Scripture

If it quacks like a duck….

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Some idiot, and the idiot is me, set my alarm clock to the sound of a duck. I guess I thought that, due to my propensity to sleep through tornado sirens, an odd sounding alarm would do the trick… and what better than the joyful sound of a duck. That’s a rhetorical question, for I now have a list of sounds that would in fact be better to wake up to than a duck, and dying cats is one of them. BUT, the important point is that it did indeed do the trick, and I woke up on time. It also made me spend my entire drive to work fantasizing about the various ways in which a duck can be killed. I came up with hundreds during my 20 minute drive, people. Hundreds. And I got creative.

The above serves absolutely no purpose other than to a) creep you out, and b) show you what kind of mood I was in while getting ready this morning and reading Facebook posts and tweets. Everyone has an opinion about the ISIS controversy, and now I have foundation on my pants after reading a post and dropping my bottle in utter shock of the stupidity. (SIDE NOTE: Due to my lack of energy, we’ll blame it on ducks, I didn’t change my pants.) The person that made the comments on this particular status – which was simply one of many people making similar comments & posts – has no idea what his ignorance made me do, nor that my extra cup of coffee this morning was named after him. Seriously, I wrote his name on my McDonalds coffee cup. You’re welcome, Sir. Petty? Yes. But I was tired, and now have to work off an extra cup of coffee containing copious amounts of sugar and cream, as well as remove a foundation stain, because of this particular person. And of course ducks. Can’t forget about the ducks.

“Why is the name —– on your coffee cup?”

“Oh, curious coworker, let me tell you.”

Ok, so this particular person took to Facebook to attack fellow Christians for wanting to take out ISIS. After thoroughly mocking those who want to stop ISIS from beheading human beings, he quoted this set of verses.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:38-48

First I’d like to point out that it’s a bit difficult to turn the other cheek when someone has removed your head. Second, this verse is talking about the victim forgiving, not the people that should step in and stop the madmen from decapitating infants with dull blades. But you know, context is overrated. I adore this verse, it reminds me that I need to forgive the person on my coffee cup, for I was a victim of his dumb comment, or my pants were, maybe they should turn the other cheek (Pun intended? Maybe.)? I’ll need to mull this over.

My favorite so far though is “ISIS needs the gospel more than anyone else.” That is a HUGE assumption. It’s such a big assumption that if I assume unicorns exist, I’d have better odds. Sin is sin, and all fall short. So technically radical ISIS members, while barbarians, are on par with the rest of the world in their need for salvation, including those that are being beheaded by them. Yes, many Christians are being attacked and killed, but many non-Christians are as well. I’d say it’s pretty even if you look at news reports. Since the brave and threatening hashtag diplomacy has taken over, innumerable non-Christians have been beheaded or murdered in some other grotesque way. So basically you’re saying that one group of non-Christians deserves to hear the gospel more than another. Maybe I didn’t read the bible correctly, but from what I understand, when they stand in judgment, those non-believing victims will be held to the same accountability standards as members of ISIS for their unbelief. So claiming that radical members of ISIS somehow need Jesus more is weak and silly, and kind of revolting if you think about it.

Most of these eye opening revelations that I’ve read have, shockingly, come from recent graduates who majored in theology, and now they know everything there is to know about the bible. And most of them believe that God himself predetermined the beheadings, that’s a whole different kettle of fish, and they can make it sound really good if you just give them a chance. Yes, Christians, our churches are filled with people who believe that God Himself orchestrated the beheading of infants. This, my friends, is why I have a “Top 10 Reasons Why We Deserve What’s Coming” list. Many of them have attacked Phil Robertson for saying that “In this case you have to convert them, which I think would be next to impossible, I’m not giving up on them, I’m just saying convert them or kill them. One or the other.” What a hillbilly, am-I-right?! So yes, I’m going to call out the multiple Christians that had huge threads on their timelines that were solely devoted to mocking Phil Robertson for his comment. Not talking about the heartbreaking acts that are taking place in Iraq, no, they were simply saving the world 1 Phil Robertson joke at a time. I even saw some Sarah Palin, George Bush, and Sean Hannity jokes that were thrown in for good measure. I know that Phil didn’t swallow a thesaurus and make his basic argument unnecessarily indigestible so as to appear to be of higher intellect than the fumbling Christians that didn’t spend such intense time (2-4 years) in theological studies – she says sarcastically – but he makes a point, guys.

Checkmate, Evolution.

Last night I made a post about our President’s comments concerning his goal to make ISIS manageable. I won’t comment on that in this post, but I will post a comment that I received on that post. In my post I loosely compared radical members of ISIS (I’m going to talk about the “radicalized” part later in this post) to the Nazi regime. The following comment hit the nail on the head:

And even so, the Nazi mentality – while also purely evil – was more ideological and less religious zealousness. They (the foot soldiers) were willing to fight for the cause but if overwhelmed, overwhelmingly surrendered. The ISIS extremists are – to a person – jihadists who would die for the cause. They are not reluctant soldiers enlisted by their government. They are – each and every one of them – martyrs willing to do what it takes to eradicate the Israelites, the Christians, the Westerners, the enemies of “Islam”, far more willing to die than to face the shame of surrender. There won’t be stories of Christmas truces of both sides meeting in the trenches to sing Silent Night. In order to preserve innocents and innocence, and quite frankly to be good stewards, I agree- They must be met head on. Enough force to turn back an opponent whose only goal and only acceptable outcome is to kill, is to kill first.”

This person avoided having his name written on my coffee cup.

So, let’s break this down by answering 4 important questions:

1. What does “radical” Islam even mean?

I’ve had a lot of well-meaning believers tell me that they have friends who are peaceful Muslims, and they use the term “radical” – as I did above – to describe those that act in violence. This is all fine and dandy, except that you open doors to be labeled a “radical” yourself simply by following the bible. While the Old Testament contains violence, which those defending peaceful Muslims are quick to point out, there is a big difference between the Quran and the Bible. The verses in the Quran are not restrained by historical context, they remain open ended.

“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” – Quran (8:12)

“And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder/unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah” – Quran (8:39)

The Quran then goes on to chastise those who are not willing to pick up the sword against those who don’t follow him. So, what we label as “radicals” are actually individuals who are taking the Quran seriously. Those that we label as “peaceful” simply don’t adhere as strictly to the Quran. Following the basic tenants of the Quran are “radical.” So if 80% of Muslims are simply “less devout,” does that truly make the other 20% “radicals”? Yes & no… Having extreme views that aren’t widely shared? Yes. Different and new from what is traditional? No. The 20% who are “radical” walk the walk. So, by standing for traditional marriage, you are a radical Christian if going by the same standards that you place on Islam. Let’s all be happy for once that the majority of human beings don’t strictly adhere to the principles of their religion.

2. Why do you hate Muslims?

I don’t. Let me repeat: I DON’T HATE MUSLIMS. I’m just trying to point out the holes in so many of these weak arguments. “I have Muslim friends” is not anywhere close to being a strong argument for your beliefs. I’m not attacking your friends.

According to various reports, the percentage of “radicals” is anywhere between 15-25%. Low, right? No, in comparison to the Nazi Regime, the Soviet Union, etc. that is high. The other 80% do not matter. I don’t need to hear about your friends, because I am well aware that there are plenty of Muslims living in America that aren’t waiting to behead me when they get the chance. I’m sure they like long walks on the beach, dinner parties, and movie nights. I am aware of the fact that many Muslims serve in the military. I’m also aware that they don’t matter. The Muslims that do matter, are the 15-25% that do want to behead me, as well as anyone that doesn’t agree with them, if they get the chance. They matter. There are incredibly peaceful atheists living in our world, they’re not important in discussions chastising Hitler. The “peaceful” Muslims, Germans, Russians, etc. are irrelevant. This is the same issue that I have with law enforcement – Stop touting good cops during police brutality discussions, because unless they are standing up and fighting against militarization, or police brutality, they are irrelevant to the debate.

Peaceful Germans stood by and watched millions of Jews be slaughtered, so, are they relevant to the bodies bulldozed into landfills? Nope. End of story. If your Muslim friends would like to come out against ISIS, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, etc. I’d love to hear their opinions and offer my support, but don’t use them as your version of the race card to try and say that we shouldn’t attack those that are relevant, as well as the book that they use to justify their killing.

3.They aren’t always like this, right?

A lot of people yelled and screamed about the Iraq war, some didn’t agree that we should have been involved over there at all due to the cost, or felt that it was wrong to retaliate. Some really special people actually believed that George Bush orchestrated it all, bless their hearts. I’m not addressing those viewpoints – even though I have opinions of my own. I’m addressing the fact that much of the push back was due to the fact that news crews were interviewing Iraqis that were on their laptops in more developed communities, and they – as if on cue – whined to the media that America was haphazardly murdering civilians. Kind of like Hamas has done with the IDF? Hmmm…

Anyway, the truth? It is very common during non-war times, just as it is now, for women to be raped, murdered, abused, etc. legally in many Middle Eastern areas. They are not equal with men, and are viewed as property. It is normal for Homosexuals to be found guilty and receive a death penalty. It is normal for Christians to be heavily persecuted. It is also normal for Muslims that strictly adhere to the teachings of their religion to teach their children to do the same. They are raised with a hatred for Israel, as well as Western civilization, and a willingness to die for their faith. Not in a “I’ll die before I’ll deny my God” type of willingness, but a “I’ll sacrifice myself to do Allah’s calling” type of willingness. They are not simply confined to the ME, either. We have seen honor killings on American soil, and beheadings in the UK. Families that legally move here, then daughters slaughtered for becoming too “westernized,” why? Because they strictly adhere to their religion, and while they might not be planning terrorist attacks, this is what their strict beliefs demand of them. Once again, I’m not speaking against your peaceful Muslim friends, I’m just throwing out information concerning radicals.  

4. Shouldn’t we turn the other cheek?

Firstly, the above was a horrid use of Matthew 5: 38-48, and I really wish people would stop abusing it. In a world filled with evil people, often times war is necessary. Otherwise, think of the millions of additional human beings that would have been slaughtered under Hitler and Stalin, and imagine how much longer African Americans would have been held under slavery. War should never be fun, we shouldn’t look forward to killing individuals, but we should indeed be prepared and willing to protect the innocent, by lethal means if necessary, because they are willing to die before letting you save the innocent. Right now subhuman savagery is taking place, and has been taking place for a long time in the Middle East. So, say what you will, but the God of the bible, the lover of justice, and the one that condoned war on many occasions, would not tell you to “turn the other cheek” while watching madmen saw off someone’s head.  The truly detestable and facepalm worthy moment for Christians is when they act like turning the other cheek while the actual victims suffer is somehow a sacrifice and showing of decent fruit on their part. And when you do something that heartless and stupid, you rightfully earn a place on my coffee cup.

As we learn in the Quran, they are not interested in peace. They are not interested in ending the suffering. They are interested in conversion or annihilation. Someone made this point on one of the posts I read this morning, and it was countered with “but you want to do the same thing to them!” Not true, not even close to true. I don’t want to annihilate all Muslims, I don’t want to annihilate anyone, I want them to stop slaughtering others, and due to their adherence to their scripture – which unlike ours, demands them to slaughter – the only way to do that is to take out the individuals who are slaughtering innocents. They were given another option, they do not give us another option. That’s like saying that the person who shoots a mass murderer while trying to stop him is somehow guilty of the same crime that the murderer was committing. No. The murderer had a choice to do what was right, the one defending wasn’t given a choice. It’s not “like” that scenario, people, it IS that scenario. Is that saying that we should proclaim war against the moderate Muslims, the less devout in our own country? Absolutely not.

The point of all of this:

I’m tired of beating around the bush. I’m done beating around the bush. While you sit peacefully in your living room patting yourself on the back for touting the “turn the other cheek” argument – and again, inaccurately so – the actual victims are facing quite a different reality. Imagine with me for a moment that the non-Christian victims can hear your words of pacifism. I wonder how impressed they would be with the children of God for bravely typing “I have to turn the other cheek” in response to their suffering, major emphasis on “their.” Stop pretending like our God is a pacifist, because according to the bible, He isn’t.

Forgive me for my bluntness, but the church needs to wake up, specifically the deeply intellectual hippy-esque theological demigods, and they need to do it yesterday. It’s not about left or right, or situating yourself somewhere in the middle so that you can point to the middle and brag, it’s about right and wrong. Period.

Beheading people = Wrong

Stopping barbarians from beheading people = Right

- MB

duck

“God’s Not Dead” and other ambiguous statements…

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First off, I’d like to note that I love Answers in Genesis, and I’ve used their site for research more times than I can count.

Second off…AiG??? I thought we were tight?! Like baseball and America, chocolate and happiness, pork chops and applesauce, pyromaniacs and matches?! Why’d you go and make a nonsensical post about God’s Not Dead?

In case you didn’t realize it yet, I strongly disagree with AiG’s view of God’s Not Dead. Roger Patterson wrote a review that pointed to what he believed to be the unbiblical nature of God’s Not Dead. In this post I’ll be adding a few of his points, as well as my response.

Being a natural skeptic myself, I tend to take issue with the idea that reason should not be held in high regard. I’m not cold hearted, but let’s just say that C.S. Lewis’s factual and pointed manner makes a deeper emotional connection with me than Beth Moore’s warm and fuzzy encouragement. Both are beneficial, and everyone has their preferences, but that’s the truth. I’m more apt to cry reading Ravi Zacharias than I am watching The Passion of The Christ.

I can be naïve, but not to the point of believing that Christians don’t have their seasons of doubt. I’ve had my share of those seasons, and remembering those moments make me thankful for sound reasoning. Maybe I was guilty of little faith, maybe I’m that annoying kid that constantly said, “nuh-uh”, to the unmitigated madness of those trying to convince me, flawed in my ability to “believe like a child”. But alas, I’m His annoying kid. We’ve often confused the biblical calling for childlike faith with the idea of simplistic faith. But as one apologist put it, we should believe like children, and haven’t we all been shocked by the number of questions children can ask?

So, to start, below is an excerpt from Patterson’s article:

In the first debate, Wheaton boldly declares to his classmates, “We’re going to put God on trial!”

Think about that for a moment. A college freshman is going to place a group of teenagers who are willing to sign away their souls to please a philosophy professor they don’t even know as judge and jury over the omnipotent Creator God of the universe.

While Wheaton sought counsel from a pastor on his decision, he might have done well to consult his Lord who plainly said when He was tempted in the wilderness, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Luke 4:12, ESV). Only a fool thinks he can sit as judge over the Judge of the universe.”

Alrighty. First, let’s break down the verse used. In Luke 4:12 Christ is quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, which, like in the wilderness, was a warning not to taunt God for proof of a divine revelation when he has sufficiently given them proof already. In Deuteronomy it gives a comparison, “as you did in Massah”. So, let’s follow the breadcrumbs: In Exodus we learn that Moses named Massah as such because it signifies “temptation”. The children of Israel were taunting God, giving ultimatums. He had already proven Himself to them time and time again, but they still taunted Him by demanding food, water, cattle, etc. in return for their devotion. If their needs were not met, they attempted to threaten the Almighty God by saying they would no longer believe. Coming to the conclusion that the Lord is not among them out of anger, not sound logic or lack of belief.

Example of such taunting: “Mommy, if you don’t give me a cookie you won’t be my Mommy anymore.”

Affirming their acknowledgment of existence in the very threat itself.

So what does that have to do with the above issue that Answers in Genesis has with the movie? Well, they’d have a legitimate point if Wheaton had said, “We’re going to put God on trial. Everyone sit here, if God’s real, he’ll drop Arby’s roast beef sandwiches and curly fries on all of our desks.”… But he didn’t make such an audacious request, he simply wanted to expose the factual evidence already given to an audience that had never sought out the evidence. Putting the evidence for God on trial, not God Himself. If they have issue with his verbiage, that’s fine, but the rest of their argument falls flat because the actions that went along with “putting God on trial” were no different than their own.

Let’s be honest, the real issue for Patterson is that the Movie didn’t proclaim from the rooftops that the earth is young. With all due respect, all other points were just excessive – and faulty – nitpicking.

Moving along.

Robertson continues with the following:

In approaching the issue in this manner, Wheaton ignores the truth of Romans 1:18–32. The people sitting in those seats and even the professor know God exists. The existence of God is not the question—whether they are willing to bow to Him as King is.

Wheaton could have agreed to the debate and used the Word of God as his foundation, as Jesus did in the wilderness temptation, but he chose to appeal to reason—the reason of fallen men and women whose minds are blinded by the god of this age.”

Reason is the modus operandi of the mind. Biblically, the mind is not merely a physical tool that keeps us alive, it is part of the soul. The bridge between a presupposition and a stable hypothesis is reason; however, there is nothing beyond a hypothesis to be found anywhere but in the Word of God. Wheaton’s foundation was the word of God, the issue is that, once again, he didn’t specify young earth creationism in his dialogue. It’s foolish to dismiss an entire movie and not help promote it simply because it encourages kids to think, but doesn’t clarify that they need to think exactly as you do. I would even go so far as to say this makes them as guilty as the atheists that claim audacious absolutes.

Wheaton’s goal was to open them up to the idea that a God exists, to make them think, not to appease the young earth creationist ideals, or the theist evolutionist ideals.

At the end of the movie all of the students proclaim that “God’s not dead”, but only one student gives his life to Christ. I would venture to guess that the majority of those in classrooms across America have at some point in time heard the gospel, yet walk away from faith because they were offered absolutely no reasoning. He used the bible to prove his point, he just didn’t articulate AiG’s exact position. Once again, he didn’t advocate for young earth creationism or theistic evolution, he simply asked people to think with an open mind.

I also take issue with their assumption that Atheists are simply lying about their belief in God. I would argue that while God writes His laws on the hearts of all men, it is possible that they have developed a suppression of knowledge.

Example: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” – Romans 1:28

God didn’t suppress their knowledge. They, and the world, in an act of free will built presuppositions that suppressed or belittled the existence of God. So, I could argue that what God’s Not Dead encouraged was not only belief in the existence of God, but they mainly wanted to bulldoze down the presuppositions built by man. It’s the idea of intuitive knowledge vs. beliefs built on human perception. Most atheists are not simply liars that actually believe in God but just aren’t telling anyone because they enjoy being deceitful. We won’t encourage them to think openly by vilifying their intentions. They’ve suppressed their intuitive knowledge like Pharaoh suppressed his intuitive knowledge of what was right in Exodus.

We can see that atheists exercise their biblical intuitive knowledge daily by attributing worth to human life, that doesn’t mean they have conscious awareness of their intuitive knowledge. SO, from that standpoint, it is quite logical to assume that no, their conscious awareness is not in the know that God exists. Yet, their anger towards a God that their conscious awareness claims doesn’t exist is indicative of the fact that intuitive knowledge is present, but deeply buried under the presuppositions of societal views on God. So yes, AiG, the existence of God is the question.

Additionally, if everyone knows about God, why does their site exist? To simply educate believers, or to encourage reasoning from both believers and unbelievers. I’ve always thought it was both.

In other instances, the Christians endorsing the movie are happy to accept the big bang and biological evolution as proof of God’s work in the universe.”

Huh? No, I’m happy to continue researching scientific findings knowing all the while that whether the earth was created yesterday, or 7 billion years ago, the only way it happened is through God and God alone. I’m also completely thrilled if a movie has the power to make students mull over the creator of the universe, regardless of when He demanded there be light.

Ultimately – and in my opinion – and certainly AiG and I would disagree as to whether or not it agrees philosophically with the bible, but the goal of the movie was neither to promote evolution nor creation, but, by Wheaton’s own admission in his opening statement, prove that modern philosophy cannot disprove the existence of God. Plain and simple. Ergo, the title of the movie. And again, in my opinion, mission accomplished.

– MB