Monday, August 25, 2008

God exercised His saving power for all people by sacrificing His own son on a cross

Thank you for your comments, Dusty.
First off, I had no idea you were a Roman Catholic.
I am not.

I just figured if you could argue what appeared to be a Calvinist position without claiming to be a Calvinist, I could mention Roman Catholicism without being Roman Catholic. :)
(I was fairly horrified that you characterized me as a representative of Calvinism, as if the statements I had made in order to shine some light on some of the monstrous implications of your own theology were meant as straight representations of Calvinist thought.)
It appears that you don't really understand "my" theology.
if you believe in an all-powerful God Who has sovereignly decided to send people to an eternal life of total misery, oftentimes after enduring an earthly life of total misery, simply for not believing in Him, even though He has the power (being all-powerful) to save them.
God exercised that saving power for all people by sacrificing His own Son on a cross.

The problem here is the assertion that God sends people to Hell "simply for not believing in Him."

What does God say? "The soul that sins is the one who will die."

All sins -- not just unbelief -- send people to Hell.

(What would you do with the murderer? Rapist? Pedophile? Genocidal monster? Mohammed? Yet Christ died for his sins, too.)

UNBELIEF REJECTS GOD'S SAVING POWER. That people end up in Hell is not evidence of His cruelty or indifference, it is evidence of people's utter wickedness.

If one rejects Christ and His payment for sin, there's only one payment left, and it's coming out of your own pocket.

To blame God for punishing sin is like hating a cop for arresting a rapist. It is perverse.
You're appalled that the God of Calvinism has "created people for Hell"... Fair enough.
Thank you.
But you don't seem to understand that your God, in His omnipotence and omniscience, has essentially done the exact same thing
No, creating people for Hell is not dying on a cross to take away their sins.

Is that not obvious, even to someone with "latent Calvinist tendencies"? :)
since you believe that Hell is populated with souls that He knew full well would end up there before He laid the foundations of the earth (i.e. before He decided to go ahead and create those souls, despite His foreknowledge of where they were gonna end up).

6 of one, half dozen of the other, as they say.
Foreknowledge is not predestination.

Knowing that your child will suffer (perhaps terribly and chronically) and die (pretty much guaranteed!) means that you should have never given birth? Or committed infanticide?
a diatribe offered by a person who believes in a God who created hell for millions of people
What does God say? Hell was created for the devil and his angels, not for man.

Man was created for Life, and even though we reject it -- even though we make ourselves enemies of God! -- in His mercy Christ died for the sins of the whole world.

The Calvinist denies both those essential points. He says that God created only a few for Life (the rest for Hell), and that Christ died for only a few.

THE CALVINIST DENIES GOD'S SAVING POWER TO MANY.

The contrast couldn't be more stark.
(Yes, obviously I do have Calvinist sympathies--particularly from a purely academic and intellectual standpoint--but I have severe enough problems with all rigid theological systems, including Calvinism, that I can't rightly call myself by any of their names.)
Which is why it is best to ask, "What does God say?"

Supporting Calvin's heresies by making a false moral equivalence between deities

More in response to someone who, if he is not a Calvinist, has latent Calvinist tendencies.

It appears that Mr. McDust is trying to support Calvin's heresies by making a false moral equivalence between his god and Christ. His main argument is essentially one, giant tu quoque.
Where in my comment did I say I was a Calvinist??
I don't think you did.

Judging by the emotional and defensive tone of your comments in response to posts critical of Calvinism, I assumed naturally you were. Who else would try to make Christ as monstrous as Calvin's god?

So, are you a Calvinist? If not, why would you attempt to equate the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with his capricious beast?

Or do you just hate Roman Catholics?
The main thrust of my comment (including the "drunk boyfriend" example) was to point out to YOU that YOU "blame God" for evil (that is, if you affirm that God is sovereign), just as much as you accuse Calvinists of doing. I can't believe that point was lost on you.
One cannot lose that which never existed.

Your "argument" does not apply to me since I do not blame God for human evil. Neither do I mistake God's patience -- His desiring that all should repent and live -- for malice, indifference, or impotence.

God will address every wrong that needs addressing.

If Christ were to wipe out every evil, who would be left? Would you prefer that?

You have blood on your hands, too.
I'll ask you again -- Do you believe that God is all-powerful and all-knowing? That's a simple question, right? And I would prefer that you answer that question in the comments section of this post, please. So that people can easily see the entirety of what I actually said, rather than seeing your carefully [. . . ] version of what I said, in which you intentionally distort my original meaning.
I included a link to your comments. What a clumsy thing to do if I wanted to "intentionally distort" your meaning. If I wanted to do that, I'd delete your comment entirely and have my way with your post.
If you believe that God is truly all-powerful and all-knowing (i.e. sovereign), then you yourself are just as legitimately accused of "blaming" God for evil and for people going to Hell as Calvinists are. Now, note: I'm not saying it's a LEGITIMATE accusation--I'm saying it's JUST as legitimate as your accustation is against Calvinists.
Calvinists teach that God creates people for Hell (Double Predestination). Those who end up there roast only because of His "divine sovereignty."

That is blasphemy, since the Bible says that those who end up in Hell do so because of their own sin.

Calvinists also teach that God did not die for all, does not have mercy on all, does not work in the hearts of all. The Bible says that Christ atoned for the sins of the whole world, reconciling us all to His Father through His body on the cross.
If you DON'T believe that God is truly all-powerful and all-knowing, then you're guilty of heresy/blasphemy; in which case, if I were you I'd maybe focus a little more on my own severely flawed theology rather than the flawed theology of others.
So, you call teaching God's holiness and mercy -- not His capriciousness and malevolence -- and human depravity "heresy/blasphemy."

Are you sure you're not a Calvinist?
So, take your pick -- is God all-powerful and all-knowing or is He not? I'm looking forward to your answer, right after this comment... in the comment section... of THIS post... Thanks.
God is omniscient and omnipotent. That doesn't mean that He creates people for suffering.

Analogies often break down easily, but since the Word of God is not enough for you, I'll try one.

You are arguing that for Someone to know their child will suffer evil in this life and still create them makes God a monster.

You've just smeared every mother and father who's ever lived.
Because you affirm that God is sovereign-- YOU believe that God, before He created this existence exactly as He did, foresaw the situation of LOTS of people going to Hell. And yet God decided to go ahead and create this existence exactly as He did anyway. That is, He had the choice to create this existence any way He wanted, knowing LOTS of people would end up in Hell if He created it this particular way, and, in light of this knowledge, He decided to create it this particular way.

So (again, assuming you DO believe that God is all-knowing) how is it that you are less legitimately accused of "blaming God" than Calvinists are?
The Calvinist's god creates people for Hell and denies Christ's atoning sacrifice to many.

The God of the Bible creates people for eternal life, and restores that life through Christ's atoning sacrifice for all.

If you can't make that simple distinction, there's not much more to say.

Common senselessness, by Thomas Paine

Answering questions regarding Scripture raised by one of America's Founding Fathers.

His "arguments" are essentially: 1) I don't like it, so it isn't true; and 2) Since the prophecy doesn't say, "Jesus Christ" it isn't about Jesus Christ.

The first is impossible to answer except to point out that Paine has no substantive basis on which to dismiss the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets.

The second reflects a gross misunderstanding/ignorance of Scripture.

A few examples of Paine's errors should suffice:
THE passages called Prophecies of, or concerning, Jesus Christ, in the Old Testament may be classed under the two following heads.

First, those referred to in the four books of the New Testament, called the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Secondly, those which translators and commentators have, of their own imagination, erected into prophecies, and dubbed with that title at the head of the several chapters of the Old Testament.
It is worth noting here that from the very beginning, there is a historical continuity of prophecies from YHWH (God, "I AM") to Israel through His prophets regarding the Messiah to come. In Genesis 3, right after The Fall and in the midst of judgment, God promises a "Descendant" Who would crush the serpent's (devil's) head.

Then in Genesis 4, when Eve bears her first child, a son, she declares, ""I have gotten the Man that the LORD promised."

The prophecies are not attributed to Christ by translators and commentators (any chapter titles were a later, human invention); they're attributed by Christ Himself and His Apostles.

One example should illustrate this well: Just after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to two disciples walking on a road to Emmaus.

He showed them that the Law and the Prophets (Old Testament) all foretold of Him:
And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24).
On an earlier occasion, when chastising the religious leadership of Israel, Christ told them, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me" (John 5).
Of these it is scarcely worth while to waste time, ink, and paper upon
How convenient! But discarding the Law and Prophets is what one must do to make the errors Paine does.
I shall, therefore, confine myself chiefly to those referred to in the aforesaid four books of the New Testament. If I show that these are not prophecies of the person called Jesus Christ, nor have reference to any such person, it will be perfectly needless to combat those which translators or the church have invented, and for which they had no other authority than their own imagination.
The only problem is that, again, Jesus Himself said they were.
I begin with the book called the Gospel according to St. Matthew.

THE BOOK OF MATTHEW
In i. 18, it is said, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, SHE WAS FOUND WITH CHILD OF THE HOLY GHOST." -- This is going a little too fast; because to make this verse agree with the next it should have said no more than that she was found with child; for the next verse says, "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately." Consequently Joseph had found out no more than that she was with child, and he knew it was not by himself.

Ver. 20, 21. "And while he thought of these things, [that is whether he should put her away privately, or make a public example of her,] behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him IN A DREAM [that is, Joseph dreamed that an angel appeared unto him] saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins."
Someone familiar with the Law and Prophets would know that YHWH often communicated through dreams.

Now, without entering into any discussion upon the merits or demerits of the account here given, it is proper to observe, that it has no higher authority than that of a dream; for it is impossible to a man to behold any thing in a dream but that which he dreams of. I ask not, therefore, whether Joseph if there was such a man had such a dream or not, because admitting he had, it proves nothing. So wonderful and irrational is the faculty of the mind in dream, that it acts the part of all the characters its imagination creates, and what it thinks it hears from any of them is no other than what the roving rapidity of its own imagination invents. It is therefore nothing to me what Joseph dreamed of; whether of the fidelity or infidelity of his wife. I pay no regard to my own dreams, and I should be weak indeed to put faith in the dreams of another.

Paine makes three serious errors here, one in reading and the other two in logic.

First, it is not the virgin birth but Joseph's understanding of the nature of Mary's pregnancy that rests on the dream. Mary knew what had happened (and not happened!) to her, but do you think Mary's word would have been enough for Joseph? Do you think that if Mary had told Joseph, "I'm pregnant by the Holy Spirit," he would have replied, "Oh, okay"?

Second, Paine claims that a man can only receive in a dream what his own mind creates. While I agree that is usually true (especially now since the canon of Scripture has been closed for 1900 years), one familiar with the Old Testament would know that God often communicated through dreams and visions.

Third, the virgin birth does not rest on Joseph's dream at all. Mary herself described what happened to her (and she would know). The angel who spoke (in more detail) to her did it while she was conscious. (What would be Paine's objection to this? That everyone knows angels are fat, little cherubs with bows and arrows?). Additionally, we have that same prophet's own words regarding this Child:
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9).
Mr. Paine continues:
The verses that follow those I have quoted, are the words of the writer of the book of Matthew.
That would be . . . the Apostle Matthew.
"Now, [says he,] all this [that is, all this dreaming and this pregnancy] was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted, is, God with us.

This passage is in Isaiah vii. 14, and the writer of the book of Matthew endeavors to make his readers believe that this passage is a prophecy of the person called Jesus Christ.
Has anyone else in the history of the world claimed to be born of a virgin?

It is no such thing, and I go to show it is not. But it is first necessary that I explain the occasion of these words being spoken by Isaiah. The reader will then easily perceive that so far from their being a prophecy of Jesus Christ, they have not the least reference to such a person, nor to any thing that could happen in the time that Christ is said to have lived, which was about seven hundred years after the time of Isaiah.

Again, Paine ignores the testimony of Scripture to his own argument's detriment.

Anyone familiar with the history of Israel and the lives of its prophets would know that God used (sometimes seemingly disconnected) events to foreshadow the person and work of the Messiah. That's one sense in which Christ can claim that the Law and the Prophets all testify of Him.

An example of this would be Moses lifting up a bronze snake to save his fellow Hebrews from the divine judgment of a particular sin. That historical event 1500 years before Christ was born foreshadowed what He would do for all humanity. In John 3 Christ declares, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."
The case is this; On the death of Solomon the Jewish nation split into two monarchies: one called the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem: the other the kingdom of Israel, the capital of which was Samaria. The kingdom of Judah followed the line of David, and the kingdom of Israel that of Saul; and these two rival monarchies frequently carried on fierce wars against each other.

At the time Ahaz was king of Judah, which was in the time of Isaiah, Pekah was king of Israel; and Pekah joined himself to Rezin, king of Syria, to make war against Ahaz, king of Judah; and these two kings marched a confederated and powerful army against Jerusalem. Ahaz and his people became alarmed at their danger, and "their hearts were moved as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind." Isaiah vii. 3.

In this perilous situation of things, Isaiah addresses himself to Ahaz, and assures him in the name of the Lord, (the cant phrase of all the prophets,) that these two kings should not succeed against him; and to assure him that this should be the case, (the case was however directly contrary, [NOTE: II. Chron. xxviii. I. Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign. and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, but he did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord. -- ver. 5. Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria, and they smate him, and carried away a great multitude of them captive and brought them to Damascus; and he was also delivered into the hand of the king, of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter. Ver. 6. And Pekah (king of Israel) slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day. -- ver. 8. And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand women, sons, and daughters.]) tells Ahaz to ask a sign of the Lord. This Ahaz declined doing, giving as a reason, that he would not tempt the Lord; upon which Isaiah, who pretends to be sent from God, says, ver. 14, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign, behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son -- Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil and chose the good -- For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and chose the good, the land which thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings" -- meaning the king of Israel and the king of Syria who were marching against him.

Here then is the sign, which was to be the birth of a child, and that child a son; and here also is the time limited for the accomplishment of the sign, namely, before the child should know to refuse the evil and chose the good.

The thing, therefore, to be a sign of success to Ahaz, must be something that would take place before the event of the battle then pending between him and the two kings could be known. A thing to be a sign must precede the thing signified. The sign of rain must be before the rain.

It would have been mockery and insulting nonsense for Isaiah to have assured Ahaz as a sign that these two kings should not prevail against him, that a child should be born seven hundred years after he was dead, and that before the child so born should know to refuse the evil and choose the good, he, Ahaz, should be delivered from the danger he was then immediately threatened with.
So generations of Hebrews venerated Isaiah's words as revelation from YHWH but missed this?

Or, perhaps, Paine didn't have a desire for truth. It was not a "sign of success for Ahaz," it was a promise of God's presence with His people then, and His actual physical presence in the Messiah-to-come later.

If Paine had allowed himself to be informed by the Scriptures rather than dismissing them a priori as fabrications (Isaiah pretended to be a prophet!), Paine would know that not only were actual events used to foreshadow the Messiah, but that no promises regarding Him came true during the lifetimes of those to whom the promises were made:
-Eve was promised a Descendant Who would crush the devil's head, but the Messiah came thousands of years later.

-Abraham was promised that the world would be blessed through him, but that Blessing did not come for 2000 years.

-Israel was promised a prophet "like Moses," but did not receive Him until 1500 years later.

-David was promised a Son Who would rule on his throne forever, but did not receive Him until 1000 years later.

-Through Isaiah, Israel was promised a Child Who is the Everlasting God, but did not receive Him for 700 years.
Regarding this delayed gratification, the Scriptures state:
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look (1 Peter 1).
And this:
what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets -- who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated -- of whom the world was not worthy -- wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect (Hebrews 11).
Paine would also know that the prophecy was not given to Ahaz, it was given to Israel, since "you" in Isaiah 7:14 is plural.

He continues:
But the case is, that the child of which Isaiah speaks was his own child, with which his wife or his mistress was then pregnant; for he says in the next chapter, (Is. viii. 2), "And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the Priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah; and I went unto the Prophetess, and she conceived and bear a son and he says, at ver. 18 of the same chapter, "Behold I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel."
Isaiah would know whether or not his wife was a virgin, wouldn 't he? Wouldn't Isaiah realize if he were contradicting the revelation YHWH gave him?

Again, the fact that a prophecy had an immediate historical application does not mean that it did not also possess a future fulfillment in Christ.
It may not be improper here to observe, that the word translated a virgin in Isaiah, does not signify a virgin in Hebrew, but merely a 'young woman.' The tense is also falsified in the translation. Levi gives the Hebrew text of Isaiah vii. 14, and the translation in English with it -- "Behold a young woman is with child and beareth a son;" The expression, says he, is in the present tense. This translation agrees with the other circumstances related of the birth of this child which was to be a sign to Ahaz. But as the true translation could not have been imposed upon the world as a prophecy of a child to be born seven hundred years afterwards, the christian translators have falsified the original: and instead of making Isaiah to say, behold a young woman is with child and beareth a son, they have made him to say, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son. It is, however, only necessary for a person to read Isaiah vii. and viii., and he will be convinced that the passage in question is no prophecy of the person called Jesus Christ. I pass on to the second passage quoted from the Old Testament by the New, as a prophecy of Jesus Christ.
The fact is that the word translated "virgin," 'almah, is used six times in the Old Testament and always refers to a young woman of marriageable age who is still a virgin.
Matthew ii. 1-6. "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the East, and are come to worship Him. When Herod the king heard these things he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem, in the land of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, ant not the least among the Princes of Judah, for out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel." This passage is in Micah v. 2.

I pass over the absurdity of seeing and following a star in the day time, as a man would a 'Will with the whip,' or a candle and lantern at night; and also that of seeing it in the east, when themselves came from the east; for could such a thing be seen at all to serve them for a guide, it must be in the west to them. I confine myself solely to the passage called a prophecy of Jesus Christ.
Yes, no one has ever seen a heavenly body during daylight, and no, no one has ever used stars to navigate at night.

And the words rendered, "in the east," can also be translated, "when it rose." In either case, it was no problem for the Magi (nor for Herod), so again Paine is making something out of nothing.
The book of Micah, in the passage above quoted, v. 2, is speaking of some person, without mentioning his name, from whom some great achievements were expected; but the description he gives of this person, ver. 5, 6, proves evidently that it is not Jesus Christ
This Man spoken of in Micah 5 is described as having his origins "in ancient times" or "from eternity."

Just who would that be, Thomas?

for he says, "and this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise up against him [that is, against the Assyrian] seven shepherds and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod on the entrance thereof; thus shall He [the person spoken of at the head of the second verse] deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when be treadeth within our borders."

Here, Paine is making an argument out of ignorance, since he didn't read the text carefully.

That the verses regarding deliverance from the Assyrians is speaking of the future deliverance of God's people (the Church) from its enemies by the Messiah is obvious from verses 3 through 5 (and the chapter ends describing Judgment Day):
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.

And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.

And he shall be their peace.
Sure sounds like Christ, who "himself is our peace" (Ephesians 2).
This is so evidently descriptive of a military chief, that it cannot be applied to Christ without outraging the character they pretend to give us of him.
The first time Jesus came, He came in meekness and mercy. The second time He comes, Christ will judge the world, bringing salvation to those waiting for Him and condemnation to all who reject Him.

YHWH is a God of both justice and mercy.
Besides which, the circumstances of the times here spoken of, and those of the times in which Christ is said to have lived, are in contradiction to each other. It was the Romans, and not the Assyrians that had conquered and were in the land of Judea, and trod in their palaces when Christ was born, and when he died, and so far from his driving them out, it was they who signed the warrant for his execution, and he suffered under it.
Just as Rome, Sodom, Egypt, Babylon, and Jerusalem are used to represent the enemies of Christ and His people throughout Scripture (see especially Revelation), so Assyria is used.
Having thus shown that this is no prophecy of Jesus Christ, I pass on to the third passage quoted from the Old Testament by the New, as a prophecy of him. This, like the first I have spoken of, is introduced by a dream. Joseph dreameth another dream, and dreameth that he seeth another angel. The account begins at Matthew ii. 13. "The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: For Herod will seek the life of the young child to destroy him. When he arose he took the young child and his mother by night and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son."

This passage is in the book of Hosea, xi. I. The words are, "When Israel was a child then I loved him and called my son out of Egypt. As they called them so they went from them, they sacrificed unto Baalim and burnt incense to graven images."

This passage, falsely called a prophecy of Christ, refers to the children of Israel coming out of Egypt in the time of Pharaoh, and to the idolatry they committed afterwards. To make it apply to Jesus Christ, he then must be the person who sacrificed unto Baalim and burnt incense to graven images; for the person called out of Egypt by the collective name, Israel, and the persons committing this idolatry, are the same persons, or the descendants of them. This then can be no prophecy of Jesus Christ, unless they are willing to make an idolator of him.
Need I demonstrate again that Messianic prophecies had also an immediate historical application?

David wrote of "strong bulls" piercing "my hands and my feet" (Psalm 22).

Undoubtedly, Thomas Paine would argue here that David was not foreshadowing the crucifixion his Descendant would endure, since David was describing his own crucifixion! Not only that, but it is impossible for bulls to use a hammer and nails!
I pass on to the fourth passage called a prophecy by the writer of the book of Matthew.

This is introduced by a story told by nobody but himself, and scarcely believed by any body, of the slaughter of all the children under two years old, by the command of Herod. A thing which it is not probable should be done by Herod, as he only held an office under the Roman government, to which appeals could always be had, as we see in the case of Paul.
Yes, no one's ever heard of a slaughter of innocents. Wait a minute! Didn't Pharoah do the same thing (which is another example of the life of Israel foreshadowing the Messiah).

That Paine would use popularity ("scarcely believed by any body") as a criterion for truth speaks poorly of his intellectual integrity.

The truth is, Herod was a monster. He murdered his own wife, his three sons, his mother-in-law, his brother-in-law, his uncle, and many others.

What are a few hundred (thousand?) Jewish babies?

And it's not like it's never happened before (or since). Pharoah, Mohammed, and Hitler would call Herod's work, "a start."

More to come . . . .

A Common Deception

Early in Mohammed's career as Allah's prophet, when he had few converts and no political or military strength, he worked to persuade Jews and Christians of the authenticity of his revelations. It was in these times that he spoke of cooperation and tolerance.

His heresy was largely rejected by those he hoped would receive him as authentic.

Later, as Mohammed's power grew, the attitude toward non-Muslims expressed in his revelations took a turn toward tyranny and bloodlust.

At first, defensive warfare was allowed for Muslims. Then, it was required. And just before Mohammed died -- too late for nearly fourteen centuries of non-Muslims since -- the revelations he transmitted to the faithful demanded offensive warfare against those who refuse to convert to Islam or submit to Allah's rule.

Though slaughter grabs headlines ("If it bleeds, it leads"), violence is not the only means by which Muslims are to impose Islamic law over all mankind. Other, non-violent instruments are also appropriate. One of these is deceit:
"War is deceit" (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 268).

"Allah's Apostle said, 'Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?' Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, 'O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?' The Prophet said, 'Yes,' Muhammad bin Maslama said, 'Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).' The Prophet said, 'You may say it' (Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 369).

"Let not the believers take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them. But Allah cautions you (To remember) Himself; for the final goal is to Allah" (Qur'an 3:28).
President Bush's "War on Terror" is suicidally-misnamed. We are engaged rather in a War of Self-Defense Against the Tyranny of Allah.

Following are some comments on one of the latest and most attractively-packaged attempts at Muslim subterfuge called "A Common Word," first from the official website and then from its scholars' letter to Pope Benedict.
On October 13th 2006, one month to the day after Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address of September 13th 2006, 38 Islamic authorities and scholars from around the world, representing all denominations and schools of thought, joined together to deliver an answer to the Pope in the spirit of open intellectual exchange and mutual understanding. In their Open Letter to the Pope (see english.pdf), for the first time in recent history, Muslim scholars from every branch of Islam spoke with one voice about the true teachings of Islam.
But I thought Islam was not monolithic? I thought it was impossible to talk about "all Muslims" believing or doing anything?

Various estimates I've read put the world's Muslims at 85% to 95% Sunni (consisting of four major schools of jurisprudence). They've been at war for thirteen centuries with Shia Muslims, the second largest denomination in Islam.

Though they disagree murderously on certain topics (for example, the legitimate successor to Mohammed), there's one on which they share a common word: The necessity to convert, subjugate and humiliate, and kill non-Muslims to make the world Islam. That's the "mutual understanding" Allah commands them to impose upon non-Muslims.
Now, exactly one year after that letter, Muslims have expanded their message. In A Common Word Between Us and You, 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals have unanimously come together for the first time since the days of the Prophet [. . .] to declare the common ground between Christianity and Islam. Like the Open Letter, the signatories to this message come from every denomination and school of thought in Islam. Every major Islamic country or region in the world is represented in this message, which is addressed to the leaders of all the world’s churches, and indeed to all Christians everywhere.
What common ground can there be between "Before Abraham was, I AM!" (John 8:58) and, ""In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary" (Qur'an 5:17)?

Christ confessed plainly that He is God Incarnate, but Mohammed calls Christ a blasphemer.

Indeed, the only common ground Islam seeks is that soil on which the non-Muslim genuflects to his Muslim overlords.

Stinging Islamic irony coming in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .
The final form of the letter was presented at a conference in September 2007 held under the theme of “Love in the Quran” . . . . Indeed, the most fundamental common ground between Islam and Christianity, and the best basis for future dialogue and understanding, is the love of God [sic; read: "Allah" here and following] and the love of the neighbor.
When a devout Muslim speaks of the "love of God," they do not mean what a Christian means. Christ died to defeat sin, death, and the devil, but Allah's paramour is death: "It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land . . ." (Qur'an 8:67).
Never before have Muslims delivered this kind of definitive consensus statement on Christianity. Rather than engage in polemic, the signatories have adopted the traditional and mainstream Islamic position of respecting the Christian scripture and calling Christians to be more, not less, faithful to it.
To someone unfamiliar with the command of Allah and the example of Mohammed, this sounds reassuring. It must be those Islamophobic, bigoted Christians causing all the conflict.

Unfortunately, it is not true.

Islam has before delivered "definitive consensus statements" on all other religions, including Christianity. They come from Allah and his apostle. Characterizing them as "polemic" would be so generous as to be a lie.

Consider for example Qur'an 9:29, the command to war against Jews and Christians "until they feel themselves subdued" and pay the jizya. Consider the Pact of Umar, based on this verse.

If only they had limited themselves to words, which is one of Pope Benedict's essential arguments.

And these Muslims are not calling Christians to "be more faithful" to the Bible, they're calling Christians to be more faithful to what Muslims say was the original Biblical texts, which -- according to them -- taught Mohammed's heresies but were corrupted later by Jews and Christians.

Here are more lies advanced commonly by Islam's apologists:
. . . the most solid theological ground possible: the teachings of the Qu’ran and the Prophet [. . .], and the commandments described by Jesus Christ [. . .] in the Bible. Thus despite their differences, Islam and Christianity not only share the same Divine Origin and the same Abrahamic heritage, but the same two greatest commandments.
This is an attempt to deceive Christians and other non-Muslims into believing that the two religions share anything in common.

In fact, the two greatest commandments from the Old Testament as affirmed by Christ are: "Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength," and, "Love your neighbor as yourself."

It is impossible for a Muslim to obey either command.

First, he worships Allah, not YHWH (the "LORD"), Who has revealed Himself as one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To deny Christ as God Incarnate is to blaspheme the Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for Christ stated that all must honor Him as they honor His Father.

Second, how can a Muslim love his neighbor as himself when his god either commands (or encourages) slavery, rape, pedophilia, murder, religious coersion, polygyny, extortion, and genocide.

And don't forget the abolition of free thought and speech. Muslims can't hear a non-Muslim quote Mohammed without their heads exploding. There's a reason that Islamic civilization is nothing but rubble apart from the contributions of its Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, and other non-Muslim slaves and business partners.

Here are some reflections on excerpts from The Lying Letter:
You mention that “according to the experts” the verse which begins, There is no compulsion in religion (al-Baqarah 2:256) . . . Muslims are also guided by such verses as Say: The truth is from your Lord; so whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve. (al-Kahf 18:29); and Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion (al-Kafirun: 109:1-6).
Whether one describes the time around the flight to Medina as one of "weakness and insecurity" or "ascendance" for Mohammed and Muslims, these verses are intended here to create in the minds of those unfamiliar with Qur'an and Sunnah the impression that Islam is tolerant of other faiths.

In fact, some Muslims argue that 2:256 was abrogated later by revelations commanding offensive warfare against those who neither convert nor submit. Others claim that though inner belief cannot be compelled, outward behavior can; this is evident in the dhimmi laws segregating, oppressing, humiliating, and violating non-Muslims who surrender to that "protected" status.

Whether or not one wants claim that they are forcing no one in matters of religion, what would be the effect in the mind of a non-Muslim who knows that if they only converted, they would be spared the suffering in this life required by Allah:
"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (Qur'an 9:29).

"Allah's Apostle said: 'I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle . . . '" (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 24).

I [Mohammed] said to him, ‘Submit and testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the apostle of God before you lose your head,’ so he did so" (Ishaq, 547).
More deceit:
. . . much more important to Muslims are figures such as al-Ghazali [. . .] and many others who are far more influential and more representative of Islamic belief than Ibn Hazm.
Even al-Ghazali endorsed the importance of waging jihad regularly against non-Muslims.
You quote an argument that because the emperor is “shaped by Greek philosophy” the idea that “God is not pleased by blood” is “self-evident” to him, to which the Muslim teaching on God’s Transcendence is put forward as a counterexample. To say that for Muslims “God’s Will is not bound up in any of our categories” is also a simplification which may lead to a misunderstanding.
Or not.
God has many Names in Islam, including the Merciful, the Just, the Seeing, the Hearing, the Knowing, the Loving, and the Gentle.
And, "the Abaser," "The Bringer of Death, the Destroyer," "The Avenger," "The Distresser, the Harmer."
to conclude that Muslims believe in a capricious God who might or might not command us to evil is to forget that God says in the Quran, Lo! God enjoins justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbids lewdness and abomination and wickedness.
But butchering Indidels is neither an abomination nor wickedness: "fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war) . . . " (Qur’an 9:5).

The letter continues:
Equally, it is to forget that God says in the Qur’an that He has prescribed for Himself mercy [. . .]
Like this?
"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter . . . " (Qur'an 5:33).
Or this?
'Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizya (i.e. tribute); and our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says: "Whoever amongst us is killed (i.e. martyred), shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever amongst us remain alive, shall become your master."
More from the lying "scholars":
and that God says in the Qur’an, My Mercy encompasses everything [. . .]. The word for mercy, rahmah, can also be translated as love, kindness, and compassion. From this word rahmah comes the sacred formula Muslims use daily, In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Is it not self-evident that spilling innocent blood goes against mercy and compassion?
But to Mohammed, no non-Muslim is innocent:
"fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war) . . . " (Qur’an 9:5).

"The Prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, "They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans)." (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 256).
The lies continue:
We would like to point out that “holy war” is a term that does not exist in Islamic languages. Jihad, it must be emphasized, means struggle, and specifically struggle in the way of God.
At least they didn't pull the "inner, spiritual struggle is the greater jihad" nonsense (based on one questionable hadith).

"Struggle in the way of Allah" meant primarily for Mohammed violence against non-Muslims :
"the Messenger of Allah . . . would say: 'Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war. . . . When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. . . . Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them . . .'" (Muslim Book 19, Number 4294).
The letter goes on:
This struggle may take many forms, including the use of force. Though a jihad may be sacred in the sense of being directed towards a sacred ideal, it is not necessarily a “war”.

Moreover, it is noteworthy that Manuel II Paleologus says that “violence” goes against God’s nature, since Christ himself used violence against the money-changers in the temple, and said “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword …” When God drowned Pharaoh, was He going against His own Nature?
A good example of Muslim Sleight-of-Phrase (and outright blasphemy).

Of course, the Emperor was referring to offensive violence in the name of religion. Christ's chasing out the money-changers is not at all comparable to Mohammed's slaughters, and His statement about bringing not peace but a "sword" was referring to the conflict that results inevitably between those who tell the truth and those who do not.

The fundamental difference between Christ and Allah is that violence in judgment belongs to Christ alone, not bloodthirsty rapacious monsters.
Perhaps the emperor meant to say that cruelty, brutality, and aggression are against God’s Will, in which case the classical and traditional law of jihad in Islam would bear him out completely.
Really? What about:
"Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly" (Qur'an 8:60).

“Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been made victorious with terror’” (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220).
The deceit continues:
Non-combatants are not permitted or legitimate targets. This was emphasized explicitly time and again by the Prophet, his Companions, and by the learned tradition since then.
Really? What about this?
"The Prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, "They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans)." (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 256).
And this?
"The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree) [justifying the murder of innocents]: but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah: for (Allah) loveth not those who do wrong" (Qur'an 42:40).
And this?
It is permissible for Muslims to kill inviolable infidels if they are aiding the fighting in deed, word, opinion, or any other way. This is because of the Prophet's order to kill Duraid ibn Al-Simma, who was 120 years old and went with the Hawazin tribe [to fight against the Muslims] to give them counsel. Ibn Qudama notes that the Prophet ordered him killed in the Battle of Hunein because he knew military stratagems. See Al-Tamhid 16:142.
The truth is, anyone aiding resistance against jihad in any way is a "combatant," for they are "from them," as Mohammed declared.

Another third-truth:
Religious belief alone does not make anyone the object of attack.
That is technically true (you always have to read the fineprint with Allah!).

The non-Muslim also has to refuse conversion and slavery in order to be attacked. (Ungrateful!)

A hint of truth here:
The original Muslim community was fighting against pagans who had also expelled them from their homes, persecuted, tortured, and murdered them. Thereafter, the Islamic conquests were political in nature.

Muslims are just as bound to obey these rules as they are to refrain from theft and adultery.
Here's another hateful lie:
we must state that the murder [. . .] of an innocent Catholic nun in Somalia—and any other similar acts of wanton individual violence—‘in reaction to’ your lecture at the University of Regensburg, is completely un-Islamic, and we totally condemn such acts.
Here is the truth:
"When the apostle heard what she had said he said, 'Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?' Umayr bin Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her. In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, "You have helped Allah and His apostle, O Umayr!" When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, 'Two goats won't butt their heads about her,' so Umayr went back to his people.

Now there was a great commotion among Banu Khatma that day about the affair of bint [daughter of] Marwan. She had five sons, and when Umayr went to them from the apostle he said, 'I have killed bint Marwan, o sons of Khatma. Withstand me if you can; don't keep me waiting.' That was the first day Islam became powerful among Banu Khatma; before that those who were Muslims concealed the fact . . .The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of Banu Khatma became Muslims because they feared for their lives" (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah).
The most pernicious lie of all:
The notion that Muslims are commanded to spread their faith “by the sword” or that Islam in fact was largely spread “by the sword” does not hold up to scrutiny. Indeed, as a political entity Islam spread partly as a result of conquest, but the greater part of its expansion came as a result of preaching and missionary activity. Islamic teaching did not prescribe that the conquered populations be forced or coerced into converting.
But the false prophet commanded:
"the Messenger of Allah . . . would say: 'Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war. . . . When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. . . . Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them . . .'" (Muslim Book 19, Number 4294).
Here comes a straw man:
Indeed, many of the first areas conquered by the Muslims remained predominantly non-Muslim for centuries. Had Muslims desired to convert all others by force, there would not be a single church or synagogue left anywhere in the Islamic world.
Muslims had to preserve a population from which to extract tribute (jizya), slaves, services, and little girls and boys.
The command There is no compulsion in religion means now what it meant then. The mere fact of a person being non-Muslim has never been a legitimate casus belli in Islamic law or belief.
Again, per Mohammed's command, if the non-Muslim refuses the "invitation" to Islam and slavery, then it's war.

Next, these "scholars" misuse a verse warning Jews against violence:
Muslims have always believed, that Whoso slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, it shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether . . . .
Here's an Islamic inside joke:
You mention the emperor’s assertion that “anything new” brought by the Prophet was “evil and inhuman, such as his alleged command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” What the emperor failed to realize—aside from the fact (as mentioned above) that no such command has ever existed in Islam—is that the Prophet never claimed to be bringing anything fundamentally new.
Nothing new.

But a sword? You bet!

Jesus said, "Love your enemies." Anyone who's read the Bible knows the following is a lie:
God says in the Holy Qur’an, Naught is said to thee (Muhammad) but
what already was said to the Messengers before thee [. . .] and, Say (Muhammad): I am no new thing among the messengers (of God), nor know I what will be done with me or with you. I do but follow that what is Revealed to me [. . . .]
Here's where these Muslims try -- as Mohammed did -- to deceive Jews and Christians into accepting that Mohammed preached the same YHWH. The key words here are "true" and "truth":
According to Islamic belief, all the true prophets preached the same truth to different peoples at different times. The laws may be different, but the truth is unchanging.
Truths like: "Before Abraham was born, I AM"?

The letter concludes a veiled threat:
We hope that we will all avoid the mistakes of the past and live together in the future in peace, mutual acceptance and respect.
Which means, "Get in line, dhimmi."

It should be clear from the Islamic texts provided that in "A Common Word" we have good Muslims dutifully deceiving ignorant and gullible Infidels.

Be neither.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

If a Calvinist cannot state accurately what God says, what makes you think they'll get your words right?

Calvinists accuse God of creating people for Hell (Double Predestination) and Christ of dying for only some people (Limited Atonement), both of which are contrary to Scripture and make YHWH a lying monster.

Additionally, they pretend an affinity to Luther, trying to wrap around themselves the cloak of the Reformation, when in reality what they have is a Deformation of Christ.

Here a guest not only defends the hellish doctrines of Double Predestination and Limited Atonement, he attributes to me his own perverse attitudes:
How do you look at the things Jesus says later on in John 6? Namely, that the full number of those whom God gives to Him WILL come to Him, and that out of that number not a single one will be lost? Just curious.
Those who are not given to Christ by the Father -- are those not given because YHWH created them for Hell, because Christ did not die for them, or because the Holy Spirit never worked in their hearts?

Or is it, as Scripture teaches -- including here in John's gospel -- that they are rejected because they reject God through unbelief?

You're trying to say against that a person's condemnation is God's fault. Where does He say that?

Here's some of what God does say in John 6, including another opportunity for Calvinist selective reading near the end:
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out [. . .] this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

[. . .] No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

[. . .]

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
Note in verse 44 that God says all who come to Christ are drawn by the Father. It doesn't say that only those who come to Christ were drawn by the Father.

Did not Christ say that when He was crucified He would draw "all men" to Himself?

Dusty McDusty continues:
I notice you tend to accuse Calvinists of bringing blasphemous charges against God's character
That's false. I accuse Calvinists of blaspheming God by their false doctrine.
There's a difference between Calvinists proclaiming that God is malicious, for example, and Calvinists proclaiming something that makes God seem malicious in your own personal judgment.
Where did I accuse Calvinists of saying that God is malicious? Is that misrepresentation of my words intentional?
-God says that He is not willing that anyone should perish. You say God makes people for Hell.

-God says that Christ died for all. You say Christ died for some.

-God says that He has mercy on all. You deny His mercy to "many."

-God says that in Christ's body on the cross, He was reconciling the world to His Father. You deny that reconciliation to "many."

-God says that Christ is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the "whole world." You deny His sacrifice to "many."

-God says only that believers are predestined to eternal life. From this you infer that God predestined those in Hell to Hell. when in fact they rejected Christ's payment for sin through unbelief.
Where does God say that He predestines the "many" who find themselves in Hell for it? Where does God say that Christ died for only some? That He loves and has mercy on only some?

Dusty continues:
I've never heard a Calvinist call God "malicious" or "blame" God's sovereignty for people going to hell.
No, he just claims that God creates people for Hell.

I don't suppose I need to restate this, but just in case: The Calvinist makes God a monster. I merely point out what the Calvinist is doing.
And hey-- do you believe that God, before creating this existence, foresaw the situation of lots of people going to Hell, and yet decided to create this existence anyway? Well, if you do (and how can you not, as a theologically responsible Christian), then how do you not also "blame God's sovereignty" for the fact that people go to hell? God could have created this existence differently and He didn't. Voila--He's to blame (not to mention malicious). Shame on you for believing such a thing.
Just like the Darwinist and the Muslim, projecting their error onto the one pointing out the error.

You're confusing foreknowledge with predestination.

The reason I cannot "blame God's sovereignty" for people going to Hell is because unlike the Calvinist, I tell the truth about what I read. God says a person goes to Hell because of their own sin.
Do you, as a theologically correct sort, believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present? (That is, that God is sovereign?)
Here comes a perfect example of Calvinist theology in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .
your own version of a cruel, malicious God? You know what I mean, right? The God who is sitting there as you read this refusing to intervene in the brutal beating and worse of a little child at the hands of her mom's drunk boyfriend (3rd time this month)... and Who will send that little child to hell when she dies of a drug overdose 19 years from now after a life of bitterness and unbelief, which He could have done something to prevent by putting a stop to the brutal beatings and worse 19 years before...
Blaming God first for mom's drunk boyfriend's cruelty (and mom's negligence), and second for
the adult woman's sin and unbelief.

To a Calvinist that's called, "good theology."

But what does God say? He says that He has mercy on the just and unjust.

Christ explained in one parable that He allows the weeds to grow up alongside the wheat until the harvest so that no good plants are destroyed prematurely along with the weeds.

As Peter said, God's "slowness" is His patience, for He wants all to be saved.

And there will be justice: Either in Christ's body on the cross, or in the unrepentant sinner's in Hell.
soul-squashing evil that people's lives are saturated with all over the world on a daily basis--evil which the loving, non-malicious, all-powerful God you believe in allows. Stuff that plays a huge part in stoking the UNBELIEF of people everywhere, which unbelief--as you yourself profess--is the reason why people go to hell.
That's dishonest!

You blame God (again) for human evil, you blame Him (again) for unbelief, and you attribute the responsibility for unbelief to outside forces rather than to the individual.

You imply also that suffering causes unbelief, when in fact, God often works through suffering to create and strengthen faith, as He says.
Nice, well-thought-out beliefs (and accusations) you've got going here. What a noble defender of God's character you are.
If you say what God says -- no more, no less -- you won't have to worry.

The ironic, self-contradictory hypocrisy of the Islamo-Leftist alliance

Ever notice how people doing (or defending) evil have to lie?

Nevermind that even President Clinton believed Saddam had WMD.

Not finding the quantities of weapons everyone expected is not evidence that President Bush lied, it's evidence that Saddam used the time prior to the actual invasion -- during which the President solicited the cooperation of those nations in collusion with the Iraqi tyrant -- to ship them off to Syria.

So, here's "PersianImmortal" (I saw 300 -- talk about a misnomer!) warning against spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) by spreading . . . FUD!
"Indeed, as we know, FUD is not limited to the IT world. US President George Bush knowingly lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) existing in Iraq - the CIA reported conclusively in 2004 that no such weapons existed.
Everyone in the U.S. knows what a friend to President Bush the CIA has been! Nope, no political agenda here!
This information was widely reported in the media at the time. Yet public polls such as this one show that from 2004 to 2006 the proportion of Americans who believe Iraq had WMDs actually grew substantially from 38% to 50%!

Clearly FUD is extremely hard to counter once it gains a foothold in people's hearts and minds."
Clearly.

No wonder Ghazi spends so many words in this article trying to convince us he's unbiased.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The University of Southern California discovers suddenly that it's been aiding the jihad against us

I wrote about USC some time ago noting that they allow genocidal, terrorist propaganda to be hosted on their web site.

At last, someone's gotten USC's attention. David Horowitz, Robert Spencer, and the third Islamofascism Awareness Week have gotten results. According to Hugh Fitzgerald:
USC Provost C. L. Max Nikias, [. . .] declared that "the passage cited is truly despicable...The passage in the Hadith that you brought to our attention violates the USC Principles of Community, and it has no place on a USC website." Said Nikias: "I have ordered that the passage be removed" [. . .] The USC MSA complied.
So, the USC Muslim Student Association removed one offensive (to normal, decent people, not to Muslims) hadith (Muslim, 41.6985, see the count jump in the screenshot below) encouraging the slaughter of Jews:


But don't celebrate just yet.

That's only one out of many requiring slavery, mutilation, rape, and death for those who refuse the "invitation" to Islam. Will USC remove the rest? What about Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177:
"Allah's Apostle said, 'The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, "O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him"'" (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177)?
What's left of Islam when you remove the rape and slaughter? Prepositions?

So far, instead of removing all of the hateful passages, there is now a disclaimer at the bottom of the pages of the MSA's Compendium of Muslim Texts distancing USC from whatever is contained within it:


Not only that, but the MSA has been allowed to include two links to the removed hadith:


So, in effect, what have we gained? Only a better sense of the cowardice and impotence of USC's leadership?

While USC plays Whack-A-Hadith, the jihad continues.

Still, the provost has demonstrated greater knowledge and courage on the subject of Islam and its foundational texts than has President Bush.

Why are the people behind this site allowed to walk freely among us? Why is such vile filth allowed in any non-Muslim land? When will our leadership do its job, which is to defend We the People against all enemies, foreign and domestic?

What will be Muslim reaction when word gets out that Nikias called the hadith, "despicable"?

When I say that kind of thing, I get Muslims talking about killing me.

Calvinism blasphemes the Living God

What makes Calvinism unreasonable (to a Christian) is that by attributing to God what He does not say, it contradicts what He has said.

Calvin's god creates people for Hell and denies the grace of God to all (Double Predestination and Limited Atonement, respectively).

To teach such heresy, a Calvinist must deny that God has "bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all."

Watch how a Calvinist negates the clear language of the Word of God to justify his false doctrine: Not only did Christ not die for the sins of the whole world, but He actually creates people for Hell!
So, you're a universalist!
I am someone who makes it his goal to say only what God has said, nothing more nor less.

We should all speak His words and remain silent where He does.

What does God say? He says that Christ died for the sins of the "whole world." He says that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should have eternal life. In lamenting over Jerusalem He says, "I longed to gather you like a hen gathers her chicks, but you were not willing."

Was He lying?

Don't blame God because someone rejects Him through unbelief. To attribute to God the evil we create is not only unjust, it is blasphemy.

Strong Tower writes:
Why is it that anti-Calvinists never, ever quote all of Scripture like you did with Romans 11: What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear [. . . .]”
Here he tries to use a discussion of (natural) Israel's unbelief to prove that God creates people for Hell. One shouldn't use Romans 11 for that, since verses 20 and 21 state:
That's right! They were broken off because they didn't believe, but you remain on the tree because you do believe. Don't feel arrogant, but be afraid. If God didn't spare the natural branches, he won't spare you, either.
Why were those members of Israel rejected ("broken off")? Because of unbelief!

It's also worth nothing here that God warns believers against being rejected also through unbelief.

(So much for "Once saved, always saved.")

Look also at verse 23, which reads:
If Jewish people do not continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted onto the tree again, because God is able to do that.
There goes Double Predestination and Limited Atonement. Broken-off unbelievers rejoining the people of God!

Strong Tower continues:
And the same with what Jesus said: [. . .]“To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given [. . .] I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled [. . . .]’"
Later in Matthew 13, the Apostles receive an explanation of the parable of the sower. Does that mean the Apostles were blind, deaf, and uncomprehending unbelievers?

No. The Apostles listened to God, and He gave them explanations to His parables in and to which an unbeliever would have neither interest nor access.

Note also in this parable that the Word of God goes out to all soils (hearts).
Does God steal the seed? No, the devil does.

Does He make the soil rocky? No, that's a faith that falls away.

Does He make the thorns grow and choke the Word? No, those are human cares and lusts.
Do not make examples of Man's unbelief proof of God's malice.
If it was the mere preaching of the Word that saves and that all could be saved by the mere hearing of it and choosing to believe it, why is it that Jesus says that the preaching that he did actually accomplished the opposite in some. Why too would Jesus not pray for the entire world, John 17:9 if indeed what you are saying is true?
I've never said that we "choose" to believe the Gospel. One dead in trespasses can choose nothing. In fact, Christ said, "You did not choose Me; I chose you." All we can do is reject God's gifts through unbelief, as noted above.

What does God say? "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). We are saved by His grace, through faith, and God offers these to all.

Do not make the fact that some reject God's gift proof of His not giving it.

As for John 17, He says He was praying specifically for His disciples. This was just before He was to be betrayed. Is it unusual to pray for loved ones before leaving them?

Is not praying for someone proof of condemning them? That makes no sense, especially in light of the many passages where God states explicitly His love for all people.
The reality of what Scripture teaches is that God does as he wills and in part that includes the blinding and hardening of the people not elect.
We've seen that the hardening is connected to unbelief, and that God says unbelievers will be accepted if they "do not continue in their unbelief."

In response to my questions, "Are you implying that Christ only wants some people to be saved? Where does He say that?" Strong Tower responds with:
Will all people be saved? Then no . . . .
He wants to blame God's "sovereignty" for the fact that people will be condemned.

But that is not what God says. He says that those who end up in Hell do so entirely on their own account: First, they sin. Second, they reject the only payment for sin (other than their own torment), which is the body and blood of Christ given and shed for them.

Jesus said, "Many are called, but few are chosen." God calls "many" (all), but most reject His call through unbelief.

One last observation: Using Strong Tower's logic, Christ's executioners were Christians, since He prayed for His murderers, "Father, forgive them."

Friday, August 22, 2008

The wisdom of God is foolishness to Calvinists

Here's a site worth checking out.

An observation on Calvinism versus Universalism versus the Word of God:
although Luther’s theology used reason to discover Biblical truths, his resultant theology sometimes ended up being quite “unreasonable.” That is to say, it embraced logical absurdities. He would simply not allow reason to stand in judgment of Scripture.

Luther believed that if something was taught in Scripture it didn’t matter to him if he and others thought it to be absurd. He saw, as did few before or after him, that logical attempts to escape from something clearly taught in Scripture often just ended in another kind of contradiction - contradicting the words of Scripture itself. This, to him, was more absurd than accepting a Biblical paradox on pure faith.

So Luther had no difficulty teaching contradictory absurdities. The saved are predestined to salvation, but the lost are not predestined to damnation. The saved cannot lose their salvation and, oh, by the way, yes they can. No one can make a decision to accept Jesus, but we can make a decision to reject Jesus. The saved are saved entirely by God, but the condemned are condemned entirely by themselves.

These are, to most theologians and philosophers, logical absurdities.

So it would be quite in keeping with Luther’s way to accept and believe in the universal restoration of all, and - at the same time - accept and believe in the eternal punishment of some. Both are taught in Scripture, so both can be believed and taught.
No only "can" be, but should be, since they are the Word of God!

Here's my comment:
The problem that Calvin's disciples have is that they make Reason more important than Scripture, and this causes them to attribute to God statements He does not make.

It's similar to the problem Israel found with the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah: Suffering Servant and Mighty King?

Our answer is "Two Messiahs."

God's answer is, "Yes."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Darwinism's utter lack of intellectual integrity

Of course, it is unfair to generalize about all members of a group based on one person, but the lack of intellectual integrity demonstrated by this Darwinist is representative of the logical gymnastics one must go through in order to believe the Darwinian creation myth.

The comments below are offered in response to Salamantis at Little Green Footballs. The thread was closed before I could reply.

Responding to my comments with the intellectual equivalent of, “I know you are, but what am I?” indicates an inability or unwillingness to reason.

After what I thought was your honest attempt to present empirical evidence of vertical speciation, you've continued with red herrings, false tu quoques, straw man arguments, and repetitions of the same non-evidence.

I don't mind repeating important facts, but at this point, you've demonstrated a resistance to facts:

I. MISREPRESENTING MY WORDS
You state falsely that I claim Darwin advocated abiogenesis. What I have stated is that Darwinism – the atheistic naturalism underlying Neo-Darwinian Evolutionary Theory -- needs abiogenesis for its creation myth to be complete.

Rather than be honest and admit you have no evidence for vertical speciation, you accuse me of misrepresenting Evolution.
II. PERSONFICATION
You claim also that I misrepresent your words regarding personification. How is it "misrepresenting" your statements if you're using personification and I say, "You're using personification"?

Here are some examples of your (apparently) subconscious admission on the nature of Life:
"Nonrandom," means, "having a definite plan, order, or purpose.” Blame Dawkins.

"End," means, "goal."

"Exigency," means, "need."

"Impose," means, "to force on another."

"Allow," means, "to permit."

"Build," means, "to construct," or, "to develop according to a plan."
You use words implying Will and Intellect for blind, impersonal, ignorant, random, natural forces.

I didn't invent the language. Don't blame me.
III. STRAW MAN ARGUMENTS AGAINST "CREATIONISM" DON'T DEMONSTRATE VERTICAL SPECIATION
You continue to bring up the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and a 6000 year-old Earth. I've mentioned neither, which reinforces the impression you haven't really read what I've written.

(By the way, 6000 years is not "the Genesis date." I've read Genesis. So should you. It's a good book.)
IV. DEFINING MACROEVOLUTION, AND THE USE OF "RANDOM"
In referring to speciation, an essential distinction must be made between the two parts of Macroevolution: Organisms which can no longer reproduce but are the same kind of animal on the one hand and new species possessing newer, more complex genetic program, structure, and function on the other.

The former I call, "lateral speciation;" the latter, "vertical speciation."

Lateral speciation is observable. Vertical speciation no one has observed occur.

In fact, you admit we cannot observe it.

To claim as unassailable scientific truth something impossible to observe is convenient for the person making the claim.

Unfortunately, it isn't Science.

With regard to the use of the word, "random," I understand what your buddy Dawkins wants. Since the nature of Life points unavoidably to Intention, he tries to attribute that intent to ignorant, natural processes.

The only problem is, "nonrandom" means "having a plan, goal, or objective." You cannot attribute intent to Nature.

Unless you're an animist, that is.
V. DARWINISM'S BAD LOGIC
You wrote of Man showing that arose without a Designer by creating experiments “specifically DESIGNED” to do so.

You infer from the fact of lateral speciation that vertical speciation occurs, though no one has ever observed it. No one has demonstrated that it can occur.

In other words, assuming that all Life arose from your Magic Mud Monsters by only random, natural processes without any empirical (observed) evidence is science fiction, not Science.

Additionally, how is it a "lame, stuffed straw man" to demand empirical evidence of vertical speciation from someone claiming scientific truth? Especially when you admit no one can observe it?

Changing the subject, attacking others' creationist arguments (not mine), and mis-stating what I've written do not constitute empirical evidence of vertical speciation!

Similar genetic code is evidence of . . . similar genetic code. No one's observed vertical speciation occur by only evolutionary processes.

All Darwinists can do is point to random mutations that never result in more than the same kind of animal as proof that random mutations have resulted in more than the same kind of animal.

As I've noted before, similar genetic code is most logically evidence of the same programmer. No one would say that DOS evolved into Mojave by only random, natural processes, right?
VI. GOOD CHRISTIANS VS. GOOD EVOLUTIONISTS, AND WHY THE TWAIN SHALL NEVER MEET
A "good" Christian would say what Moses said, that in the beginning (before sin entered the world), God made all Life by His word, and it was "very good."

No sickness, no death, no suffering.

Christ affirmed Moses' work as true.

On the other hand, a good evolutionist says that all Life came about through an accumulation of random, minor genetic mutations in organisms that appeared magically out of the ground.

Since such mutations often kill an organism (or make it really, really sick), Darwinism teaches that Life arose through sickness, death, and suffering.

The two explanations are mutually-exclusive. There is no middle ground.

And I thought you might appreciate this from your buddy Frank:
"recognize that there are things outside of nature, namely God, for which the tools of science are not well designed to derive truth. The middle-ground position is that there is more than one way to find truth, and a fully formed effort to try to answer the most important questions would not limit you to the kinds of questions that science can answer . . . ."
Where have I heard that before? :)
VII. THE LACK OF EMPIRICAL SUPPORT FOR VERTICAL SPECIATION BY ONLY RANDOM, NATURAL PROCESSES
Admitting that the only way we can observe vertical speciation is by human intellect manipulating the raw materials of Life is not proof that vertical speciation occurs apart from Intellect.

If I'm asking you for empirical evidence of vertical speciation, but you don't have any, who's got, "metaphysical predispositions" and "sectarian predilections”?

"Empirical" means "observable." If you can't observe and test, and replicate the observations and testing, it isn't Science, it's Creative Writing.

Have you found any empirical evidence of vertical speciation yet? Posters and E. coli remaining E. coli -- even after tens of thousands of generations -- do not qualify.
VIII. CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION
Again, similarity of genetic code demonstrates . . . similarity of genetic code. Assuming that chimpanzees and humans shared a common ancestor leads to the belief that their shared program indicates they shared a common ancestor. That is a tautology.

I've never said that "being unable to observe something means it never happened." Those are your words.
IX. FALSE ATTACKS AGAINST SCRIPTURE DO NOT CONSTITUTE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE OF VERTICAL SPECIATION BY ONLY UNGUIDED, NATURAL PROCESSES
Your reference to 1 Kings is spurious. First, it doesn't provide you empirical evidence of vertical speciation.

Second, how do you think they came up with those numbers? The author thought,
"I don't remember what Pi is, so I'll just use 3"? They were measuring in cubits, and it's the difference between 30 cubits and 31.416.

Is it possible someone rounded? It also seems reasonable that perhaps the measurement was taken on the inside circumference (the text states it was a "handbreadth" thick) of the vessel?
X. STRAW MEN EVOLVED FROM STRAW MONKEYS
It is an observable fact that human beings are born to their parents.

You admit it is impossible to observe human beings arise from the first, magical single cells.

I provided Darwin's quote on the eye in a previous post along with a reference to his flawed solar analogy. It is intellectually dishonest of you to imply that I was trying to misrepresent what he wrote.

Arguing that no competing scientific theory of origins exists does not make one claiming Life arose by random, natural processes true.

Human beings creating Life from raw materials is not evidence of Life arising from non-life by only random, natural processes.
XI. CONCLUSION
We know empirically that Life only arises from Life and Life's programs.

We know empirically that no program arises apart from a programmer.

We know empirically that no machine arises apart from a designer.

I've asked you for empirical (observable) evidence of random, minor genetic mutations resulting in organisms possessing newer, more complex program, structure, and function.

You've admitted that you have none. All you've offered is proof of microevolution and lateral speciation. You and your experts use words like, “probably,” “might have,” and “circumstantial,” all of which admit you don't really know.

With 20 years, tens of trillions of cells, and tens of thousands of generations of mutating E. coli and with what do you end up?

E. coli!

When you find some empirical evidence for vertical speciation by random, natural processes, let me know.

If you can't, then to persist in a belief not only without support but contrary to all experience would be unscientific, at best.

Assuming that similarity in code, structure, or function indicates common descent is bad logic, not good science.