"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Making A Case

This is the next installment on "Why I Am Not A Christian"

Early in my studying and teaching of apologetics, I was very awestruck at the amount and quality of evidence that demonstrates that the Bible is a supernatural book.  If you want more background on this, see my post, Knowing God: Part 1. The discovery of such evidence ended up making me angry.  Not at the evidence, but at the suppression of it.

Oh, it wasn’t suppressed deliberately by the church.  This was a suppression of apathy.  It is not isolated to the church, either.  This suppression is what has resulted in liberal, or reformed Judaism.  In fact, I would include all the sects of Judaism short of the Haredi, or what is known as the Ultra-orthodox Jews, and then apologetics as it is known in Christendom doesn’t really apply to them because to such orthodox types, they feel no need whatsoever to engage in apologetics.  They are as connected to Abraham and Moses as you are to your grandpa.  History is not some abstract thing that bores the snot out of college kids and seems utterly disconnected to anything meaningful in their lives.  To orthodox Jews, history is just as solid and real as the stones that make up the Western wall of the Temple Mount.

One might be asking, “If the evidence for the Bible is so strong, why don’t we hear more about it?  Why don’t Christians and Jews defend it?  Many people are not going to like the answer.  The secret to this problem is hidden in plain sight.  The perfect example of this is Joel Osteen’s church. In case you don’t follow him, Joel Osteen is the guru of positive thinking disguised as a Christian church. Years ago, I listened to five or six sermons on TV and understood why he could fill an arena.  His message had nothing to do with discipleship, dying to oneself, living for eternity instead of this world.  I have a very hard time thinking that Christians in Darfur would recognize his gospel, let alone try to live by it.

The natural inclination of the human species is self gratification.  We want what we want.  Because of that, we believe what we want to believe.  It takes courage and a willingness to suffer a lot of discomfort to question one’s self.  To ask, “Is this really true?  How do I know this is true?”    Name any “sin” that you can think of; something that you, personally, think is a sin.  How does it begin.  It starts because you desire something.  It grows closer to becoming reality as you dwell on it and then think of ways to justify it. As you think about it more and more, your thought patterns will center more and more on why you deserve to do that thing, and less and less about how it might hurt someone else.

This is how a man like Charles Darwin could grow up in a family in 19th century England, when most of the country and the modern world believed in the God of the Bible and His Word, and end up writing to convince others on the theory of evolution.  He was seeking ways to eliminate God from his life.  With each new discovery of fact in science, his theories become more and more ridiculous and untenable, but the people who continue to push them, have the same motivation he did. It can best be summed up by the grandson of Thomas H. Huxley, “Darwin’s Bulldog,” and the author of Brave New World:

“I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.”  -- Aldous Huxley

There you have it.  I still believe that apologetics is the handmaiden of evangelism; that true believers should answer the objections, on all levels, to the skeptics of the Bible.  We have nothing to be afraid of, and the evidence is on our side.  But I have no illusions that you can convince someone of the truth intellectually when they have personal and emotional reasons to fight it at all costs.  Being a member of a church can be no more demanding than being a member of Rotary or the Elks club. Recognizing that the Bible is the inerrant Word of the Creator of the Universe demands radical re-ordering and prioritizing of one’s life.

This relates to even the most dedicated Christians in a different way, but in just as dramatic a way nonetheless.  It can be extremely shocking and uncomfortable to suddenly realize that many things you had been raised to believe were just wrong.  You’d been told things as if they were just fact, based on nothing more than tradition.  You had never really checked into it yourself, because, after all, that’s the job of the pastor or priest.  You don’t have time for that.  He’s the one with the seminary degree.  What does a pastor do all week, anyway?  He’s got all that time to sit in his office and research all this stuff. Right?

Therefore, it is no wonder that when Christians start asking me why I follow Torah, they would accuse me of being like the “Judaizers” that Paul wrote about in his letter to the Galatians.  They put me in the same camp as someone who believes in legalistic adherence to the Law as the means to salvation.  In short, they don’t understand Paul’s argument, because for centuries, the clergy has taken selected verses out of the context of everything that Paul wrote and created a false doctrine.  This is why Peter wrote regarding Paul’s teaching in his letters, “ . . . as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”  (2 Peter 3:16)

I can prove from the Scriptures that Paul never made the case that we no longer have to follow Torah and that this is in keeping with what the Messiah taught.  I will demonstrate that what Paul was teaching was that you cannot expect adherence to the Torah to save you.  Paul was indeed teaching that to make adherence to Torah a condition for salvation was to do violence to the finished work of the Messiah.  But this in no way invalidates the fact that all the apostles and the other disciples of Messiah kept and continued to teach the keeping of all the Torah in accordance with the Master’s words in Matthew 5:17-19 and Luke 16:17 “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law (Torah) to fail.”

In the next installment, we will do something that seldom gets done in the church.  We are going to look at the entire Bible as a coherent whole.  If the Bible really is the Word of an omnipotent and omniscient Creator, it shouldn’t contradict itself, and I’m convinced that it does not.  Where I’ve heard contradictions about the Bible, they’ve come from the ideas and doctrines of men.

We are going to go step by step to logically and systematically examine the question of whether or not Yeshua ben Yosef, this Jesus from Nazareth, came to start a whole new religion, or whether he was simply fulfilling and continuing an existing revelation about the nature of God and His Kingdom.  We are going to do something that is almost unheard of in the Christian world; we are going to let the text speak for itself.

You can click here to go to the next installment:  Not Wanting To Know.


  1. I'm feeling an urge for a friendly debate, but I'll hold off until more of this series gets posted.

  2. I'm impressed. Did you read all of my posts on knowing God?

  3. I've only started reading here lately. Maybe I should hit the archives when I get some time.

  4. Thank you. The more background you have, the better.


Please don't make me disable comments because you couldn't maintain decorum and civil discourse. You can disagree all you want to, just don't get nasty.