Abandon All Fear

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Posts Tagged ‘bible’

[Whodunnit Pt. 2] Let Him Have It…

Posted by Lex Fear on June 10, 2009

Back in February I had a long comment discussion with an atheist called Postsimian which started on a post at The Friendly Atheist, but went off topic so I brought it here.

Whilst not intended, this makes an excellent follow-up to that post – Killing In The Name Of…

The gist of the discussion was one of hermeneutics. Postsimian argued that ‘if’ there was a God, he was evil, because of the certain events and commands given by God in the Old Testament, taken literally. My argument was that, as well as the need for proper exegetical context, there is a need for a greater perspective on what is written in the OT, which relies heavily on if we deem the events real or made-up.

The crux of the matter was whether God, assumedly being good, could be capable of evil – i.e. killing seemingly innocent people. Postsimians study of the OT led him to conclude that even if God is good, he is capable of evil, whereas my study of the bible leads me to conclude that certain acts of God which seem wrong on the face of it, are not when understood in context.

It later occured to me that this argument is demonstrated aptly in a film I watched years ago based on the true story of Derek Bentley called Let Him Have It. The premise of the film is of a robbery which goes disasterously wrong. During the attempted arrest, brain-damaged Bentley yells out to his younger accomplice “Let him have it” – referring to the gun, and subsequently his accomplice, Christopher Craig, shoots the policeman. For those not in the know, “Let him have it” used to be a turn of phrase in the UK for giving the go-ahead to attack someone. The question is: Did Bentley order Craig to hand over the gun, or fire it at the copper?

The real-life case, in actual fact, did not hinge upon these words, but it does prove useful for this exercise. For the police, by yelling “let him have it” Bentley was giving the order to shoot, and was therefore intending evil, and rightly deserved the death penalty. For the defence, Bentley was ordering Craig to hand over the gun and surrender.

The fact is, without any supporting evidence apart from the reading of Bentleys words, your view of Bentleys guilt will be based on your own preconceptions and bias. If you were not British and raised in the time of the 50’s you may well think that Bentley ordered Craig to surrender. However, if you were around at the time, you may have thought differently.

By now you know what I’m getting at. This is nearly the same problem when it comes to reading biblical texts literally. No, God is not going around in the OT ordering people to shoot other people, but there are times when he has commanded specific instructions and left it for his people to interpret and then act, or intercede.

More and more, it seems to me that what is not written in the OT scriptures, is more important than what is actually written.

In the end, Postsimian may be right after all about one thing, in some cases it seems like it is a mere subtle nuance. However, I must counterbalance this with the truth that in every instance of the OT where God orders the destruction of human life, as the law required (just like the American justice system), when people either interceded or pleaded for mercy, they were shown mercy.

This is why if you are going to honestly critique the Old Testament, you cannot read it literally. You need to be prepared to study a bit of history and culture at the same time. It is also why I feel I cannot emphasise enough, that God is not looking for people to carry out judgement (under the law), but instead he is looking for people to intercede and carry out mercy and forgiveness (when the law has been broken).

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Posted in Apologetics, Justice & Mercy, Laymans Theology, Xianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Soul Searching] Vapours

Posted by Lex Fear on May 25, 2009

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”

What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.

What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.

I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.

The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

Solomon, Ecclesiastes

A while ago I was discussing politics and the recession with a friend. I was doing what I considered my dutiful task of informing him of how all the decisions of Gordon Brown, since ZaNuLabour rose to power 12 years ago, have led to the bubble in house prices and the subsequent eonomic collapse. But my friend then asked a pertinent question which caused me to consider my very purpose.

If the Conservatives had been in power, would things have been different?

And the very truthful answer to that is, No.

It’s not just a political thing, it’s not just that ZaNuLabour stole Tory policies. It’s the old cliche that absolute power corrupts absolutely – greed, extravagance, gluttony, apathy,  envy, pride and anger. What have we not seen in recent days? There are very few people – and politicians are people – who did not fall into the trap of thinking the good times were never going to end. Everyone was happy to turn a blind eye to the injustices, to the corruption, the expense claims whilst the money kept rolling and the price of their house kept rising.

What would have been different? Nothing. And it’s this answer which has formulated my cynicism and means I will never have absolute faith in politics.

That’s not to say I don’t believe there are individuals who appear at times who see all this and really do want to change the system, but all too often they either fall to the dark side, or they find themselves being chewed up and spat out by a great machine which is fueled by the ignorance of man.

You think our politicians have learned from this boom and bust? You think things will be difference because they are putting rules in place to stop it happening again? Let me tell you that most of them don’t even know how to prevent it, or don’t really care, and of those rules they do make… they will be ignored by future generations just as we have ignored the rules and the lessons of the past.

So why bother even blogging about this, why bother discussing it? The most reward that any of us can get is the option to say “I told you so”, because we all lose. The truth about teamwork is that the team moves forward at the pace of it’s slowest member, and the same is true of humanity. For all our scientific innovations and discoveries, we cannot solve the problem sin. When I use this word, sin, I refer to human failings, things which are inherent in our nature which cause evil – deceit, selfishness, murder, greed, sexual desires, war… but instead of acknowledging these we redefine them. (The idea that someone would have sexual relations with a 10 year old disgusts us and strikes us as immoral, but the boundaries of sexual morality are being increasingly eroded. As adults fight for more sexual freedoms there is nothing to stop this becoming socially acceptible – all that’s needed is to redefine what constitutes being an adult. For instance at 10 years old in England, you can already be tried for a crime as an adult – why can’t you be considered sexually aware?)

But I digress. I have questioned why I should rail against something which cannot and will not be stopped as long as there is an unsanctified human race. A human race of which 1/3 does not even acknowledge God’s existance let alone as Lord. (And of those that do acknowledge and worship God, how many of them are truly taking a stand against corruption and not partaking in it?)

The truth is, I have lost the drive to blog about politics and world affairs, to question the system. I still hold strong political beliefs but since there is no longer any difference between man and pig, I no longer see a purpose in it.

Instead, I’ve taken some time to reflect on blogging, and I am going to go back to my roots in blogging about Christianity and experience – that means I’m still going to post the odd consumer post but I see my primary purpose in apologetics.

It may be something to do with having made my peace with the church.. or at least the church I now attend. It may be something to do with reading and listening to the arguments of atheists more.. which provides me a source of great mirth and sometimes deep thought.

Of course my co-author Hudson has a lot to say about politics and anyone else can be free to join and write for AaF about these topics, but I have said enough, and will now focus on something which is close to my heart.. and I guess, in that way, I’m being true to the subjects I’ve always posted on.. those that are important issues for me.

Posted in Absolute Power, Anecdotes, Apologetics, Bollotics, Financial Terrorism, Metablog, Morals & Ethics, Realpolitik | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

[Whodunnit] Killing In The Name Of…

Posted by Lex Fear on February 26, 2009

I have been debating an atheist called postsimian over at The Friendly Atheist but it’s getting far too long and off topic now so I’ve decided to post a response back here.

I said I’d respond if PS persuaded me of his/her arguments and after reading his/her last response there are a couple of things I do have to concede. Yep shock horror.

If you want to follow the debate from the beginning, head over and read the comments on Hermant’s post: Foxhole Atheist Jeremy Hall Tells His Story.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Laymans Theology, Morals & Ethics, The Religious Wrong | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

[Atheism] Probably

Posted by Lex Fear on February 15, 2009

I was really happy to see the atheist bus campaign get into full swing. God Bless those atheists, another medium for which they can use to rage against their parents.

I have purposefully held off from writing about it until now, after the dust has settled and things can be fully absorbed.

I’ll start by saying I also found myself disappointed by the weakness of the message. I would much preferred something more assertive, more disdainful of religion. Instead we get probably.

Funnily enough all sorts of speculation took place in the atheist blogosphere and fora as to why include the word. There were some rather feeble apologetics using such idioms as “intellectually honest”.

Since I had followed this saga from it’s inception and was following the commentary at The Friendly Atheist I thought I should help bring clarity to the perception of the ‘Christian response’ as well as information as to how probably got in there:

1) British Christians views on the signs range from ‘Meh’ to ‘Great! More opportunities to talk about God”.

The fact is the Christian religion is led by a man who was violently, brutally killed as a convicted criminal – Call it insane if you will but most genuine Christians see persecution in any form as a privelege and opportunity to stand with Christ and spread the gospel!

Through history, the church has done better in times of persecution and it will always.

2) There are a few who are weak in faith and perhaps new Christians, or they have lost their way and these will protest.. and when they do the media will always give them the microphone to broadcast their ignorance.

But so far the worst response I’ve heard from any Christian is that it’s silly. That’s it.

3) I personally wish that they had dropped the ‘probably’ and gone for something much stronger. I wish it DID say “THERE IS NO GOD”.. with it the slogan is very poor and really isn’t worthy to be considered an attack or something like that. (Also the excuse given to include “probably” has to be the weakest excuse I have ever heard- very stupid)

The proposer of this campaign – a Grauniad journalist – originally gave the reason that she had seen ‘probably’ used in another ad (see Carlsberg) and assumed it was for legal reasons. It’s not, it’s a nod to the British talent for understatement. Silly woman!

Must try harder.

Which was quickly refuted by a commenter called Aj:

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) advised her that “the inclusion of the word ‘probably’ makes it less likely to cause offence, and therefore be in breach of the Advertising Code.”

Lots of people are getting this wrong, so here’s a quote. Lots of atheists don’t believe “there is no god”, they can only agree with statements like “there is probably no god, although I and others prefer “almost certainly” as it’s more accurate.

He went on to include a quote from Ariane Sherine (from a later article).

There’s another reason I’m keen on the “probably”: it means the slogan is more accurate, as even though there’s no scientific evidence at all for God’s existence, it’s also impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist (or that anything doesn’t).

Oh dear, how intellectually dishonest. He left me no choice but to quote the original article by Sherine in response:

“After that, I Googled Carlsberg and found this marketing site, which suggests that using the word “probably” at the start of the ad saved Carlsberg from litigation.” – Ariane Sherine, Atheists – Gimme Five, 20/06/08

Long before the article you quoted. They’ve given all manner of excuses since then.

And the Carlsberg Ad:

http://www.brandrepublic.com/Campaign/News/472122/Scandinavia-Great-nordic-conquerors/

“According to Jakob Knudsen, Carlsberg’s international brand director: “The Scandinavian understated sense of humour is an integral part of the brand’s DNA. If you take other premium Scandinavian brands such as Bang & Olufsen, they won’t tell you they’re the best. Instead, they let the quality speak for itself.”

Only America would produce, “King of Beers” or “World’s Finest” and market their products as the biggest, best, favourite, fastest, greatest etc…

This advertising (up until recently perhaps) would never work in the UK, but picture 2 blokes in a pub, one declares “This is the best lager I’ve ever tasted!”, the other, being British is likely to respond “I don’t think so, I think I’ve tasted better.” But if the first was to casually mention “This is probably the best lager I’ve ever tasted” then the other may likely agree with him “Probably.”

Typical MSM journalist, gets her research from an internet forum rather than the source.

Oddly, no-one then seemed interesting in arguing the point with me and just ignored my second comment completely. Not what you would expect from intellectually honest people but there you go.

Here’s a great quote from Lib Dem MP, Martin Turner:

Imagine that you saw any of the following advertisements:
“The speed camera probably isn’t loaded”
“You probably won’t die in a car crash”
“You probably did turn off the gas”
Telling someone that something probably won’t happen doesn’t stop them worrying about it. Quite the contrary. And, if the millions of lottery ticket buyers are anything to go by, telling someone that something they very much hope for is unlikely to happen does nothing to stop them hoping.
If “there’s probably no God” is the strongest statement that, on reflection, atheists dare to make in public, then they have moved a long way from the certainties implied in their name.

But my favourite quote on worry has to this:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – Jesus

As well as beating The Grauniad to the post by almost 2000 years, there’s something rather more elegant, meaningful and poetic than “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, don’t you think (if you are being intellectually honest)?

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Posted in Apologetics, Doublespeak, Doublethink, Duh!, Laymans Theology, Londonland, Minitruth, Opinion, Propaganda, Quoteyness, The Love of Libel, Uncircumcised Philistines, V for Vendetta, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Bugaboos] 20 Reasons To Abandon Christianity… And Every Reason To Take It Up Again

Posted by Lex Fear on January 25, 2009

From Pass_the_Aura – 20 Reasons to Abandon a Bugaboo:

6. Christianity breeds authoritarianism. … If your nonintrusive beliefs or actions are not in accord with Christian “morality,” you can bet that Christians will feel completely justified—not to mention righteous—in poking their noses (often in the form of state police agencies) into your private life.

  • But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25–28 NKJV)
  • [Jesus speaking] “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37 NIV)
  • “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Romans 2:1 ESV)

I’m coming to the same realisation that many people reject God based on characterisation are not actually rejecting the God described in the bible, or the God I have come to know and love.

Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family. – Proverbs (Message)

If you hate these things, you and God may have a lot more in common than you think.

Last year Pass_the_Aura did an excellent YouTube response to all the atheists who thought they were committing the ultimate unforgivable sin, see my post here:

Absolutely Unforgiveable?

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Posted in Apologetics, Blogidarity, Laymans Theology, Quoteyness | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

[Big Bad Wolf] Biblical Indeceny

Posted by Lex Fear on July 6, 2007

Reports that the bible had been rated over 18 adults only due to its content were eventually proved false, however it has provoked some thought and debate.

I remember several years ago hearing a pastors wife remark to a youth group that she would not watch an 18 rated movie and would forbid her children from watching one. I remember the time because I had watched many 18+ movies before I reached my 18th birthday, and saw nothing wrong with this.

When I consider the bible, if they ever made a true to the letter film version it would probably get an unclassified rating and be banned. After all the Holy Book is full of detailed accounts of murder, rape, incest, war, cannibalism, bestiality, explicit sexual references, animal sacrifice, human sacrifice, horror, genocide, slavery, death and execution.

So I usually find it ironic when Christians talk about censorship. I found it ironic when people complained about the amount of blood and violence in The Passion.

So why do we try to protect children from the truth? Why do we make up lies like Santa Claus, insulate them with mindless children’s programs and modify true stories by excluding the bad parts?

I think the Victorians had it right with Grimm Fairytales and Nursery Ryhmes. They seemed to strike the balance between having fun, playing safe but also revealing the darker side of an exciting and enchanting world: If you play out in the forest, watchout for the big bad wolf.

Christians need to rethink censorship and what truths and fairytales they choose to spin to their children, if they really want their children to be able to interact with and be a light to a fallen world. By gently exposing them to the truth and the fallen nature of man, they will not be shocked, surprised or seduced later in life by some of the evils they are bound to encounter.

Posted in Churchianity, Dark Side of the Light, Metablog, Morals & Ethics, The Purpose Missing Church | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Asinine] The Dangers of Literal Interpretation of the Bible

Posted by Lex Fear on July 3, 2007

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Braaaaaaiiiiiinss…” Matthew 70AD

…Sorry.

Posted in Dark Side of the Light, Ha-has, Laymans Theology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Churchianity] Focus on Issues

Posted by Lex Fear on June 24, 2007

5 Issues the church is too concerned about

CULTURE VULTURE: The Environment. Sure we should be smart and not drop litter, we should do what we can to reduce our individual waste… but this is one of the latest examples of the church jumping on a cultural bandwagon rather than seeking to make a difference in peoples lives. Plus, if more people did their research, they might discover that there’s not much we can do about global warming, it may even be part of God’s design for the planet. Have you noticed how nature is always moving and shifting through various seasons? It’s is only human beings who want to stay in place, prevent change and establish foundations. Not that, that is bad, but we should realise nature does not ask our permission before it changes.

BIBLE BASHING: Gay Rights. Of course, as a Christian if I was to have sex with man, I would be committing a sin. However this would also be the case if I had sex with a prostitute. And being a married Christian, if I was to have sex with another woman other than my wife, I would also be committing a sin. Why does the church focus on one sexual sin when protesting moral decline? How many Christians are divorced and remarried? Aah but there’s extenuating circumstances… violent spouses etc… we should be sensitive and understanding. Then likewise, we should be sensitive and understanding to homosexuals. It should also be noted that where God is concerned, it is only the church that should be subject to this kind of moral law. But the predominant question is this: Why shouldn’t homosexuals be free from prejudice?

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Posted in Bad Company, Churchianity, Civil Disobedience, Copywrong, Dark Side of the Light, Holding Actions, Laymans Theology, Morals & Ethics, Of The World But Not In It, Open Source, Pharisees, Predatory Systems, Profiteering, Protest, Technology, The Purpose Missing Church, The Religious Wrong, Wealth Creation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Ulterior Verse of the Day] Looking for Borders of Their Own

Posted by Lex Fear on June 10, 2007

“And they admitted that illegal aliens and strangers didn’t belong in their country. People who say such things show that they are happy with the country God has given them to protect. If they had been thinking of leaving their country, they would have been wrong. Instead, they were happy in the country they were born in. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared borders for them to defend.” – Epistle to the Hebrews Ch. 11

Apparently the Devil is seeking to undermine God’s country. And when I say God’s country, I’m obviously talking about America of course.

America is the place God has prepared for us Christians to go when we die, except we better have our passports and visas ready, or we’re all going to Hell with Europe instead.

That was all according to Utah Republican County District Chairman Don Larsen a couple of months ago. Unfortunately the original article has been removed from The Salt Lake Tribune but the comments are still there.

How many people on Earth walk around like they are carrying Passports that will get them into Heaven, while not realising their own ‘visa’ has ‘expired’?

Posted in Anti-Terrorists, Dark Side of the Light, Doublethink, Justice & Mercy, Little Hitlers, Pharisees, The Purpose Missing Church, The Religious Wrong, Uncircumcised Philistines | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Blasphemy] Blasphemically Challenged

Posted by Lex Fear on June 7, 2007

I’ve been meaning to blog about this one for a while since it appeared on BoingBoing

“It’s simple. You record a short message damning yourself to Hell, you upload it to YouTube, and then the Rational Response Squad will send you a free The God Who Wasn’t There DVD. It’s that easy…

You may damn yourself to Hell however you would like, but somewhere in your video you must say this phrase: “I deny the Holy Spirit.”

Why? Because, according to Mark 3:29 in the Holy Bible, “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” Jesus will forgive you for just about anything, but he won’t forgive you for denying the existence of the Holy Spirit. Ever. This is a one-way road you’re taking here.” – The Blasphemy Challenge

It’s a shame to have to ruin all their hard work by interceding:

“Father forgive them; they don’t know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34

I’m not really going to delve much into this topic, suffice to say that I am almost certain that only believers can blaspheme the Holy Spirit, since it is a matter of the heart and not of words or deeds:

“Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!

As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified.” – Acts 5:3-5

“Judas, the one who betrayed him, realized that Jesus was doomed. Overcome with remorse, he gave back the thirty silver coins to the high priests, saying, “I’ve sinned. I’ve betrayed an innocent man.”

They said, “What do we care? That’s your problem!”

Judas threw the silver coins into the Temple and left. Then he went out and hung himself.” – Matthew 27:3-5

But I think this video posted on the counter-site, Challenge Blasphemy explains it better than I ever could in a hilarious and brilliant way. There is a hint of ‘Andy Kaufman’ comic genius in passtheaura. Look out for the salt-shaker*, points for guessing as to what this subtle Easter egg is alluding to.

*If you’re really struggling, go to the direct YouTube posting and read the comments.

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Posted in Apologetics, Dark Side of the Light, Duh!, Laymans Theology, Uncircumcised Philistines, Video, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »