Abandon All Fear

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Posts Tagged ‘god’

[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 »

[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.

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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 »

[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 »

[Amateur Theology] Predestination

Posted by Lex Fear on June 2, 2007

Time to visit this old cherub. I’ve been doing a bit of digging through my old computer files, seeing if anything can be updated or cast into the nether. I came across an old ‘apologetic’ I wrote.

It was written pretty soon after I had become a Christian, so you may find it a little over-simplified or a flawed exegesis. I’ve tried to remove most of the cheese. As always, comments welcome.

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[Fearisms] What Do You Fear?

Posted by Lex Fear on June 2, 2007

Fear is a powerful, unpleasant feeling of risk or danger, either real or imagined. – Wikipedia.

All of us experience fear at different times for different reasons, it has the power to take over and control our thoughts and actions. It can affect who we are and who we become. Fear comes in many forms: mortal, and psychological.

Abandon All Fear exists as a testament to overcoming fear. It is a statement, a statement of truth about standing up against intimidation and the dark powers and principalities. It is about speaking truth, regardless of cultural sensibilities. It is about the experience and journey, of being an overcomer.

Fear of God doesn’t mean living in the shadow of a judge or higher power, it means being filled with a higher power and fearing nothing else on this earth.

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[Fallible Design] How I Went From Intellectual To Dumb

Posted by Lex Fear on May 6, 2007

There seems to be a wave of anti-theism spreading across the interweb these days. Either that or I’m just reading the wrong sites. Regardless, it’s inspired me to recount my own conversion from being an enlightened, smart, intelligent being, to an unenlightened, stupid, dumb theist.

Anti-theism can come in other forms but it usually takes the form of evolutionism. So I will try not to point out the obvious irony that Creationists consider human beings to be of higher intellect, value and potential whereas evolutionists consider human beings to have evolved from less intelligent species. This will be the first part of a series.

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Posted in Anecdotes, Apologetics, Fallible Design, Religion & Science | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Immorality] Big Brother In Christ

Posted by Lex Fear on March 5, 2007

Respect to Reverend Richard Moy who seems to be the only one in the Church of England Synod who is grounded in reality (no pun intended).

“Wait, what is that muffled noise I hear? oh, it’s just the God squad moaning about society again”

Isn’t it about time the Church actually tried to engage in society rather than make a moral stand against it (even when it has nothing to do with immorality, it’s just not polite).

If they would just look a bit deeper they may find that Big Brother has more in common with faith than they realise. Yes I try to avoid it but every year I end up getting pulled in, here’s why…

A group of people enter a house, locked in for 3 months, no contact with the outside world, all they have is the character they came in with and a big Voice that descends from the microphones giving them daily instructions, providing food and occasionally someone to talk to.

Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” – Exodus 17:4

Just as God watches over us, interacts with us and provides for us, so does Big Brother the housemates (admittedly sometimes mischievously). Just as we pray to God in the secret place, the housemates enter the diary room to chat to Big Brother about the things that are bothering them, to ask for something, or to simply share how their day is going. They ask for gifts, and sometimes they get them, but sometimes there is a task or mission that Big Brother wants them to achieve.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6

From the point they enter the house, they have entered a smaller version of the world- where character and culture are bound to clash. Big Brother watches ocassionally intervenes, and so do we watch and vote. We watch the good, the bad and the ugly. We are able to see everything that goes on, every conversation that happens. We can see when someone is being deceptive, when they are gossiping and sniping. We can also see the genuine people and we admire them, we cheer them on.

“…from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.” – Psalm 33:14-15

But they don’t hear us, they don’t see what we see. Just as in this world, people go about their daily lives, some think they’re ok, they’re not harming anyone, some try their best to win without concern for others, and then there are some who suffer unfairly. We don’t see it happening, we don’t see how others see us, but God and the Angels see it all and they cheer or they growl.

“God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.” – Psalm 7:11

I believe that Angels intervene also, just as we are given a vote, the Angels are given authority to intervene in our lives on occasion to bring us hope, or put down enemies.

Some housemates think they are a popular characters, though they have treated the others with contempt. What they have done with their time in the house, how they have treated the others has been on display for all to see, and they get ‘justice’ served (in the form of boos). Those who have acted with integrity, who have challenged the cheats, or risen above get the cheers. There are even times when one housemate in particular undergoes terrible persecution in the form of bullying- and they are cheered on, unaware of the army of supporters they have on the outside.

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” – Luke 15:10

Condemning shows like Big Brother and the contestants that take part, it’s almost like condemning humanity- since that is what it is at it’s worst.

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

[Infallibility] Ulterior Verse of the Day: Romans 3:22-24

Posted by Lex Fear on October 1, 2006

“We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in the Pope to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.

For everyone but the Pope have sinned; fallen short of the Popes’ infallibility. Yet now the Pope in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through the ex Cathedra, on this occasion..” – Romans 3:22-24 NLT

Is an apology a sign of admission of error? Depends on whether you are the Pope and you are speaking ex cathedra or not. Today’s Ulterior Verse of the Day was inspired by an article from BBC Magazine. So is the Pope infallible, and just how infallible is he?

It seems to me that you can be both infallible and fallible dualistically, depending on how many people or religious groups you offend.

Some people may question a dichotomy such as this but I can see the benefits of such a theology. I’ve been dying to tell 18-35’s Pastor how much his preaching sucks, and now I think I’ve found a way.

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Posted in Churchianity, Dark Side of the Light, Duh!, Laymans Theology, Pharisees, The Purpose Missing Church | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »