Continuing in this new series, that I have titled “Hard Questions or Bad Arguments?“, part 1 is found here, we will continue our look at the “arguments” that J.H. McKenna has assembled in his post at Humanist Plus titled, “Little Things Can Make an Atheist”.
Looking at his third argument in his compendium, McKenna writes,
If God really spoke to the world, wouldn’t the world would be in convinced agreement about it? But what we see is a cacophony of discordant voices from innumerable religious sects. The very disagreements discredit them all.
Why would we assume that there would be agreement in a world of rebels? The very question that is asked assumes something that Scripture fundamentally denies: that man is neutral, which is simply a myth, as this video explains. Man, in his very heart of hearts, is a rebel against his Creator and God. Disagreement, therefore, is the result of those who hate God and his Truth aligning themselves against him. But just to demonstrate the fallaciousness of the argument, given the fact that there are scientists who disagree on “evolution” and what the term means and how it applies across a multitude of fields of study, does that mean that it is not true? Most certainly, McKenna would say, “No.” Therefore the assertion that, “The very disagreements discredit them all,” is not only a non sequitur, it is also self-refuting, because the person making the argument is disagreeing with everyone else, discrediting the argument.
In point four, McKenna writes,
To say that God has ‘mercy’ on humanity can only mean that God’s laws are either defectively harsh to begin with and required mercy to moderate them, or that God is defectively lenient in not applying his original punishments for infractions to his just laws. Either way ‘mercy’ indicates defect.
This argument demonstrates that the person does not understand what “mercy” is or why it was needed. Mercy is not a moderation of the law, rather it is something extended in an unearned way. Sinners deserve to be punished for their sin, but God extends mercy out of his generosity. It is a withholding of what is deserved in man’s sin. God doesn’t need to give us mercy, but he does so because of who he is. It’s like this, God could rightly give justice the very moment that we commit that first act of willful disobedience but he holds back because he is the one who has been wronged. What does King David plead before his Maker and Judge in the aftermath of his affair with Bathsheba
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. (Psalm 51:3-4, ESV, emphasis added)
That is why the Hebrew title of the psalm, captured in the first verse is,
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1, ESV, emphasis added)
Mercy isn’t a “defect” in regards to God’s law, it’s an entirely other category. God shows mercy to sinful creatures and they throw it back in his face.
One last point from McKenna for this post,
The divine sonship of Jesus is just as suspect as all other ancient ‘sons of God’ whose mothers were impregnated by a God. This was common in the era Christianity emerged in, and Christianity simply adopted the god-man motif.
Notice that he uses a capital-g, maybe it’s just how his computer is set up, but this is a common assertion, however there’s a problem here: the argument is assuming that naturalism is true. Anyone who has conducted a meaningful survey of ancient mythology–I’m using the term here to describe stories of human interactions with divine beings–can see a significant difference between the biblical accounts and hose of say Greece, Rome, and even Mesopotamia. The biblical title “sons of God” refers to a group of divine beings that are often so called because they were part of the divine bureaucracy.
These other gods, which Deuteronomy 32:8 refers to as “the sons of God,” were members of Yahweh’s heavenly host. Scripture elsewhere condemns both the members of the nations and their gods for disloyalty and corruption, showing that these foreign gods are fallen members of the heavenly host (Psa 82).
Heiser, Michael S. “Deuteronomy 32:8–9 and the Old Testament Worldview.” Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016. Print. More can be found here.
Further, the title “Son of God” finds special and unique significance in the person of Jesus Christ. The assertion that this was “common in the era” is simply absurd, unless he’s referring to the habit of ancient kings to make the claim that they were the “son” of a specific god, then he’s simply conflating claims. Either way this argument, when considered within the historical context, simply falls apart.