or are not absolutely sure that its wrong due to their influence from Scripture or creation scientists (see e.g. www.trueorigin.org and http://www.icr.org/ ), this premise alone makes them rational in their belief in that the Biblical account of creation is still correct. In other words, the fact that maybe the caller in the video or any other Christian for that matter, realize that the majority of scientists claim that the earth is old, does not a priori dictate to them that those scientists are right and that Scripture and the minority of scientists are wrong, and he/she is still justified in keeping their faith in the God of the Bible; they would be irrational if they didn’t! Which again means that MD should not have attempted to make the caller realize himself as being irrational in his faith. In other words, an atheist saying to me:
“You’re irrational, because this has been proved to me (via scientists) without a doubt!”,
does not mean that I myself believe at that time (or should believe) that his position is true, something that allows me to have my own take on the issue and therefore without actually being irrational since I believe my position is accurate; you can call me irrational on that point only after you have clearly –without a doubt- shown me that my belief is wrong and I have understood that I in fact am wrong and continue to persist I am right.
But am I finished yet with this first part? No, I’m not.
He says (in his above statements):
“All of the scientific evidence points to an earth that is vastly older than 10000 years old.”
And later on that “some” meaning Christians:
“ignore what actual evidence is presented there” (by “there” I think he can mean in the Bible, that is, evidence that supposedly contradicts science or he can mean “there” in science; not sure, but nothing really changes.)
Comments: I have not yet found evidence, that assures me without a decent doubt of an old earth and universe in general and I believe this is true for most investigating Christians. There is nothing reliable enough to dismiss what is presented in the Bible as a thousands of years old earth, not billions; why can’t they see that? Or can they? It’s not just a matter of bias towards evolutionists’ claims, but as trueorigin.org and many other websites clearly point out, there’s a lot of assumptions made that cast serious doubts on what they claim, hence on one hand encouraging Christians to stay on what Scripture says and not trust what evolutionists claim. The only sound, safe –to the degree I am aware of- evidence I have found for an old universe, maybe the strongest or only evidence, is not to be found on earth, but coming to earth, that is, the light travelling from stars showing billions of years old stars and by implication (due to the supposed Big Bang) a billions year old earth. This may provide a problem to some, since Biblically speaking, the earth and the stars a) were made 3 literal days apart(the words “morning” and “evening” are used to enclose and emphasize a 24 hour day), not around 10 billions years apart, and b) the Biblical account seems to give about 6-10 thousands of years old earth, hence presenting a contradiction with scientific finds.
But wait. Maybe this then means I am irrational if I continue to believe the Bible’s revelation of a young age for the earth, right? Based on what MD said to your caller he would quickly answer yes, but is there something that makes a Christian rational in accepting both scientific finds (their interpretation is another thing) and Biblical claims, something that maybe MD is not aware of or just preferred to overlook? YES THERE IS.
The Biblical account creates no problem for a Christian to accept that the star light takes billions of years to get here, since this does not contradict the account itself. DO YOU KNOW THIS? I’m not the first of course to find this out. But let’s read it:
(LITV)Gen 1:14-18 And God said, Let luminaries be in the expanse of the heavens, to divide between the day and the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years. 15 And let them be for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to give light on the earth. And it was so. 16 And God made the two great luminaries: the great luminary to rule the day, and the small luminary and the stars to rule the night. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night; and to divide between the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
What can we say in regards to this passage?
a) We could see that God clearly a) doesn’t convey the means of how star light got here, but b) only imply it (a miracle). What He clearly conveys is the outcome of His creating might (do discern the difference): stars and earth in an instant (although just 3 days apart) with the starlight having already reached here, we could say “fast-forwarded” here.
b) God does help us discern the miracle since:
*** He inspired the writer to let us know that the sun moon and stars were to be made for us on earth, hence letting us know that there would be no reason for them to be made billions of years before humans.
*** He inspired the writer to show the general rule of how He creates, that is, that He created everything finished! He created man in adult age, not an embryo. The same with the rest of Creation. He created fully grown seeds, and all animals fully grown. (By the way, the Bible always had the answer to the query: “What came first? The chicken or the egg?” The chicken did. Scientists just recently found this out…)
These discernments here, therefore help the reader of Genesis to accept that star light would not travel millions of years to get here, but appeared instantly; if one stays on the account, this would be how he would consider that God did things, without though being able to prove it, yet still be reasonable in saying: “A God can do anything, so why not fast-forward light so man can see at his first day of existence?”.
But, at this point another revelation for most atheists:
The Books of the Bible, were not written for the world as we know it. They were written to inform (on various matters) those who would believe and follow Him. Those who do so:
1) before telescopes came around, would have no problem believing that God made the stars and earth at the same period (with a 3 day difference) thousands of years ago (based on genealogy), and those who would believe:
2) after telescopes showed up, would again have no problem since they would still be able to read and realize the miracle implied, that is, fast forwarding light to assist man from his first days.
The fact that non believers get to read the Bible is of course something good, as long as we Christians and they first make this basic distinction realizing it was not written for unbelievers or scientists, but for all believers of God no matter their background and education; it is they who will understand it (since they understand God exists and could do everything) and it is they who would abide by it and it is they who would preserve it and use it to show God’s will/perspective/plan to the next generations. These people –from God’s perspective- would not try to prove God’s revelations wrong, but right, since it would be unreasonable for them to do so since He was already revealed to them. Now, still, if they find something that is not accurate, rather something shown to be proven inaccurate, then they have to consider it so but with caution, giving it time till God reveals to them what’s it about; this of course would say nothing about the whole Bible to those to whom God revealed Himself.
Objection: If this is true, why would God fool scientists, by making them think that a particular star is millions or billions years away, when it isn't? This is what all their scientific instruments would show.
Answer: This objection/question shows you missed my previous point, as atheists usually do. God is not fooling Christian scientists who stay on the account, nor is He fooling secular scientists. Christian scientists take into perspective what God has said in Genesis and have no problem with there being SEEMING contradicting calculations/measurements. On the other hand, it is secular scientists who are fooling themselves(!) since they took the Creator out of His picture; THIS IS WHAT BACKFIRES AT THEM. If they left Him in, they would discern that a miracle took place and that’s why the figures don’t add up in relation to the Genesis account. On that note, they can accept that as being a fact or not accept it. In any case, if they simply understand that Biblical information was intended for believers (something obvious to anyone who reads the Bible), then they still CAN AT LEAST conclude that the Biblical account is not necessarily wrong in relation to its context, since it invokes a miracle; as a story, rather as a mythical tale to them, it would add up. Whether or not one wants to believe it as being possible or not, is another issue.
---All this, means that when non Christian scientists use what their measurements show (billions of years old universe) to contradict, disprove, the Biblical account, they are just being either arrogant, or ignorant and -it goes to say- foolish, since they leave out the particular amazing miracle of creation, having before hand taken God out of His picture. On the other hand, a Christian scientist can still use both the Biblical account and the scientific evidence as it shows up! He can use the Biblical account to marvel at the Creator’s miraculous power, but he can also use the scientific measurements:
A) to realize as well as to show others, the vastness of space and therefore the mind boggling “size” of God in Whom everything is!!
B) to know (as a non believer could) e.g. how long it would take for a space shuttle/satellites to go from our planet to another planet or how long a comet would take to come close to our planet, etc.; in that respect, the measurements are of course still correct and useful. Note: Although the measurements seem accurate so far (for some there is still the issue of if the speed of light was and is constant everywhere), they can only be used to measure distances, but not to show when the stars and universe were first created. In that sense, the measurements were meant by the Creator to be used in a “one way” manner; only a Christian can accept this.
All of the above reasons, show even from different angles, that MD’s line of logic used against the caller and in general against Christianity, so far is a very very weak logic, to the degree that it cannot present a sound argument to which one should conform.
Let’s see his next mistake.
M.D. says to his caller:
0:51 “and so by the way does the entire idea of a revelation in the New Testament (I already dealt with this “revelation” part), because your position to the point that I understand it…I haven’t got a straight answer yet… is one where there is a God, who has an important message for mankind and somehow he only reveals it to certain individuals who write this down, and thousands of years after this initial revelation we have to rely on copies of copies and translations of copies by anonymous authors with no originals.”
Comments: As MD says, the caller did not present some sort of clear position so far. But having said that, I am sure –seeing other AE episodes- that MD probably thinks that this is a Christian position (if he doesn’t, he can correct me and we can take it from there) and that he is just using the caller’s silence to expand on it and expose it, probably thinking “Well, I guess that’s what he must believe, since that’s how all Christians believe it.” In any case, I know atheists have ideas like this about Christianity, so I will deal with MD’s words for their sake and everyone else’s (including of course MD’s, the caller’s or other Christians’).
Now, this (Matt’s words) is not a Christian position, but some ignorant Christians’ position. Please do discern the difference. It’s not found in the Bible, rather the opposite is found.
But let’s see how MD puts it:
1) “…somehow he only reveals it to certain individuals who write it down…”
Comments: The truth though is, God’s “important message” (he is obviously referring to the Gospel of Jesus Christ), was not just revealed to the writers, but to all of his disciples (about 300) and before anyone ever wrote anything! These people and those who believed their message, afterwards came to compose local churches, and kept spreading the message of salvation (via oral tradition). During that time, the gospels and the rest of the epistles were written.
Question 1#: Is one justified in believing that Christianity would have died out if we didn’t have the books of the N.T. (which have God’s “important message for mankind”)? No, since the fact remains:
Christianity was alive and ticking for about 300 years before the various books became one “Book”. Sure, its books were passed around here and there, but that was to help the Christians with their questions and with their problems as people and as Christian believers; Atheist in general must realize that Christians were and are Christians not because of the writings of the disciples of Jesus, but because God was revealed to them. This, by the way, is what happened to me and millions and happens as we speak somewhere. Personally, I had not read anything regarding the Bible (I was reading on Buddhism at the time) but I heard the Gospel on this Greek Christian channel. I felt that God was talking to me through the preachers, their words sounding like they were chosen for me and were magnified in me so so much that I decided that I had to follow Jesus Christ since I KNEW HE WAS THE TRUTH. (This, to make it short, without the marvelous details…)
Question 2# Do atheists know that this is not just my take on how God’s “important message” is passed on, but of apostle Paul’s as well. He –or any other NT writer obviously- saw his writings from a different perspective than how some Christians see them today. He did not believe that one’s faith should be based on his letters to the Church. Let’s see Paul’s words: (Please notice that no mention is made of reading Scripture or Paul’s own writings.)
(LITV) Rom 10:8-17 But what does it say? "The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the Word of faith which we proclaim). 9 Because if you confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Everyone believing on Him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord of all is rich toward all the ones calling on Him. 13 For everyone, "whoever may call on the name of the Lord will be saved." 14 How then may they call on One into whom they have not believed? And how may they believe One of whom they have not heard? And how may they hear without preaching? 15 And how may they preach if they are not sent? Even as it has been written, "How beautiful" "the feet of those preaching the gospel of peace, of those preaching the gospel of good things." 16 But not all obeyed the gospel, for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" 17 Then faith is of hearing, and hearing through the Word of God.
So we see that according to Paul, (before revelation is given) the Gospel message should be preached and heard; nothing is said of course about passing on his epistles so that they will believe.
Although I don’t find it necessary to point out the amazingly obvious (!!) in the NT, here are some examples of this where we of course see that hearing the gospel message is the means –from man’s part- to salvation, not reading about it in the Old Testament or anywhere else (from LITV –Green’s Literal translation of the Bible):
Then assuredly, let all the house of
Act 10:21-22 And going down to the men, the ones sent from Cornelius to him, Peter said, Behold, I am the one whom you seek. What is the cause for which you are here? 22 And they said, Cornelius, a centurion, a just man and one fearing God, and being testified to by all the nation of the Jews, was divinely warned by a holy angel to call you to his house and to hear words from you.
Act 13:6-7 And passing through the island as far as Paphos, they found a certain conjurer, a false prophet, a Jew named Bar-jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This one having called Barnabas and Saul to him, he sought to hear the Word of God.
Act 28:24-28 And some indeed were persuaded by that being said, others disbelieved. 25 And disagreeing with one another, they were let go, Paul saying one word: Well did the Holy Spirit speak through the prophet Isaiah to our fathers, 26 saying, "Go to this people and say, You will surely hear, and not at all understand; and you will surely see, and not at all perceive; 27 for the heart of this people was fattened, and they have heard with the ears heavily; and they closed their eyes lest at any time they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them." 28 Then let it be known to you that the salvation of God was sent to the nations, and they will hear.
1Co 14:21 It has been written in the Law, "By other languages" and "by other lips" "I will speak to this people," "and even so they will not hear" Me, says the Lord.
Heb 4:6-7 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter into it, and those who formerly had the gospel preached did not enter in on account of disobedience, 7 He again marks out a certain day, saying in David, Today (after so long a time, according as He has said), "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts."
So the first part of the caller’s –according to MD’s guess- supposed belief, is completely out of this world and MD should not consider it a Christian position any longer. God did not intend for his message to be conveyed to the non believing world via Scripture but via preaching. MD then immediately added this remarkable statement:
2) “…thousands of years after this initial revelation (given to the writers), we have to rely on copies of copies and translations of copies by anonymous authors with no originals.…”
Comments: A) As I already said, all born again Christians have their own personal revelation that the Bible believing Christians’ God that was preached to them, is indeed the real God, and His Son is Jesus Christ and that His Gospel is what saves them.
B) The N.T. has various purposes, one of which is to have the message of God within it so someone can read it (by the way, this doesn’t mean he will “see” it, unless it is revealed in him), but the message, is definitely not dependant on the Book. The message is in part dependant on a preacher and if there aren’t any human preachers around, God will convey it even via angels (Acts 10:21-21 above), dreams or visions if He sees a special reason He should! Yep! It’s even happening today! Muslims, in countries where Christianity cannot go yet, say that Christ or an angel appeared to them and asked them to follow Christ and serve Him (as it happened with Paul!), and they become Christian over night! DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS for a Muslim in those countries to become a Christian?? Of course you Matt –as all atheists- will not believe this, but will ask for evidence regarding it so here it is, do what you want with it:
and much much more.
C) I believe that anyone senses that this is indeed MD’s personal position on the Christian faith, not just the caller’s faith. He downplays the books of the NT with this statement as if there’s something wrong with them, as if we can’t rely on them for the context of our faith. Sound logic however, downplays his statement. Simple common sense –as I will show- says that there’s no reason not to accept the NT books as reliable as to their Message and messages. But let me touch upon this quickly. In another AE episode (721# - that I refute on this same website) he said to another caller something similar in regards to the anonymity of the authors of the gospels and I thought it would be good if I bring it up; I am actually staying on his above statement but just providing some insight in relation to his belief as he presented it elsewhere. So he said to his caller on that episode:
“You’re claiming to
be able to be demonstrating something that Bible scholars say can’t be done”
My response to this is, which scholars? Many scholars can’t think straight from too much reading and confusion and I have reasons to doubt if they all have indeed been born of God; they’re more of religious people without any experience with God. But having said that, some facts:
*In 130AD Papias refers to the gospel of Mark in his An Exposition of The Lord’s sayings.
*When these scholars read what Justin Martyr said (around 150 AD) what do they gather? He wrote:
“For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them which are called gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined by them…” and also: “composed by the apostles and those that followed them” (1Apol. 66-67; Dial. with Trypho,10,100,103),
How could he write that without him knowing who wrote them and without having the foreknowledge that the receivers as well knew who he was referring to?? Case closed. Are we to replace our common sense with atheistic useless rants?!
The fact they are not mentioned in this context by name just makes it seem an established fact who the writers were. This is common sense for anyone who wants to be sensible.
**Afterwards, Justin’s disciple Tatian, formed what is called the Diatessaron or Harmony of four (gospels -about 170AD). Is that a coincidence too? The four writers of those Gospels had to be the one’s his teacher Justin had in mind, from among “the apostles and those who followed them” (Matthew, Peter[Mark travelled with him], Paul[Luke travelled with him], John).
So please Matt, all atheists in general, get over the “by anonymous authors with no originals.…” thing. You’re being unreasonable.
As for the “copies of copies and translations of copies”, it is a COMPLETELY weak argument for the following two reasons:
The words “copies of copies and translations of copies” may sound to someone ignorant as a strong argument, as if the reality is that we couldn’t know what the originals said, but is that true?? Not at all! NOT AT ALL! Atheists are duping people into this fallacious idea. Please give about 20 minutes (10+10) of your time and see here:
Top Bible Scholars respond to Ehrman
Atheists become irrational in the chase to disprove everything in the Bible, blowing everything out of proportion IN THEIR OWN MIND FIRST. I see this EVERY time.
1) we have every reason to believe that the New Testament gospels were well-known in church circles and believed to be authoritative.
2) Just by reading them, anyone uninfluenced can see the writers’ honesty and sanity.
3) One can realize that this “story” CANNOT be a fabrication; there are so many factors in this story (and don’t forget it’s connection to the OT), that we would have to be completely mad to believe it was a fabrication; in light of this, someone choosing to give a different explanation (…) to its supernatural claims is something more reasonable than claiming it’s all fabrication.
Some scholars who have lost their common sense (or are cowards in the face of atheists), should not be called scholars & AE hosts should not just hand out false impressions, illegitimate lines of thinking, to those unread or/and with a weak capacity to logic. But just in case, see here more on this issue that no Christian at least should disregard:
then press the first blue link titled “
The Chronological Order of the New Testament Books based on the opinions of several hundred New Testament Scholars.” http://www.errantskeptics.org/DatingNT-ChronologicalOrder.htm
I will even add that who wrote the gospels, in the end, in light of the above 3 points, does not reduce AT ALL to a Christian who experiences The God of the Bible the a) importance of what they wrote, the b) concept that says that those writers were used by God for His Church.
4) As the two links above (titled “Top Bible Scholars respond to Ehrman”) we definitely CAN AND SHOULD rely on the accuracy of the texts we have. Any differences in translations can be checked with the Greek, something I personally do (being Greek). I can say that the differences are very minor and do not harm God’s message and messages.
So, this statement of his with all its negative implications is wrong as well, in light of what I’ve presented above, and therefore it can’t show that we Christians are irrational in believing the Bible or in trusting God’s wisdom. Let’s see the next one.
1:18 “…And the textual testimony to a miracle, for example the loaves and fishes, there’s no amount of reports, anecdotal testimony and reports that could be sufficient to justify believing that this event actually happened as reported, no amount.”
Comments: This logic here I must say is almost laughable (in light of the following), if it didn’t deceive young and old into thinking it was sound. Probably not a coincidence he chose as an example a miracle that all 4 Gospels mention; he most likely felt it was a strong argument that had to be shown as being weak. But, he is making a simple yet tremendous mistake, one in accordance to his bad use of logic and lack of relationship with God (please note that comments like this one are mostly for Christians to realize). Let’s see it:
1) First of all, as I just said, this account is found in all four Gospels, and therefore is passed on in
writing initially by four different people and at different times and places. This is enough for any rational person to at least consider it a good possibility of it being true. Let’s zoom in on this though.
a) These writers documented this event/miracle, not just so they alone can read it of course, but -seeing it from the accepted by all view- so that the Christians that were not there when it took place would come to know about it. But why and how could they (all four of them) do that, if they –let’s say- had doubts that this event ever took place or wanted to deceive others?? Would you have done so? Wouldn’t the four writers be afraid that their writings would be exposed and they would be mocked as liars by their contemporaries some of which are even mentioned in those same Gospels? Wouldn’t they have to deal with the aftermath? Does it take much to figure it out that they would? So, I mean, what kind of conspiracy is this if someone claimed it such? A very stupid one, and the writers -just a very little bit of psychology will tell you- were not stupid, nor insane, nor liars.
b) We have no documentation of that time or any time, that claims that this event or any other, did not take place, that is, exposing the writers as liars or at least mistaken.
2) Does it though “justify believing” it in absence of other reports/testimonies? Contrary to what MD
says, yes, it does and it should, to some people:
a) the ones that are not quick to believe –based on the above- that it must have been a made up story, the next reasonable step would be to believe it happened,
b) the ones that have read the Gospels and can EASILY realize that their writers are not deceiving liars or crazy people, again yes, to them believing it is justifiable.
c) Also, normal people would see it as highly justifiable that this event actually took place, because they
don’t just read of this one miracle (about the loaves and fishes) in four books, but of many other fascinating descriptions regarding this Person named Jesus Christ (not to mention how He is spoken of in the rest of the NT), as well as description regarding His followers, all of which, as a scenario, promote in one’s rational mind a great degree of certainty that this miracle in the midst of all else must as well be true!
By saying “normal people”, I mean the majority of people who are not fixed on one particular belief and who are usually at least neutral when hearing any claim of the supernatural, saying “I don’t know, therefore it could be, but then again, maybe it couldn’t be.”; to some of these neutral people, the narratives within the NT all together, would give them good reason to believe everything in the NT may be true, while to the rest of them, it would make them without a doubt certain, that they are true! So, the way I see it, a rational uninfluenced objective sincere, not lacking the facts, person, would –in light of all that is said in the NT and how it is said- feel that his belief –contrary to MD’s- in that this event (and all other ones) did actually happen, is justifiable since it is based on mere discernment, common sense applied on 4 sound evidences, the 4 documents/Gospels.
So, as an argument of itself, not being other reports for this miracle (or for any other for that matter!), outside the four Gospels, does not justify not believing that the particular miracle did happen. But, there’s more.
3) Why would there necessarily have to be other reports of this event?????????????????
A) I could be wrong, but from what I gather there weren’t any type of “news papers” used at that time. But even if we -for the discussion- accept there were, it is probable that the Romans would censor it if they learned of such a miracle figuring that spreading such news would encourage more people to come up close and learn more about Jesus and maybe becoming His followers, creating more instability to their regime.
B) Maybe there were more reports but were lost, as many other reports logically would be lost on many other events/issues.
However, the above were not really needed to disprove his logic…Another revelation to many coming up:
C) There’s something else very important that is overlooked. Most people that were there and were fed via this miracle, most likely didn’t even notice that they were living the miracle of loaves and fishes multiplying! This would mean that the Gospel writers wrote about this event simply because they were eyewitness of it, knowing that non other were. Even if we assume that some of those present there might have realized the miracle, normally, they would rather speak about it to others (some of which may believe it) than write about it (why would they?); I’m also wondering, which of them were able to write to begin with or which of them were influential writers that would hence believe they had an incentive or interest to write about it. More questions in this line of thinking can be made, but anyone rational gets my clear point.
However, beyond what common sense says, if we stay on the account in all four Gospels, we are not even given the impression that they realized the miracle! There were so many people in the crowd that without someone proclaiming that a miracle is taking place (something that was not done) they would never realize it. Jesus was doing the miracle, passing the loaves and fish to his disciples and they in turn to the people. Let’s read it:
Mar 6:32-45 And they departed by
boat into a deserted place apart. 33 And the crowds saw them going, and
many recognized Him. And they ran together on foot there, from all
the cities, and came before them, and came together to Him. 34 And going
out, Jesus saw a large crowd, and had pity on them, because "they
were as sheep having no shepherd." And He began to teach them many things.
35 And now a late hour occurring, drawing near to Him, the disciples said, The
place is deserted, and it is now a late hour. 36 Send them away, that
going away to the surrounding fields and villages they may buy bread for
themselves. For they do not have what they may eat. 37 And answering, He said
to them, You give them food to eat. And they said to Him, Going, should
we buy two hundred denarii of bread and give them to eat? 38 And He said to
them, How many loaves do you have? Go and see. And knowing, they said, Five, and
two fish. 39 And He ordered them all to recline, group by group on
the green grass. 40 And they sat, group by group, by hundred and by
fifty. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, looking up to
Heaven, He blessed, and broke the loaves, and giving out to His disciples,
that they might set before them. And He divided the two fish to all. 42 And
all ate, and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve hand baskets full of
fragments, also from the fish. 44 And those eating the loaves were about
five thousand men. 45 And at once He constrained His disciples to enter
into the boat, and to go before to the other side, to
So, we have no reason to believe that this miracle was made known to them as it was taking place. The purpose of the miracle was to feed the hungry crowd, but was spiritually aimed at the apostles (and us).
(There are also some hidden messages/principles intended within this miracle; one of them –in a few words- is: In trust bring to God what little you may have for His purposes and He will multiply it. –Of course I am aware that most atheists are completely unaware of such hidden implications/messages within the Gospels and the NT in general.)
Therefore again, MD’s statement is shown not to bear any weight AT ALL and crumbles under simple scrutiny. But could atheist/agnostic viewers know this? No. So, they will just parrot his words all over the internet and pollute other ignorant people, and an empire is born on ignorance, and MD has once more done his harm. Let’s go on.
1:36 “Anything that would qualify as a God would clearly understand this and if it wanted to convey this information to people in the way it was believable would not be relying on text to do so.”
Comment: Exactly Matt! Even most average in Biblical knowledge dedicated[] Christians agree with you. Still though, don’t you have to prove that the God of the Bible doesn’t understand it. You hadn’t to your caller AND YOU COULDN’T if you attempted to do so using the Bible. But, as I already showed, Biblical Christianity does not directly or indirectly claim that God is relying on text to convey His message, but the opposite. God conveys His message miraculously through revelation to a person who in humility stands before it, by rule after it is preached by His messengers. This message is also found in the NT but as I showed it is not dependant on it; proof of this is history, as well as people coming to Christ all the time that can’t even read or are not given the NT.
-Atheists must learn of how God wants to use the NT before talking nonsense about it, but this will never happen because –the way I see it- they are by rule sworn enemies of common sense, and Biblical understanding; “Indenialists” I call them; it’s true that Christians talk nonsense as well as they overlook what Scripture actually teaches (my Greek book and website in all fairness deals with them as well).
If MD or any other atheist or even some ignorant Christian, still doesn’t believe that God does not rely on texts for His message (the Gospel), that’s their –totally weird- issue, but they have no right claiming that that’s what the God of the Bible does!! So please be respectful of the fact and stop misrepresenting Christianity from now on.
1:47 “And this for me is the nail on the coffin for Christianity!”
Comment: (J J J ) Yes, this is your conclusion and yes, this is any born-again knowledgeable Christian’s conclusion on your conclusion:
All you have is an empty paper coffin, a nail made of hot air, and a Scripturally unfounded Christianity. All of which making you sound deeply ignorant of many fundamental teachings and thus of the reality/s of Christianity. This would still be your case, even if we supposed you knew all the Bible by heart and all Christian apologetic arguments (which -needless to say- of course you don’t); you don’t have the “glue” to make sense of it all. Polemics aside, I do want to help if I can, but more importantly if you want; I do hope that The Lord in His goodness forgives you and brings you back to His flock. I advise you not to comment harshly on this, since in the end it will only be at your expense.
1:55 “The God that Christian believe in is amazingly stupid if it wants to actually achieve its goal of spreading this information to humanity by relying on text, by relying on languages that die off, by relying on anecdotal testimony; that’s not a pathway to truth.”
Comment: 1) We agree! Therefore, based on my above clarifications: “The God that Christians believe in” is indeed a wise God! And therefore you and all other atheists should stop shooting yourselves in the foot. He uses revelation/s, trustworthy writers, various writings, multitude of copies, messengers/preachers, miracles, and more, all of which get His message across just fine! Never had a problem…J
2) “This information”, His “important message” does not need the New Testament, it needs God and God will use preachers to convey it, simultaneously giving revelation to a humbled heart. The NT is just a means chosen to assist that message. The fact that it is a chosen means, is something that for a Christian is derivative, produced from, the fact that God is revealed to him, the God of the messenger, the God of the messenger’s Bible.
3) The part about “relying on languages that die off (etc.)” is in light of what I already presented already dealt with in essence.
2:20 “Which means that anything that would qualify for a God should know this. Which means either that God doesn’t exist, or it doesn’t care enough about those people who understand the nature of evidence to actually present it. Now which of those possibilities, do you think is accurate?”
Comment: None of them of course come close to being accurate. God, as one can at least read in the Bible about how He works things and what He apparently thinks about evidence, not only gives evidence, but something way more, He gives revelation, something that is more intimate and dynamic. The Christian just has to stay on it, as the captain of a ship in a storm must keep his eyes on the lighthouse, and the atheist should at least realize its weight for a Christian.
2:35 “Why would you believe anything on faith? Faith isn’t a pathway to truth.”
Comments: You have no idea Matt.
Faith IS DEFINITELY A PATHWAY TO TRUTH!!! This statement of yours alone is just OUTRAGEOUSLY ABSURD; it distorts the truth and destroys an excellent tool for progress! I feel very sorry for your listeners; you are brainwashing them with utter nonsense. If, from the following you realize why I take such a position towards you, you owe to truth to change your mind on the issue and to apologize to all your listeners (atheists or not).
The following in blue are five segments of a book I am preparing on logic in regards to God’s truths.
©“Faith or belief?
Before I provide my understanding of these words (actually of the actions themselves), I believe we should first realize that the problem of accurately defining these words is that, today, many words have almost lost their original meaning. You open a dictionary, search for the definition of a word, and find that there are many more definitions to it, even from as recently as twenty years ago. For example, today, when someone says “I’m bad!” he may mean “I’m tough" or "strong" or "confident,” depending on the manner in which he says it. So, in my opinion, what is ultimately of more importance when it comes to the truth, is not how we label something, but whether we realize what that something actually is. That is, we should ask, what do belief and faith really represent? When and how do most people use these words? To describe exactly what mental experience? What is the reality, the nature, of the factor that is perceived by our minds and which gives birth to these two words? Since the answer to this question/s demands in depth “probing” in something that is not visible (as is a thought, an impression, a mental process), the following conclusions may therefore seem to some as being subjective, non the less, one can still perceive that they are way more objective (!) than anything to the contrary.
I believe that it is safe to say that when most people use the word “belief”, they generally bring to mind an idea on which they place their trust because they –for their own reasons- consider it reliable and even factual. On the other hand, when most people use the word “faith”, they tend to think of trust in an idea that is generally considered reliable or factual. So, to start with, it has to do with what we bring to mind when describing something. For example, the claim: “There is a God” can represent both a belief and a faith, depending on what I bring to mind and serves the purpose of the context of the rest of my words. That is, it can be a belief since the statement can present an idea that I consider I should trust as being true, and it can be a faith since it can present my trust in an idea. So it really has to do with prioritizing my presentation of trust, by describing it as either “belief” or “faith”, depending on the intentions of my sentence and its message. If it’s a trust that I firstly want to convey, I’ll use the word “faith”, if it’s the idea itself that I want to firstly convey as one that I trust, I will use the word “belief”. The term I choose will depend on what I want to convey at the moment, not necessarily the depth of my actual trust. For example if I say “My belief is that Jesus will come back to save those who are His”, this does not mean that my faith in Jesus’ second coming is not really strong, but that my emphasis at that instant was strictly on the fact/notion that He will come back, something I trust to be true. If I wanted to convey my trust in that He will come back, I would use the word “faith.”
Seeing it from another perspective, the factors present within a belief are: a) an idea and b) trust, while the factors present within faith are: a) trust and b) an idea. Therefore the difference between the words is the order of the factors the speaker brings to mind before using one of those two words, and the similarity is that they are both ideas entrusted for various reasons; this is in essence, what makes an atheist sound irrational when claiming that a belief is not faith, and foolish believing that in this manner he is somehow thus flying below the religious radars.
While it is true that both words can be related to religious and scientific issues, common use has it that the word "faith" is always applied to religious issues and not scientific ones. But keep in mind that whichever word is employed doesn’t always have to do with the reality of what is actually lived out. When defining words, we speak of their use, but when it comes to examining and labelling an inner practice (based on knowledge and intentions), the word that ought to be used can range from subjective to very subjective.
Having said all this, what scientists do in reality is place their trust on things they… trust as being evidence, i.e as in those of theories. This action is actually closer to the word “faith” than belief, although in the end, both words are directly related to “trust” in the unseen. So, no need to waste people’s time claiming there is no faith involved in science, since a) both words, but most importantly b) the actions of scientists, speak louder than what any atheist's claims to the contrary. ©”
Another part (not connected to the previous one) which may help you gain some more insight on the issue of faith in science.
“© In any case, the evidence, the theory and the proofs exist only when there is –as much as possible- accurate, objective data that is assessed as indeed being such. It is the quantity and quality of the data that leads to either an indication, or a theory, or a proof, and here lies the issue: in all three cases, no matter how certain you might be, you have to apply some degree of faith, following some degree of certainty, regarding something unknown. The problem is that often the evidence, theories and alleged “proofs” have later been shown to be either insufficient or downright wrong, thus altering all the previously-drawn conclusions. For instance, some indications or theories may lead to explanation “E,” but eventually, against all expectations, it may be proven that the correct explanation was “F” (notice the similar shape of the two letters)! But until “F” is proven, it would be reasonable to claim in strong faith, that “the evidence screams: It’s ‘E’!” But ultimately, it was merely faith, albeit a strong faith, but misplaced on the indications that were actually pointing to “F” all the time[].
So yes, you may not have realized it, but you do apply a measure of faith on things that you now take for granted as “scientifically based” facts, and that is the only reason you can talk about evidence or indications or proof concerning anything! Therefore, no scientific evidence, no scientific theory, no scientific proof can exist without a certain degree of faith! Many scientists (and not just scientists), must realize and accept this.
On the other hand, faith does the same thing! Faith is trust, but when or in what does a normal person place his trust? He places it on things he considers to be more certain based on the most reliable indications and/or proof. However, I clarify here that someone having doubts regarding a particular subject or factor of faith (as someone could have doubts about a supposed indication, theory or proof), is another issue. Still, the logic of placing one’s trust on reliable data remains the same in all four of these factors (faith, indications, theory, proof). Trust is the common ground, the link connecting them to existence; indications, theories and proof, need one’s trust to exist. If you remove the aspect of trust from faith, indications, theories and proof, then their meanings cease to exist.
An atheist would probably feel by now the need to object here: “Just hold on! Who said that the Christian faith is based on evidence/proof?!” Answer: To begin with, it is the context of the Christian faith as it is found in the pages of the New Testament that “says it” (most do not know this). This is something we will later examine.
But getting back to what we were saying, as a Christian, this does not at all reduce the importance of the scientific method, it just makes it normal (!) because we can find faith to be the driving force behind all (!) of our conclusions and decisions, which should make us wonder: How can faith not be behind science??
But how can I expand the issue of faith so much by saying it’s behind everything? I can do so because IT SIMPLY IS! Let’s see, in the following examples, the faith that we necessarily apply in everyday life; a faith that –to an extent- is based on past experience: ours, and that of others:
* When you get into your car and drive to work, you have faith that your car will work, that you will drive carefully, that you will arrive at your destination. Yet, there is a chance that these things may not happen.
* When you leave your home, you have faith that you will return home unharmed and safe. Most of the time it doesn't even cross your mind that, in reality, something may happen to you.
* You fill in a job application and you exercise faith that there is a chance they might hire you, when there might even be no such possibility.
* You buy a television and you apply your faith in that it has a long life, yet, storage rooms are filled with televisions returned the next day.
* You go to a restaurant and believe that you won’t get food poisoning, but you do know, that in fact, it’s possible.
The above, and numerous other daily choices we make, are based on faith, which by common acceptance is seen as correct, reliable and logical faith. People from a very young age are taught, directly or indirectly, to trust the unseen based on their previous experience or knowledge or on others’ previous experience and knowledge, to the point that faith becomes second nature and a part of our every day, as one comes in contact with almost all aspects of life. Can you imagine a person not functioning daily on faith? What would the result be? Inactivity, deterioration, death and chaos everywhere. It’s no wonder why Satan has downplayed faith! He doesn’t want us to realize the value and necessity of faith, and that’s why he has distorted its nature in the consciences of so many people. But why doesn’t he want us to realize faith’s importance? He knows that faith can be found almost everywhere, but he doesn’t want its existing and necessary presence in science to be perceived. In this way, he manages to make science something higher than man who requires faith to exist, something like a "god" that needs no faith as to what reality is, in whom the absolute truth can be found, thus creating this subconscious "science-god" for people to believe in while he (the "science-god") competes against the real God. How deceptive. What a liar he is.
But this all being true, how did “scientists” come to be annoyed (isn’t that "a twist"!) with the mere idea that science also practices faith? Could it be a reaction to the idea that faith is considered a religious and hence a necessarily non-objective factor? If so, then science has been deceived to think that faith is an exclusive PRIVILEGE(!) of religion, a notion that all the above has shown is definitely not true. All people, in any stage of life or branch of work, use any indications they have (no matter where those come from) in connection to the logic of possibilities and thus make decisions, move in certain directions and derive conclusions. Of course, the same is true for all scientists in all branches in science, without this reducing the importance of any of their conclusions, much more so when the number and quality of their indications/data that having been gathered, point to a conclusion that seems almost absolutely sure. Therefore I call upon the scientists it may concern to calm down and accept (that is, “twist” their view on faith back to reality!), and in boldness admit and proclaim the fact that:
SCIENCE OWES ITS EXISTENCE TO FAITH. WITHOUT FAITH SCIENCE CANNOT EXIST!
Yes, yes, it is faith that actually allows (!) the existence of science and it is again faith that promotes science; in due time of course science in turn will in gratitude come to confirm the claims of the Christian faith. ©”
And another small part from my book to be. In this part I mention MD’s statement in the video (AE 696#) about faith not being a pathway to truth:
“© Of course, this other dimension of science I just spoke about, where scientists may deeply disagree on certain issues based even on personal and subjective presuppositions, is a natural outcome if we appreciate that scientists, as people, are not from one mould regardless of how much various institutions try to shape them into one. Every scientist as a person has his personal degree of judgment/perception/ability for critical thinking, his own subjective motives, his own relative scientific training, and his own worldview/religion. As a result, these differences allow for, and even provoke, disagreement between scientists, since it is almost impossible to eliminate the personal element from scientific science. In this context, when a scientist proposes an interpretation of various phenomena or discoveries, he may come to consider another scientist a “lesser” scientist when the latter sees things differently. But when both scientists are completely sure about their exegesis on an issue, then what’s going on? How could that be? Usually what is happening is that the interfering faith of both scientists is strong in that their explanation is the correct one and that the opponent’s faith is simply mistaken!
Therefore, don’t be fooled. Faith is everywhere! In agreement and in disagreement! As Albert Einstein pointed out:
“A theory is something nobody believes, except the person who made it. An experiment is something everybody believes, except the person who made it.[]”
Although it’s an exaggeration, and his purpose behind this comment is a different one than mine, nonetheless, if you think about it, my point is made by it as well! Einstein apparently knew the science-faith connection, that science cannot exist without scientists believing in their data, evidence and theories.
Let’s pause here a little. One time I heard an atheist on the Internet say “Faith isn’t a pathway to truth.” From his point of view, he was right, since he considers faith something that has nothing to do with evidence, hence, it cannot lead to truth. But in down-to-earth reality, he was wrong. Sensible peoples’ faith is based on evidence, indications, rationality and logic. If he wanted to speak of a faith that insane people have (one where no evidence is needed for it to be applied) then he should have pointed it out instead of speaking of rational peoples’ faith. Yes, most peoples’ faith IS based on or is seen by them as being based on indications and evidence. How weak or strong that evidence is, is beside the point. Having said that, I beg to –strongly- differ, that:
a) Rational faith, faith based on logic and evidence, is the only faith we should be talking about if we want to keep it real and honest, since that’s the kind of faith all sane people use from a very young age. Anyone who disregards this faith, is either highly ignorant or a liar and dangerous at that I might add.
b) In fact, faith (it goes without saying that we are talking about a sane person’s reasonable faith) is a pathway to truth, as I already have shown and will show further. ©”
So Matt, this position of yours as well –one of the worst- is least to say DEFINITELY wrong. I am here to inform you that wrong thinking is a trend probably in all your videos (since I’ve seen many) and I can prove it; try me. Let’s go to your next mistake.
2:45 “If faith is your pathway, you can’t distinguish between Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or any of these others.”
Comment: As I’ve shown, and hopefully MD will accept, he misused the word faith and that’s why he ends up with this false statement.
2:56 “How is it that you use reason in every endeavor of your life and when it comes to the ultimate truth, the most important truth, you’re saying faith is required.”
Comment: 1) To answer your question, all normal people “use reason in every endeavor”, but reason that is accepted in faith! Faith, even if it’s a minimal amount, is required everywhere when dealing with an unseen factor.
2) You have sucked the apparently weak caller into your beliefs, and he did not become aware of it. I mean, the caller knows that his faith is based on something (or was based)!!!!! That’s why he called in. This seems to be the case even when he called on the previous AE episode (695#). And unless you think he’s literally crazy, you too know that his faith is/was based on some reason/s, regardless if you’re not sure what they are or if you may find them to be truthful or not.
Anyway, I think it’s needless to say by now, that “reasoning” on what is truth and what isn’t, MUST incorporate faith that is based on reason and the evidence one can have for himself and maybe for others! So, reality says that this statement of yours is like all the rest, false.
3:02 “And how does that reflect on a God who supposedly exists and wants you to have this information? What kind of God requires faith instead of evidence?”
Comments: 1) “Faith instead of evidence” as you put it, is no rational faith. It’s a faith crazy people have. This false representation of faith must stop Matt. It’s becoming ridiculous as it is repeated by atheists most of the time, as well as by some ignorant Christians that don’t use their common sense.
More revelation for you:
2) The Christian faith and God, as presented in the NT, have NO PROBLEM AT ALL with evidence for faith. Read (again from my book to be):
**©Yet indeed, God wanted man to exercise a faith that is based on reliable indications, without those same indications to annul the purpose of the Christian faith itself, but rather to encourage it. That is what the following indicative passages clearly show, thus belying the irrational notion that the Christian faith has nothing to do with indications/evidence:
(Some notes follow each passage.)
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I
will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in
building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the
temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his
disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the
scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. 23 Now when he was in
Jesus spoke of His resurrection, the Scriptures spoke of His resurrection, and then after people saw Him resurrected, they believed in His words and in the Scriptures (v.22). First they saw and then they believed. No problem!
In v.23 we read that “many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.” Why would He perform miracles if faith was meant to be blind?
Joh 6:44-45 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
The underlined words reveal the deepest foundation of a Christian’s faith. The believer does not decide to believe without a reason, but only as The Heavenly Father “attracts” (a word which provides a clearer meaning of the original Greek) him/her with His teachings (via inner revelation) regarding His Person and will. That is the reason that many Christians often confess that they “just know” the truth, that they “just know” that God exists and that He is henceforth their Father! That inward information and thus, confirmation, although overshadowed at times (our struggle is to the contrary), is always there.
Joh 10:37-38 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
The Lord wanted people to see and think about His works and thus believe; not just believe without reason. He saw no reason why His works could not be used to encourage their faith. Do you want your faith to be encouraged by His works, some of which have already been done?
Joh 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
Through these words, Jesus actually certifies that the prophecies were given so that man would believe that He was indeed the Son of God, the Messiah, as he sees the words being fulfilled. It is definitely apparent that God knew (no kidding?) the importance of a faith that is founded on some data and facts. Scriptural prophecies therefore, were also meant to function as indications that attest to the rationality and mandate of our faith.
(ISV) Rom 1:19-20 For what can be known about God is plain (manifest) to them, because God himself has made it plain (manifest) to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been understood and observed by what he made, so that people are without excuse.
In v.19 we learn that what man needs in order to realize the existence of God and His divine traits has already been made manifest through all things within nature; everything cries out that there is a Wise, All-Powerful Creator God behind it! ©
This part in green following is taken from a later part of my book’s chapter. I analyze the whole segment in regards to the event with Thomas, but I will just provide this small part here.
(YLT) Joh 20:27 then he saith to Thomas, `Bring thy finger hither, and see my hands, and bring thy hand, and put it to my side, and become not unbelieving, but believing.'
Let’s zoom in though on one important detail. Jesus having said to him: “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side” immediately adds: “and become not unbelieving, but believing”! In other words: “With your eyes you see me in front of you and I give you the strongest indications that I Am who you see I Am! Don’t become unbelieving, but believing.” Can you see what is actually being said here? The shocking truth is that one can see Jesus Christ, touch Him with his/her hands, yet would still have to place their trust/faith in “the facts” they have before them!
So, based on the above passages the God of the Bible requires faith, that is based on revelation to begin with, not on nothing! Before that, He has no problems in assisting man in his quest in finding His existence; by the way existence and Person are two different things.
The insight that atheists never got the chance to learn from Christianity, is just too much, and this is a) partially why they come to so many wrong conclusions, and b) most Christians just give up on them or don’t deal with them at all. If atheists don’t repent, they will continue to pay for their arrogance, with ignorance.
-So, reality shows that MD’s view of faith is a) irrational b) unrealistic and of course c) un-Biblical. He continues:
3:13 (The caller says that you probably have faith in a lot of things and you answer with the following statement.)
“Like what?…I have reasonable expectations based on evidence. I have trust that has been earned.”
Comment: What a convenient play of words. Another part (last one) from my notes composing my book:
“©Another phrase an atheist (scientist or not) may use in order to avoid admitting their inevitable human connection to faith, is “Well, we have reasonable expectations based on evidence, not faith.” But do tell us, what is an “expectation”? (At this point notice the acrobatics that take place[].) Isn’t expectation, waiting in trust for something to show up, to come to you, to be made known, etc. It is. But how can you –I take it that you are a sane person- wait trusting that something will manifest itself and not have faith (based of course on some logical reason, indication, evidence) in that it will most likely do so?? YOU CAN’T PAL! YOU’RE JUST STALLING. Faith and trust, are in there very core the same. Don’t kid yourself and others while you’re at it. (The things atheists get away with.)©”
Therefore, this word play of yours Matt, is again wrong. You’re obviously trying to avoid the word faith because a) you have made up your own -convenient to atheism- definition of it, one that is unrealistic, irrational and b) because you were duped by atheists to believe that faith is exclusively a religious factor when the truth is far from it.
You’re building your way of life and others on sand. Let’s go on.
3:24 “Faith is the excuse people give for believing in something when they don’t have evidence.”
Comment: No. Faith, in the end, is just believing, regardless if one has evidence or not, or where he applies this inner process. When sane people don’t have evidence (either internal[private] or external), they can’t compose sane faith.
3:30 “If you come up with something that I believe that I don’t have evidence for, guess what’ll do? I’ll stop believing it. That’s the nature of a rational mind.”
Comment: MY POINT EXACTLY. A rational mind “believes” based on evidence!!!!! Put differently, a rational mind’s faith, is based on evidence! Faith, simply put, means believing.
3:45 (You say that when you were a Christian you tried to represent Christianity to unbelievers and you concluded…)
“And what I found, because I actually cared about whether or not my beliefs were true rather than whether they felt good, was that my beliefs were not justified.”
Comments: 1) I and many other Christians also actually care about whether or not our beliefs are true, and have come to opposite conclusions than yours. Therefore?
2) You caring about the truthfulness of your beliefs is something that honored you. I hope you still care about the truthfulness of your new beliefs. Time will tell. And you are right in implying that some Christians believe some things just because they feel good, regardless if they are true or not; they are a problem to Biblical Christianity.
But having said that, I am still wondering what actually is the case: You cared about whether or not your Christian beliefs were true, or you cared about showing that atheists beliefs were not true in order to “keep the faith” that yours were? There is a HUGE difference, one that needs special discernment to realize. Something that may help to clear that up, would be asking WHEN did you realize your beliefs “were not justified”. When you were a Christian or when you came in contact with atheists? Did you scrutinize your beliefs when you were a Christian in the same manner you scrutinized them when you weren’t. If not, this could be an indication that you actually didn’t care whether or not your Christian beliefs were really true, but only in “defending the faith” at any cost (it happens). If that was in reality the case when you were a Christian, then again it is manifested that:
a) your Christian beliefs (the ones you no longer hold) were like scattered pieces of a puzzle that other Christians had brain washed you into believing that they (the pieces) presented this and that. -If it’s any comfort to you, you were definitely not the exception, while at the same time, you were not the rule.
b) There must have been a strong drive for someone to act like this. Could it be that you just wanted to continue to feel you were in the midst of a brotherhood of truth and hence keeping the illusion alive that you are safe and having made the right choice (feeling good for your self), or could it be that you actually had an inner REVELATION that Jesus was indeed The Son of God?
3) No, some of your beliefs were not justified (like the ones above weren’t), because they were not derived from Biblical Christianity, but from your imagination or maybe from the imagination of your Baptist brethren (i.e. Calvinism is heresy by the way); a lot of false and correct teachings mixed together, is of course the case for probably all churches of all denominations, yet, there are still many Christians even in these churches that remain well rooted in Scripture.
4) I personally have NO reason any more to believe that you were ever in a position to present Biblical Christianity to anyone but maybe just on a very shallow level; repeating denominational lines, or using the Bible as a math teacher would, or repeating what Biblical apologists have found, or even understanding some issues in the Bible, is another thing. From my view, take it as a friendly heads up, you are not interpreting your self and past correctly. My opinion.
3:55 “Try as I might and pray as I could, no answer comes, no evidence is forthcoming, and when I talk to people about this, the only answer they ever offer is the one you did, which is well you gotta have faith.”
Comments: 1) So why would you be a model of acceptance, when there are MILLIONS who have prayed and claim they have received and do receive (me being one of them)?!? You can read books they’ve written or search on the internet to find them or “in disguise” go to any born again Christian church and ask to learn if their prayers are ever answered and how. I mean, why would you think that everyone will see you as the rule when it comes to prayer?? You know Christians are watching the show. I believe you’re getting ahead of yourself.
2) While it’s true that faith is something God looks for when someone is coming to him in prayer, there’s something way more impressive to God, it’s humility Matt. Humility is found in a man’s heart, not just in his words towards God in prayer. God sees the humility in the person’s heart when he -in an initial faith that He is there listening to him- approaches Him Who is the King of kings, the Lord of lords. If God does not see in the person a strong faith in that He will indeed respond to his prayer, guess what (?), He will still respond to this persons prayer, due to his humility, a humility though tested for its realness via time. This is my experience. Yet, after a time where God has manifested Himself in various ways to a person, him still lacking faith in prayer is a sign he is not progressing as he should in his walk with Christ and usually a life of sin is what drains a person (…) from the faith that he will receive from God after prayer.
I must say Matt, that as I searched your biography here and there, I am more convinced that you lived a life of lukewarmness while in the church than the opposite. Sure, maybe others would claim otherwise and you wouldn’t probably admit that to me, but by adding up what I have found, that’s what came up and it wasn’t hard. If I am right, I said IF, no, God would not answer your prayers because He saw a rebellious spirit in you. You might not like that and disagree with Him on it, BUT, He is not obligated in any way to reveal anything more to you than what He already had… Now if you managed to rationalize away His revelation to you, than too bad for you. However, I still have a hunch in me that you still have that revelation in you; could be wrong of course.
So, at this point in time (“Try as I might…”) in your life, you now probably have a faith that God is listening and you may even have humility in your heart (although based on my experience I doubt it), but there’s: a) disbelief in that God will answer and b) there is continuous sin in his life causing it.
1Jn 3:21 Beloved, if our heart does not accuse us, we have confidence with God. 22 And whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments, and we do the things pleasing before Him.
These issues should have been taken care of.
However, sometimes He still answers (!) the person’s prayer in His mercy, regardless of the status of his heart; this too is my experience as well. But, after a while, when the person does not turn from his sin, humility only in prayer and not in practice, will not be taken seriously by God; you on the other hand not knowing God and His ways, would misinterpret His silence and come to be aggravated.
See, we are talking about a real relationship, where naturally various factors come to play; it’s not math but a testing and learning process and that’s why it’s hard to explain some things to atheists.
–Atheists may not like God when reading above of His ways since God is usually portrayed –not by Scripture but by ignorant Christians- as a weak foolish pushover type of loving God who excuses everything, but it would be good if they tried to understand Him at least; this for a start would blow away atheistic rants about His Person. That’s why I am providing some insight for you here.
Can you understand that God has a whole different set of rules, which
you don’t even have to understand -He’d like it if you make a sincere effort to
though, as I and many Christians understand His ways- but just obey as HE asks
of you? He says don’t sin, then don’t sin, He says trust me when I say I want
what’s good for you and I will give it to you in time, then you must trust Him,
otherwise you’re saying He is unworthy of your trust, that He is a liar and you are slowly destroying your link to Him.
However, God knowing the mess Christians and so called Christians have created
(a mess prophesied in the following indicative passages: Mat 7:15-16, Acts
20:29-30, 1Ti 4:1, 2Ti 3:1-9, 2Pe 2:1-
I find it highly hypocritical when Christians usually don’t bring up the issue of a heart lacking faith in an answering God or a sinful heart in prayer, both of which closes God’s Hand and they don’t bring these factors up because they don’t want to seem judgmental and possibly offend the person who is talking to them about their prayer problems.
–The God of The Bible is not in the business of making brats, most churches though –partially conformed to the world- are.
I’m thinking, how can an atheist begin to grasp The Person of God and the multifold ways of interacting with His children, when they have NO understanding of Him AT ALL, but are infected with so many deceptions created by other ignorant atheists. But our hope shouldn’t die, since there are gems to be found among you. Maybe you are still one of them Matt and more prayer should be heard for your behalf. Maybe. (Don’t harden your heart any longer.)
4:15 “…because faith is not a virtue. Faith is gullibility.”
Comment: No. It is your made up insane-people-faith that gullible people do not pick on, which is not a virtue and is gullible. On the other hand, the faith that all the rest of us use, which is based on inner or/and outer evidence, is again neither a virtue nor a gullibility, but a necessity in all aspects of life. This universal rational faith does though promote virtue and wisdom, but that’s another story I already touched upon.
4:21 “It’s evidence that determines whether or not your perception of reality is reasonable and in conjunction with the world as it is.”
Comments: Not exactly, on two accounts.
1) In reality, it’s not evidence that determines anything, but we who determine what should be seen as reasonable evidence for an unseen reality. This is important to discern, since our understanding can be flawed or partial and many times is. This has again and again been proven to be true in science and in all courts of law where something was initially considered “evidence” to a particular claim, but was later proven not to be. I say this, to show that in reality evidence is what other people perceive as so, and at the end it is people who come to determine if our “perception of reality is reasonable and in conjunction with the world as it is”, but, people have been shown to make small and huge mistakes in their perception of things/reality. This being the case, we shouldn’t see evidence as something above people, above human perception, but under it. You here seem to put it on a very high pedestal and this can be deceiving, misleading.
2) People (or evidence if you prefer), cannot always determine if our “perception of reality is reasonable and in conjunction with the world as it is”, because as you know, people have preconceived notions of reality. If they don’t accept our take on reality, of course they will determine that our perception of it is unreasonable.
There are people worldwide that claim that they were visited by angelic or demonic entities. From a standard materialistic worldview this is something impossible, hence could not have happened, hence all these people have an unreasonable perception of the world, that is, they are from highly stupid, to insane. Based on that, to drive their point through, the materialists would ask for “evidence/proof” of the entities visit, but these entities never leave anything behind (why should they?), they come and they go and usually are said not to stay very longer than seconds or minutes and for the purpose of protecting/comforting or harming. So how could one prove such a visit? He can’t, and therefore is almost immediately condemned as being a liar or insane or confused. Now, if you yourself had such a visit, one you can’t prove to others, would you consider your perception as unreasonable? No, of course not! But what would you consider of their perception… of your perception? You would either be indifferent to it, or consider them to be ridiculously irrational, since although they can see that you are a sane, honest person, they still don’t believe you or don’t even at least just conclude “We don’t know.”, something that people with a religious worldview would easily say to be on the safe side and not overlook the person’s -claiming to have this experience- status, that is, their health and personality.
Some more revelations for some:
**Evidence is necessary when you want to prove something to others, it is not though necessary if you don’t want or need to prove something to anyone!
**Some evidence cannot be manifested to others; in the case of our example, your evidence would be your fresh and clear memory of the entity’s visit (not necessarily of all the details if the event took place long ago).
**What criteria some people use to judge how reasonable one’s perception of reality is, is many times subjective, hence may be invalid. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for materialists to give the thumbs up to anyone claiming to have lived something supernatural; most likely it will never happen.
**When one indeed has experienced something from the supernatural realm, do know that he/she has every right to claim he/she did, even if some atheists may say they don’t have that right; they should not neglect their experience/s FOR ANYONE. In my book, they’d be fools if they do.
So again, contrary to what MD says, it’s not always evidence that determines how reasonable our perception is, since a) evidence is not always around for others to find and discern our perception through it, b) even if there is evidence for something, depending on the type of evidence and one’s worldview, it can either be appreciated as real evidence or disregarded as fictitious!
5:02 “We will actually help the homeless without making them sit through a sermon first… we’re not holding their sandwich ransom in the Name of Jesus.”
Comment: What an exaggeration, actually a lie! Who does this?? Aren’t you misrepresenting the motives of Christians by insinuating that Christians do this? Yes, you are. The Christians’ motives is that every person gets to eat but also get a chance to learn about how they can be saved and if that means delaying his sandwich for ten minutes, well that’s just fine, better than fine! If I was in the homeless people’s shoes, knowing what I know now, I’d wish that they beat their message in my head till I get it and then give me the sandwich!
But do you really think that if someone shows up after the sermon, he will not be given to eat? Stop being silly Matt and creating hate towards Christians and making yourself to look like some sort of martyr. YOU’RE NOT. If you continue to do so, then don’t wonder or complain why some Christians don’t tolerate you or why they consider you the Devil or of the Devil. Which brings us to your next words.
6:18 “But I have a fiancé sitting in the room, who is essentially estranged from a good portion of their family, who consider me to be the devil.”
Comments: 1) So what? Someone else has a fiancé who is an atheist yet is not estranged by their Christian relatives or friends! Yes, there’s a world outside your world, so don’t try to make your world the rule, because it’s not.
2) Again I ask, what kind of Christians are you around?? They really consider you to be the Devil?? Don’t they read the Bible? -Sad for them, but they are definitely the exception and you most likely know that.
3) Being estranged by others, even loved ones, is something normal when you are considered devious, dangerous, lying, a destroyer of a reality they consider true and holy. So, why are you making your fiancé to be a victim? SHE’S NOT, neither are you, at least not in the consciences of your relatives! I mean, wouldn’t they reasonably estrange someone who they think is devious etc. thinking they might become their victims somehow?? Yes, they would.
Even if you both explained your atheistic positions to your relatives and supposedly even refuted theirs, if they still can’t come to an agreement with you, your relatives would still be justified in estranging you, since they know that you being around:
a) may influence them or others negatively,
b) be sin in the Eyes of God since they would directly or indirectly be harboring an enemy of the cross (which you in fact are, indirectly or not is irrelevant):
2Jn 1:9-11 Everyone transgressing and not abiding in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. The one abiding in the doctrine of Christ, this one has the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bear this doctrine, do not receive him into the house, and do not speak a greeting to him. 11 For the one speaking a greeting shares in his evil works.
Since this is something difficult for most atheists to understand and accept, I will ask: How would they “share in his evil works” just by greeting them? A greeting is a show of acceptance and tolerance, which promotes in the person’s conscience that “everything is ok, all is well”; this makes the person feel good, when –from a spiritual perspective- they shouldn’t feel good. If one is an enemy of Christianity, everything is definitely not ok to a Christian, and if the Christian wants to have a good conscience before God and even help him repent, in my opinion they should close the door to him for good so that he may realize that he has separated himself from the “light” and all who are under it, after of course they have shown to a reasonable degree why they consider him to be in the dark.
Think about that. I know MD will probably say that he doesn’t need this measure to make him think objectively concerning his research and finds, but I disagree knowing how complicated man’s heart is, how deceptive it can become.
The sad thing is, that although born again Christians are in the light, they have not trained themselves to properly convey their views and beliefs to atheists and this because their main concern is dealing with their personal walk with God and not in dealing with what others say about that walk and His Existence, which is a revealed fact to them. Of course, time calls upon it, that all Christians pick up their armour of truth in these last days, in order protect themselves and others from the final attacks of the Deceiver, maybe saving some from eternal hell.
Christian love has measures, and different manifestations because it’s wise love that considers God’s will and final judgement. Besides, Christians are always tested as to their loyalty to their God; those who want to follow Him, should not be under the same yoke with unbelievers, much more if they consider them openly enemies of God and His truths.
I am saying all this, not so you can agree, but that you Matt and your atheist listeners/viewers see the most probable rationale behind the choices of the Christians around you and that you will stop making them to be something like Christian monsters; in fact Matt, seeing your episodes you are the one who is acting like a monster since you are the one who is destroying reality and people’s faith and in a very frivolous manner in most if not all AE episodes. Jump up and down all you want, but don’t kid yourself, this IS your life now. Take a good look in the mirror. (You will see why I say this as I deal with your next unbelievable, not mistake, but lie.)
c) they also know that being around you may open doors to the spirit world if they believe that demons are behind your views and not just a misunderstanding/s. It’s somewhat normal, for many Christians to estrange a person who they can’t seem to help, whom they might be spiritually harmed by, and whom they consider in the company of demons..! No?
So, becoming an outcast due to your atheistic beliefs, of itself does not a priory justify your beliefs, nor your intentions, and may even in time come to show you are in fact the guilty one. Therefore, this comment of yours may mislead the viewer to think that Christianity is evil and that you and your fiancé are some Christians’ victims when that is clearly a lie. They have every reasonable right –based on what I have explained- to not continue being around you. You made a choice, suffer the consequences. Just as Christians made a choice and suffer theirs.
6:43 “..the absurdity of the divisive nature of Christianity in particular…….it breaks my heart, people who understand what love is, people who understand what morality is, people who actually understand reality, it is almost unbearable to watch the people that you love, be so absolutely duped into a divisive, hateful religion, that they think is not divisive, they think it’s inclusive and they think it’s positive…It kills me and it’s one of the reasons I do this, because I for 25 years believed this stuff. I am so happy, so happy, that my roommate is not destined for hell”
Comments: 1) Christianity has a divisive nature (meaning a disagreeing nature) when in the face of darkness and we’re proud of it!! You having got all your facts wrong, will not intimidate the light to be united with darkness. Christianity is light from heaven, so it simply figures it would divide itself from lies and deception. You not accepting this, is your issue, not ours.
2) It’s not just Christianity that has a divisive nature, but every human being on the planet does as well when it comes to certain issues. Normal people naturally, almost by instinct, disassociate themselves from uncomfortable situations, from people whom they don’t seem to get along with or with whom they disagree.
Divisiveness (not harmonizing) in itself is not wrong when applied to falsehood. I mean, doesn’t atheism ALWAYS DISAGREE with religions? So what’s the big deal? On the other hand Christians can -in wisdom, nor carelessly- “harmonize” with anything that promotes truth, love, justice, humility, etc..
3) Do you hear yourself Matt? What you are actually saying? Are you not being a monster, that you make Christians and Christianity to be?? No wonder you’re estranged by Christians! Their position towards you is normal, although their position should not have anything to do with hate towards you, but with love that prays and fasts for your soul, for your repentance.
I mean, you are the one who wants your viewers to believe that Christianity is actually… the Devil (Oh, the irony… just like others consider you to be)!! Christianity a hateful religion?? In what kind of Devil worshiping church did you grow up in?? I know you didn’t, but THAT’S HOW YOU MAKE IT SOUND!!!! What a HUGE UNBELIEVABLE LIE you’ve “duped” yourself and others into! Simple proof for anyone:
I challenge or/and dare anyone to go under cover and attend any Christian church for about a year regularly and see if they will find hate being cultivated or hateful people. While they’re there, they should read the NT and try to find actual hate towards people being taught therein. Would you request your viewers to take –in sincerity- place in such an experiment without indirectly yielding them towards negativity in their experiment? If they do take part in it Matt, they will from then realize how preposterous such a claim was. I mean, I’ve been around, and I NEVER saw anything close to what you say (“poisonous” and “destructive”)! Yes, I’ve seen stubborn people, deceived and deceptive people, con artists and in some rare occasions bad hearted people (just like many other people in society), but they –whether actual born again saved Christians or not (or not any longer)- were by far the exception to the rule and their ways are condemned by Biblical Christianity and by other Christians. Most real born again Christians are themselves in a struggle with sin and come to grow in sanctification and actually become more and more the salt and light of this world; it’s not easy, as Jesus said it wouldn’t be, but most go from grade to grade. Depending on what grade they’re in, that’s what you’ll get when interacting with them.
Another simple revelation here for many atheists out there that curiously seems to pass them by:
The Bible NOWHERE teaches that in the Christian Church, all believers will be saints, holy people, loving people, but that all should grow to be so if they want to One Day see The Lord! Practically this means that human weakness CANNOT annul the virtues taught in Christianity (N.T.). Therefore, hating the possible wrong doings of some “Christians”, CANNOT be the base in hating Christianity itself, just as Christians hating the wrong doings of all people CANNOT be the base for hating all people and all their beliefs.
4) When saying “this stuff” are you connecting it to Calvinism? If so, I feel for you even more. Calvinism is demonic, heresy and it promotes itself through the interweaving false teachings of the famous 5 point “T.U.L.I.P.” Calvinism can make a person hate God; anyone who does not know Scripture on the issue can –for a start- at least read Dave Hunt’s book “What love is this? - Calvinism’s misrepresentation of God”.
If in fact, there’s any Calvinistic connotation to this “destined for hell”, in the sense that your roommate was supposedly chosen by God to be thrown in hell without any saying in the matter, then you are admitting to being taught a demonic teaching. If it helps any, without getting “theological” I will just say that God had ordained two destination for mankind: 1) Heaven and 2) Hell. There is no such thing in the NT as God unjustly predestinating people for Heaven or Hell. People can go against God’s will for them (Luk 7:30) and all people can be destined by God to receive salvation as long as they humble themselves; this is what God wants (1’Ti 2:1-4, 2’Ti 2:24-26). That, in just a few words. The reader can find more on this demonic heresy of Calvinism on my other two articles on this same category: “Topics in English”. I hope this helps someone out there. –It is true though that apostle Paul is misunderstood by some, as Peter as well confirms in 2Pe 3:16.
5) a) When MD says that he “for 25 years believed this stuff,” if he is referring to God, Jesus and His gospel as well (factors that have unfortunately been interweaved with Calvinism) and that he doesn’t anymore, from a Christian’s view this just means his “stuff” was not rooted on rock, on a stable foundation, but on sand and that’s why the atheistic wind just came and blew it away. So in the end, what’s the actual beneficial significance behind his statement of his? There is none. I and millions of Christians believe “this (true) stuff” based on logic or/and evidence (leave out revelation).
b) By saying “25 years” he apparently means up till the age of about 34 when he became an atheist. This being the case, he “believed this stuff” from the age of 9 till the age of 33-34 (34-9=25). Now, doing the math in regards to some of the facts I found on the internet concerning his journey, my conclusion is that he could not have been a devote Christian disciple of Christ for 25 years (not even close) but what we call a “lukewarm” Christian. I mean, some time during the period from 1987 (at age 18) to 1995 (age 26) he had “drifted form church life” and obviously continued up to the year 2001 (only 2-3 years before he became an atheist) since it is then that he had “reconnected with faith” and “reread the Bible” (quotes are from one of the following links)! What was happening these 6 years in regards to the truths of the Bible and his relationship to God?? I can get into details here if needed, but for now, I leave the conclusions to you. Just read here concerning his journey (my emphasis):
“At age 18, Dillahunty wasn't
positive that God was calling him to the ministry. In 1987, he began an eight-year stint in the U.S. Navy, after
which he moved to
In 2001, after the tech bubble burst and he lost his job, he began to worry that God was punishing him for not entering ministry. With a sizable severance package, he put the job search on hold and threw himself into reconnecting with his faith. He reread the Bible, consumed volumes on religion and philosophy, debated with atheists on the Internet and began thinking about going to seminary.” (My comment: He did all this in 2-3 years before he became an atheist 2 years (about, I guess) before he showed up on the AE show, therefore from 2001-2003?)
Further down we read:
“He started talking to members of the Atheist Community after seeing the cable show. In 2005, he began doing a guest spot on the program. In January 2006, he took over as host.”
And elsewhere in his own words I found this (my emphasis):
“I was raised in a loving, Southern Baptist home and was a fundamentalist Christian for over 20 years. After 8 years in the Navy and several years in the hi-tech game, I set out to re-affirm my faith with designs on attending seminary and continuing with a life in the ministry. What began as an attempt to bolster my faith became a continuing investigation into more topics than I ever suspected I'd enjoy.”
(I’d like the reader to take note of the fact that I have asked Matt via email [March 1, 2012] to let me know if my math [given to him in detail based on his biography found here and there on the internet] on this “25 years” is correct or not and I have not yet received any answer [today is April 1, 2012] although I had told him that I would be waiting for him to let me know about it before I published this critique. So, I tried to avoid saying something about his “journey” that may not be accurate by asking him for his input, but I did not receive any. Anyway, life goes on and I told him I would not wait forever.)
So it seems we have another emotional statement by MD, that although may sound loud and impressive and can deceive some one, it’s void of substance if its purpose was to make the viewer think:
Well, if for 25 years MD believed this stuff, this means “this stuff” must have taken deep roots in him if he held on to them for 25 years and therefore he must have been real knowledgeable of the facts (from a Christian view point) regarding “this stuff” that he believed. But the facts seem to show that he really dug into Scripture for just two handful of years at most. And to me, if the above is accurate, he was like most Christians who read the Bible now and then, hear a lot of sermons, attend many Christian camps and live a lukewarm Christian life. Sure, they may even know a lot of things, but what counts is what relationship they really had with God all the time they were learning; a weak relationship (one in disobedience) will have an affect on what one accepts as being Biblical or not and why he accepts it. -I know these last two sentences are hard to grasp for most atheists, much more believe them, but this is my experience; Biblical truth is not independent from a relationship with God.
Let’s go on to see more of his statements.
7:55 “The division is entirely one sided. I didn’t end relationships when I became an atheist, Christians ended those relationships and it was because their particular religion cannot tolerate….(..MD says here that people wrote letters to him saying among other things…).. ‘We no longer can associate with you, you are of the Devil.”
----Talking about tolerance, without understanding that tolerance has levels and that intolerance does not equate hate, is again being ignorant and can deceive his viewers. Now, I may not tolerate someone for many reasons and to various degrees, but this doesn’t mean that I hate them and I want them dead! So, when you want to talk about tolerance Matt, it would be good to make a strong note of this to your listeners.
Now, no one tolerates everything and all the time, unless he’s a masochistic self-victim without an instinct of mental/emotional and physical preservation. Tolerance can be shown on some levels and some time, not always. This is common sense and practice among atheist and Christians alike.
----At the same time, me not tolerating something you do that I consider a sin, does not mean I hate you, it just means that I find it repulsive, sickening because I hate sin, as I hate my own sin as well. I will try to help you with it if I can (as I believe I am doing) and pray for you and apply my patience towards you, but having said that, my tolerance is not just about you, but also about me, others and -may I add- my God (as I explained above).
----If I feel –irrelevant of whether you consider it true or not- that my God does not want me to associate with you in particular, this being a matter of conscience then, justifies me not tolerating your presence near me. If though I sincerely realize that you showed me that my God does not exist or has no problem with me associating with you, then I would. If you don’t show me this, you’d be irrational in my eyes if you insist that I should associate with you.
----A quick look in the Internet can show how intolerant 95% atheists are towards Christians in particular and of religions in general; this is also my experience. They curse, insult, belittle them, and express and cultivate hate towards them. Atheists, by rule, are not the ones who can preach intolerance to others; so Matt, you should go preach tolerance to them first.
----If people around you consider you the Devil or of the Devil, why must they tolerate you? Doesn’t it sound like a stupid thing to do? Why should they tolerate you when they don’t like you (love is another thing) and for good reason!? You’re not just an atheist but someone in the business of making all people atheists, like the Devil does! And if you still insist they should associate with you, what do you mean exactly, under which circumstances? You can’t just expect tolerance on all levels! I mean, how rational would that be for a Christian when he believes that you are someone who is putting all your effort in destroying the -so to speak- pillars of Christianity, believing that you knowingly or in ignorance are doing the Devil’s work, to still want to associate with you? I don’t mean associate with you for the purpose of helping you come to your senses, I mean associate with you as a friend would. Why would he want to be a friend (being friendly is another thing) to someone who is the enemy of his experiences and truth, the enemy of people’s soul, and the enemy of his work for God maybe? Doesn’t this Christian have a conscience that you should try to understand and… tolerate?
You therefore generalizing about tolerance should say nothing to a thinking person, even if they’re not a Christian.
----Saying that Christian religion does not tolerate from it’s followers to associate, have some kind of relationship, with atheists, is not true. Everybody has heard at least of the “love your enemy” and in that frame association and tolerance come in.
While Christianity though expects from believers wise love and tolerance, however, it’s the strength of a Christian’s character that determines the degree of that tolerance (that’s yet another revelation to atheists); we are not all Jesus Christ so pardon us for some times being humanly sinful, although hopefully on the way to perfection. So don’t confuse Christianity’s teachings on tolerance, with the normal human weaknesses of some of its followers.
Having said that, I have another revelation for atheists: Christians, even not real born again Christians (!), are THE MOST TOLERABLE PEOPLE ON THE PLANET, many times to the point it becomes annoying and sinful!!!! It just blows my mind hearing MD say things like this!!!
----But, having said all that, I myself posted about 15 (numbered) messages on the Atheist Experience site under one of your videos (AE 721#) refuting it and they erased them all (I was addressing your comments! So it must have been you who removed them or with your approval. Correct me if I’m wrong.) telling me that if I want to write a book to do it on my own site! Where was your tolerance? You’re the one who cut yourself off from me, not me from you! As soon as some readers would see my posts, they (or/and you) would then reply under them and a discussion on my many objections would start, so where was the problem?.. The person who removed my posts, most likely felt threatened by my comments or felt that others would be influenced by them, so he became intolerant. So I personally have a reason (and not just one!..) to consider atheists hypocrites when talking about tolerance. Even on AE show, you cut people off (whether with good reason or without good reason). –Much more can be said on the applications of tolerance issue, but the above are enough.
8:30 “And I don’t know how you can fix a world, where people have been so convinced that they are doing the right thing out of compassion and love and to help people, when it is absolute poison…absolutely destructive… (continues)
Comment: This is a very pitiful deranged view. I mean, Christianity is “absolutely
poison” and “absolutely destructive???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
So what I and all Christians believe is poisonous and destructive?? Oh the
things you say and get away with! No further comment. One can read: “How
Christianity changed the world” (by Alvin J. Schimdt - Retired professor of
8:46….I wish everybody can go through what I have went through, so they can have a proper understanding of… ‘Wow! How the heck could I have believed those things that I believed and how much better life is when you wanna deal with reality on reality’s terms.’ ”
Comments: 1) Yeah well, “I –as well- wish everybody can go through what I (and millions of others throughout history) have went through, so they can have a proper understanding” as to what madness atheism is and what a divine thing Christianity is!! So what? This is just more loud talk coming from you. I challenge you to show that I am not “dealing with reality on reality’s terms”.
2) Many atheists that became Christians can claim the same thing having left the madness of atheism and dedicated their lives to Christ! Even many scientists are Christian and continue to deal with reality on reality’s terms. Therefore?
–Atheists listen to me: There is a reality that needs to be revealed to your spirit when it comes to Christianity; that’s the only way you will be able to fit all the pieces together. Don’t listen to Matt, and don’t listen to me, just find humility in your heart, bring it and leave it before The Creator to see, and let Him do the rest in His time and He will.
9:22 “And until you demonstrate that faith is a good thing, how could you possibly convince somebody?”
Comments: 1) In regards to the Christian faith, while it is God who convinces of this via inner revelation, I will boldly proclaim with every inch of my existence that faith in Christ is –for many reasons- a WONDERFUL thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2) In regards to general faith, the above segments from my book to be, clearly demonstrated that faith is not just “a good thing”, it is so necessary that no one can continue to live with out it!! Case closed, for any rational person.
9:25 “And by the way, how do you go about demonstrating faith is a good thing without evidence? It all comes back to reason and evidence.”
Comments: 1) Well -if I understand you correctly- how do you go about demonstrating that faith is a bad thing without evidence?? You have no evidence for such thing!!!!!!! And you know why? Because you use the word “faith” by itself. It must go to say you are talking about most people’s faith, that is, sane people’s faith, that is, the vast majority of people’s faith, which is ALWAYS either based on evidence or seeming evidence, NEVER on nothing!! So faith based on some rational reason is in fact –all these people will tell you- a good thing. Insane people’s faith, does not come into the picture. I find it amazingly absurd when you talk about the faith factor, which is actually used by all people (regardless of its subject), as it is the faith of the few insane people who don’t need reason or evidence to believe in something.
2) I have clearly demonstrated that faith is more than a very good thing (one taught from a very young age), that it is necessary (!!) for life, and IT WAS EASY as you probably, hopefully, realized.
3) Yes, it all comes back to reason and evidence, and as Christians we are GLAD it does!
My repeated conclusion: MD –like all atheists- has built a system of thought that prevents him from being rational when it comes to Christianity, while thinking that the Christians are the ones being irrational.
When he left Christianity, he may have known many things but NOTHING as he should about true Christianity (although he thinks he did and does), because God was not in the picture as He wanted to be, as He should have been (THIS IS THE KEY), and this most likely due to a –unfortunately normal- sinful life (something that MD may not admit to me, or maybe he would); this is my perspective based on my experience of fallen human nature, of the mistakes of Christian churches’ and of God’s way of doing things (revealed in Scripture and in my life).
Although my time is scarce, if MD wants, to make my point clearer regarding his flawed knowledge and logic concerning Christianity, he can provide for me any 10 minute segment of AE on youtube and I will make the same point again when I find the time.
If, you precious soul reading this, are an atheist, do not trust the logic of atheists, but gain sound Biblical knowledge and apply your sincere logic to it; you will be better off, than listening to them, unless you want to base your life and eternal life on a lie.
God have mercy on MD and all his viewers/listeners. My prayers in faith are for their best interest. All Christians, please do the same.
PS. 1) Some Christians not knowing something about God’s ways or plans, does not mean all Christians don’t. Especially atheists and agnostics, should keep this in mind and keep searching instead of becoming obnoxious at everyone’s expense. -If I was not allowed to be a Christian, I would NEVER choose to be an atheist or an agnostic.
2) Matt Dillahunty has been informed via email of this critique (on a segment of episode 696#) and of the others (AE episode 606# and 721#) on this website and of the probability of new refutations of AE episodes in the future, and that he is welcomed to reply to them considering of course the simple “principles of my website”. I have not yet got any response from him.
3) If he wants to respond to the above, he should first read my simple “Principles/rules of my website” but also let me know that he has done so the same day that he will send me his response.
 Why is it given to the simple minded? Because a) the message is simple and you have to be “simple”, uncomplicated, to get it; most of the times very knowledgeable people can not see simple things because confusion or their ego get in the way, b) God has a thing for the arrogant, proud, supposedly smart people, who use their brain to hide His Reality from themselves. Reminded of:
Rom 1:18-21 “For God's wrath is revealed from Heaven on all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, holding the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because the thing known of God is clearly known within them, for God revealed it to them. 20 For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things made, both His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse. 21 Because knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful. But they became vain in their reasonings, and their undiscerning heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became foolish.”
Of course, anyone who can consider and admit to Whom the observable nature actually points to and who can humble himself to the simple truth of the Gospel, is accepted and is given the same revelation (1Co 1:26 …there are not many wise according to flesh, nor many powerful, not many wellborn… // Therefore there are some). That’s why there are of course Christians who are not simple minded, but can apply highly complex thinking processes; they are not though “in Christ” because of their brains, but because they can humble their brain to a simple reality one bigger than their brains. Bottom line: His message is to the humble and humility as a characteristic is by rule found in simple minded people; smart people can apply it as well, but by rule don’t.
 By “revelation” I am referring of course to truths that man could not have known at the time he wrote about them.
 Being a dedicated Christian makes the difference when it comes to His truth; strangely many Christians are not aware of this and it is usually they who bring theological conflict within the Church.
 The similarity of the appearance of possible realities “E” and “F” may be due to a relation in essence between “E” and “F,” or it (the appearance of “E” and “F”) may just be a coincidence, having no relation in essence.
 Albert Einstein’s remark to Herman F. Mark, quoted in
Holton, G. 1986. The
Advancement of Science, and Its Burdens.
 The truth is, Christians not realizing how their faith is connected to an initial divine revelation and what Scripture says about it, saying things like “I just believe it”, have passed on confusion among atheists and Christians (to older and sadly to younger generations) and this has in a boomerang effect (we reap what we sow, actually, all people reap what we sow / a sad fact we must awake to) brought about a whole bunch of mistakes, lies, deception, foolish talk regarding faith.