Atheists Tear Out Pages from the Bible

I would take atheists a whole lot more seriously if some groups didn’t pull juvenile stunts like this.

In a public display of opposition against Christianity, a group of atheists on Saturday tore apart photocopies of Bible verses that they view as immoral and illegal.

The demonstration was led by more than a dozen members of a humanist group called Backyard Skeptics at the base of the Huntington Beach pier in Southern California.

Some of the passages the group opposed included Matthew 5:29 and James 5:14-15, which states:

“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will [c]restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up …” (NASB)

Bruce Gleason, who heads the group, told The Christian Post earlier that he was “doing this to make this a better world” because he felt that “reason, science, and critical thinking will do much more than prayer and belief.”

I wonder just what the Backyard Skeptics were trying to accomplish beyond getting their names in newspapers. They are not likely to make any converts to Atheism this way. They are not going to increase public acceptance of their beliefs by offending people. Of course offending people was not their intent.

He insisted that they weren’t trying to offend people. Only printed sheets of paper of the Bible passages were expected to be torn. But near the end of Saturday’s event, the outspoken atheist ripped out a few pages from the Bible.

Well, if they do not think that tearing pages out of a book considered by many to be sacred scripture to be offensive, than I double dog dare them to rip up a Koran.

Somehow, I think they would rather stick their tongues to a frozen flagpole, less dangerous.

Here is their website. They do seem to be determined to offend as many people as possible. I wonder why it doesn’t occur to these people that calling someone ignorant and stupid is not going to endear them to your cause.

On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision

In these skeptical times, in which books by the so-called New Atheists make the bestseller lists, it is more important than ever for Christians to be able to explain their faith clearly and reasonably. This is necessary to not only defend the faith from attacks from the New Atheists but also to, as Peter wrote,

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)

A Christian who goes out into the world without knowledge of apologetics is like a soldier going into battle unarmed.

Fortunately, William Lane Craig provides the tools you need with his book On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision.

On Guard is no less than a training manual for the defender of the faith. Craig teaches the reader good reasons to believe in Christianity and how to argue these reasons convincingly.

After the first two chapters, in which he introduces the subject of and necessity for apologetics, Craig uses the next section to explore reasons to believe in the existence of God. He does not specify the Christian God in this section, nor does he rely on revelation. Instead, Craig uses the Cosmological and Moral arguments, asking why anything at all exists, why is the universe so fine-tuned, where do our ideas on morality originate. I think that this section could be used by the believers of any of the monotheistic religions, Jews, Muslims, even Deists, with very little modification.

Chapter seven deals with the questions of suffering and evil in the face of a good, omnipotent Deity. The final three chapters deal specifically with the Christian faith, giving evidence for the historical existence of Jesus and His resurrection. I think that this final section is slightly weaker since it seems to me that Craig did not spend enough time establishing the historical reliability of the Gospels but seemed to grant their accuracy for granted.  I also think that the book could have used a chapter defining what faith is and is not. Faith is not believing in things that you have no evidence.

Despite the two minor reservations I have mentioned, On Guard is a valuable resource for any Christian interested in apologetics, or who simply wants to explore why he believes what he believes.

Do Atheists Have More Fun?

Heather Wilhelm asks the question in this article about Penn & Teller‘s Penn Jellette’s new book God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales. The column is worth reading as she addresses some of Penn’s objections.

Jillette‘s main problems with the man upstairs can be difficult to quote, given his fondness for F-bombs and earthy references to his favorite body part. On one page he blasts the “arrogance” of those who claim to have knowledge of a higher power. On the next, he rather confidently declares “No! There is no fricking God!” (He said something other than “fricking,” but I’m making this PG-13, repressed and Christian-y.)

Contradictory? Absolutely. Many of the objections in God, No!, in fact, are addressed in Tim Keller’s excellent book, The Reason for God, which illustrates the many leaps of faith that unbelievers must take. “Skeptics believe that any exclusive claims to a superior knowledge of spiritual reality cannot be true,” Keller writes — but this, ironically, is “also an ‘exclusive’ claim about the nature of spiritual reality.”

Similarly, Keller writes, atheists who try “to follow John Rawls and find universally accessible, ‘neutral and objective’ arguments” for a moral society will inevitably fail. In God, No!, Jillette does just that, offering “human intelligence, creativity and love” as the highest ideals.

But where do these, and other “suggestions” in the book, come from? In the end, Keller notes, people affirm “the equality and dignity of human individuals simply because [they] believe it is true and right. [They] take as an article of faith that people are more valuable than rocks or trees — though [they] can’t prove that scientifically. [Their] public policy proposals are ultimately based on a religious stance.”

For my part, I do not believe it is possible to develop an ethical or moral system without the aid of religion of some sort. Philosophers have tried to create a system of morality based solely on reason but I do not believe they have been very successful. This is not to say that there are many moral and good atheists, but they are using the moral values of the Judeo-Christian ethic. When they say that such and such is right and such and such is wrong, they are making use of norms that have already been developed.

Not only that, but where do they get the idea that there is in fact a right and wrong? It seem to me that of only the material world exists then questions of right and wrong are merely the personal opinion of each individual. What is right is what benefits me. What is wrong is what harms me. I doubt many atheists or non believers are willing to take things that far, but that is the end result of their beliefs.

Wilhelm ends her article by using C. S. Lewis to illustrate a point.

After Jillette’s mother died, as he describes in his book, “It was a time for sadness and memory, and it was also a time for pure, raw, empty hate at the pain of life.” The pre-conversion C.S. Lewis had a similar feeling: “My argument against God,” he wrote in Mere Christianity, “was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust.”

But then there’s more. “But how had I got this idea of just and unjust?” Lewis continued. “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?” Eventually, Lewis saw his argument against God buckle and he turned out to be one of the leading Christian thinkers of the 20th century.

Just so. Again, if all that exists are atoms and the void, to quote Epicurus, than any ideas of right and wrong are so many phantasms.

But, to answer the question above, do atheists have more fun? I cannot say but judging from the screeds some of them are always writing against Christianity, they do not seem to be a particularly happy lot. The Hitchenses, Dawkinses, and Harrises of the world seem to be going around with a chip on their shoulders, which is not the happiest way to live.


Campus Crusade for Christ Changes Name

From the Appealdemocrat. The Campus Crusade for Christ is changing its name to “Cru”. What is Cru supposed to mean?

After 60 years, officials announced Tuesday night that the international evangelical ministry is changing its name – to “Cru.”

“This is the right time to embrace a new name, and … this name meets our objective of achieving a greater level of effectiveness in ministry,” said Steve Douglass, the organization’s president. “This decision has been saturated with prayer. We only want what God wants for us … We believe this new name will position us to connect better with the next generation.”

Chosen from 1,600 suggestions, the name already has been used on a majority of the group’s U.S. campus ministries since the mid-1990s. Though some followers worried in online forums the name might be confused with a rowing club, the organization said change was due.

“Has the old name hurt the organization? We do believe so,” said Steve Sellers, vice president of the expansive Orlando-based organization. “The name alienation among the general population was significant.”

I can see that Christ might alienate some people. We wouldn’t want to think that Cru has anything to do with Christianity.

If the directors of Cru are concerned that having the name of Christ in their name might make them unpopular, perhaps they should refer to the words of Jesus, who warned his disciples they should not expect to be popular.

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ (John 15:18-25)

And John writes,

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. (1 John 2:15-27)

And I will finish with this warning.

  8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.        (Luke 12:8-9)


Moral Equivancy about Norway

I didn’t think that it would take the Left long to exploit the killings in Norway to promote their own agenda and I was right. At the very least they will use this atrocity to pretend that Christianity is somehow inherently violent while still refusing to make the connection between the violent teachings of Islam and the violent acts of some of the adherents of that faith.

Consider this cartoon which appeared in USA Today today.

If I were unencumbered by facts and logic as many liberals are,  I could see the parallel between two isolated incidents sixteen years apart and the more than 17,000 terrorist attacks by Jihadists in just the last ten years since 9/11. Not to mention the fact that Timothy McVeigh identified himself as an agnostic and was inspired by “The Turner Diaries“, which was written by William Pierce, a neo-Nazi who had contempt for Christianity.It’s not clear yet what Anders Breivik’s religious affiliation is, but it is notable that, as far a I know, he did not quote from the Bible to justify his murders, nor have any Christian leaders, of any denomination done anything to condemn both of these murderers. In contrast, Osama bin Laden was considered a hero by many Muslims and violence is still preached in all too many mosques in the West.ut

There is simply no parallel between the actions of an evident lunatic and terrorists acting on the teachings of a religion that does indeed preach hate and intolerance. But, look for this distinction to be blurred by the media in the coming days, weeks, and years.