The Self-Debunkers scream “Ad hominem!” whenever we personalize our responses to them. But these personalized responses of ours are unavoidable because they continue to make themselves the example. As Steve notes, “Both he [John Loftus] and Exbeliever advertise their Christian background, but then take exception to ‘personal attacks.’ But if they are going to mount an ad hominem defense of atheism, then they leave themselves open to an ad hominem rebuttal of atheism. Add to that Exbeliever’s resort to innuendo. They’re the ones who choose to frame and preface so much of their own argument in anecdotal and autobiographical terms.” Well, exbeliever has given us the most personal of all posts yet, “Would I Ever Follow the Christian God Again?,” where he tells us that even if the Christian worldview were proven to be true, he would reject the gospel. Such statements, Scripturally speaking, should not surprise us. In fact, exbeliever states that such an action on his part would simply exemplify Paul’s statements in Romans 1:18ff. As Christians, we might be surprised that someone would willingly place himself under the wrath of God. But we must remember that before our regeneration, that was us (”we all …were by nature children of wrath” [Eph 2:3]). So while exbeliever might dislike the fact that I am personally responding to his personal statements (statements that display his heart of stone’s hatred for his Creator), I hope that he recognizes that I realize that apart from the grace of God, that was me.
In the comments section of Matthew’s introductory post, Matthew wrote:
[quote]”I would ask that you not think that if all of freethinking skepticism was in error and that the Bible was shown to be inerrant and inspired that I would become a Christian. I find the Christian faith to be almost deathly repugnant these days and I would rather take my own life than let the Christian deity have it.”[/quote]
In response, albert wrote:
[quote]”In other words he would reject, rebel against, ignore etc reality’.”[/quote]
Exbeliever is about to attempt to justify Matthew’s statements. We must remember, from here foreward, that exbeliever is giving us a hypothetical situation, which assumes that the Christian God exists. In other words, he is telling us that if the God of the Bible and Scripture as infallible revelation were both absolutely proven to be true, this is how he would react.
Let’s say that you are a Christian and this strange guy comes into your town and tells you that God wants you to go and kill your atheistic neighbor, his wife, 9-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter, bunny rabbit, cat, and 3 dogs.
Let’s say that you were skeptical, but then proved absolutely that it was, in fact, God ordering you to do this (For you cessationists, let’s just assume this is possible just as it was “back in the day”). I don’t know how you proved it, but you did beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Would you obey that command of God that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt to be true?
Do you get this? Do you see what exbeliever is appealing to? Exbeliever even uses the phrase “beyond a shadow of a doubt.” In other words, God’s existence and his decree are both clearly known. But who wants to kill their neighbor’s bunny rabbit? I sure don’t. What is exbeliever appealing to? He is appealing to a supposed morality within the human. The human becomes, therefore, above God. Man is, then, more moral than the One on whom morality is based, according to exbeliever. But we must remember that the existence and revelation of the Christian God has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. In Christianity, morality is objective because it is based upon the eternal nature of God. Then on what objective basis of morality would I oppose the command of God? The answer is “none.” The answer is that my objection to the commands of God is simply sin. While I might feel that I myself am morally justified, such a feeling would be irrational, subjective, and sinful, and especially deceptive. So what is exbeliever proving? That to reject the commands of God is irrational, subjective, and sinful? Well, the Bible has already shown us that. It was not rational for Eve to believe the lies of Satan instead of the commands of God. It isn’t rational for exbeliever to make these statements. That is because sin is irrational. Sin is moronic. Sin is, according to Paul, intellectual feces (Phil 3:8).
Personally, I would tell God to go **** himself and damn me to hell. I would not do something so blatantly evil just because a god told me to (just like I wouldn’t go kill a bunch of Iraqis just because a president told me to).
“So blatantly evil”? Once again, the creature makes himself of higher morality than the one on whom morality is based. Why is it “blatantly evil”? Because you said so? Exbeliever is just telling us that even if the Christian worldview were proven to be true, he would irrationally, stubornly, and deceptively hold onto his atheistic presuppositions. He would sit himself in the corner and pretend that even though it has been proven to be true, it is really untrue and he was right all along. This, folks, is the irrationality of sin.
We should also note that exbeliever has already abandoned the internal critique. This post was, in effect, an attempt at an internal critique, for it started with the assumption that the worldview is true and then proceeds to critique the statements of the worldview. But, in assuming that the Christian worldview is true, exbeliever does not use the same assumptions as the Christian worldview. The Bible does not call the just taking of the life of a sinner “evil.” Why does exbeliever call it evil? Because he does? Ultimately, exbeliever is telling us “The Christian God is immoral, even though morality in the Christian worldview is based upon him, because I think he is immoral.” Hasn’t God made mince meat out of the thinking of the world?
I think this is what Matthew is saying (and if he isn’t, then I am saying it). I (we?) find Christianity so morally reprehensible (e.g. it degrades women, robs homosexuals of the joy of their lover, celebrates murder for offenses, etc.), that I would not follow it even if I knew it was the case.
Why is Christianity morally reprehensible? Because of your atheistic presuppositions? But I thought that the premise was that the Christian worldview is true and that your presuppositions are deceptive lies…
This is certainly an entertaining list:
How so? I do not find this in the Bible. I find that God made a man a certain way, and that God made a woman a certain way. I find that he gave a woman a certain role, and that he gave a man a certain role. I find that the notion that the Bible “degrades women” because it does not allow women to have the role of a man is just as ridiculous as stating that the Bible “degrades men” because it does not allow them to have the role of bearing a child.
But where did you get the word “degrade”? To “degrade” is to disallow someone the privileges he is rightfully owed. But who is rightfully owed anything apart from what God grants? Perhaps exbeliever thinks that women are rightfully owed the role of a man and of a father. Perhaps exbeliever thinks that men are rightfully owed the role of child bearing and mothering. But who is exbeliever? All exbeliever is telling us is that even if Christianity is proven to be true, he would continue and persist in his irrational deceptions. That, my friends, is what the Bible calls foolishness.
“robs homosexuals of the joy of their lover”
This isn’t what the Bible states (and remember that the Bible has proven to be true). The Bible states that homosexuality is a sin, and that no joy can be found in sin. It states that satisfaction and joy come from God alone, and the only way that we can experience this joy is to experience him, apart from our sin. So the Bible, which has been proven to be true, says that homosexuality is not joyful. And exbeliever, who has been proven to be false, says it is. Who do think is going to win?
“celebrates murder for offenses”
Notice his use of the word “murder.” But what is “murder”? Murder is the unjust taking of another person’s life, i.e., killing someone who is innocent. But exbeliever, in the same sentence, says that this is “murder” for offenses. That is nothing but a contradiction. If it is “murder” for offenses then it is not “murder.” It is not an unjust killing, but a just one. The sinfully deceived mind will always debunk itself.
But don’t read this to mean that I refuse to be convinced of the “truth” of Christianity. If it can be proven that Christianity is true, I’ll shout it from the roof tops. My sermon title, however, would be, “There is a Real Son of a Bitch in Charge of This Universe; Run for Your Lives!”
So after the gospel has been proven to be true, exbeliever will reject it and bring the wrath of God upon himself. Surprising? Of course not.
But here is the entertaining part. In all of this, exbeliever is not simply attempting to tell us that he would be irrational and reject that which has been rationally proven. No, that is not the purpose of this post of his. Exbeliever wants to come out looking like the good guy. He wants us to think he is a noble hero who has over thrown the rule of a viscious tyrant. Exbeliever is attempting to portray himself as a William Wallace or a Patrick Henry, willing to die for the cause of liberty. In the end, exbeliever wants us to think that he is the good guy and that God is the bad guy. He is the just one; God is the unjust one. He is the one upholding good and opposing evil; God is the one commanding evil. But we simply don’t have this here. We have an immutable God who is the very standard of justice, and we have a sinful creature calling God’s justice wrong. Exbeliever knows that this is the case, but he still thinks that he is the hero here. He still thinks that even though God is eternal and immutable, even though “all his works are right and his ways are just” (Dan 4:37), God is the bad guy, making us submit to his arbitrary commands.
This is stupid. That is all that can really be said. It is foolish. Exbeliever might call these ad hominem attacks, but he is the one who portrayed himself as the knight in shining armor, rejecting rationality because he is more rational than rationality itself. While truth has been proclaimed as truth, his own feelings and emotions (these, we should add, that God gave him) are truer than truth. This is what happens to the deceived and depraved mind.
And, yes, this sounds Romans 1-ish, but why? Is it because Paul really knew the heart of unbelievers or is it because my reaction is how most people would react (and did react) to such an evil idea of God, and Paul only “predicted” how people should act when confronted by this Christian god? I think Paul probably heard moral people everywhere reject this vile picture of a god, and then wrote his little letter so that it sounded like their rejection was simply the mark of an unregenerate person, not the only morally good decision a person could make when faced with that kind of god. Chicken or egg? “Prediction” or right reaction?
There is so much here that space wouldn’t possibly permit, and there is so much that has already been refuted:
1. Exbeliever briefly leaves the premise of “The Bible is true” in order to speculate about Paul’s intentions in righting Romans 1, and, more specifically, the Holy Spirit’s intentions. Does exbeliever really think that the Holy Spirit breathed out Romans 1 because he feared that irrational creatures would reject the commands of God out of their own sinfulness? Remember, this is the same Spirit who performs the work of regeneration. Surely (again, given the premise that the Christian worldview is true), the Holy Spirit did not breath our Romans 1 in fear that some sinners whom the Father had elected to be saved would resist his monergistic work of regeneration!
2. Exbeliever alludes to “such an evil idea of God.” “Evil”? On whose standards? God’s? The Bibles? Pauls? No, exbeliever is talking about his. But of course, this is ok, because exbeliever is our knight in shining armor. His heroic morality can trump even God’s.
3. The sentence, “I think Paul probably heard moral people everywhere reject this vile picture of a god” is either highly humorous or highly irrelevant. Where are we? Have we completely abandoned the premise that Christianity is true? Have we completely abandoned the internal critique? Is this just an aside? If exbeliever is making this statement outside of the premise (mainly, that Paul was penning the very words of God), then this statement is altogether irrelevant to the rest of the discussion. But there is another option, one that cannot be typed with a completely straight face. Perhaps exbeliever is telling us that Paul himself, assuming the Christian worldview to be correct, assuming all of the Christian presuppositions, somehow thought that he was penning an “evil” portrait of God! How absurd! First of all, if Paul was a Christian (and yes, he was), he would have held the Biblical assumptions concerning the immutable justice of God, the sinfulness of man, etc. Paul would have a correct theology, and by consequence, a correct anthropology and harmatology. Certainly Paul, with these presuppositions, would not even begin to think these things. But of course, the knight in shining armor has a better moral standard than Paul, for he even has a better moral standard than the God of the universe who has been proven to exist. Is this really what atheism has to offer? I think we can label the notion that atheism is a rational worldview as “Officially Debunked.”
So, to answer my question above, “No, I would not worship the Christian God I believe is presented in the Bible even if I knew he truly existed.” I could believe he existed, but I would not follow him.
Remember, the scenario here is that the Bible is true; sin is irrational, and obedience in worship is both satisfying and rational. Because the Bible is true, its teaching that to reject God is irrational is true as well. Therefore, to reject God would be, absolutely and definitionally, irrational. But exbeliever persistently chooses the irrational over the rational, the false over the true, the mythical over the logical. If atheists would act so in such a situation, how can we possibly trust them to be at all rational today?
Or, if I were shown that my interpretation of the Christian God is wrong and that he is actually a good being AND that he actually existed AND that there is a good reason that the world is in the messed up state that it is in, then I would have no problem worshipping that God. I would re-join the ministry!
This makes no sense with the rest of the post. I thought the premise was that the Bible is true! And the Bible states that God is good! Therefore, God is good! So why is exbeliever talking about “if I were shown….that he is actually a good being”? Well, I suppose that he means good according to the standards of the knight in shining armor. But what “good” is this? And how does this remain with the premise that Christianity is true, that morality and “goodness” are defined by the very being of God?
As it stands, however, I find the Christian God morally reprehensible and the state of the world such that it does not appear to be in the hands of any powerful, wise god. I would gladly accept any evidence to the contrary.
As it stands, however, I find the notion that the atheistic worldview is “rational” to be persistently deceptive and that the state of the minds of atheists as such that they do not appear to be the minds any rational, logical being. I would gladly accept any evidence to the contrary.
Though rulers rise against him, the King of Heaven laughs. He rebukes them in his anger, and terrifies them in his wrath (Psalm 2:1-5).