Does Christianity Encourage “Blind Faith”?

I have written on the nature of the Christian Faith in an earlier post as well as responded to a misrepresentation of it by Aron Ra. The question is, why does this myth persist that religious people, most often Christians, are accused of having a blind faith? Given the fact that atheists love to use the definition of “faith” as “believing without evidence”, attaching the adjective “blind” would seem to be engaging in a tautology. 

Earlier, I interacted with the de-conversion story of Suze Ambs, and I mentioned that her blog had some interesting posts on it that needed to be looked at, and this one seems to fit the bill. Titled, “Why is Blind Faith Encouraged”, I thought it might be worth parousing. 

Suze begins,

People sometimes ask, ‘Why doesn’t God/Jesus just shout down from the sky, or make himself clear directly?’

Well, there’s the problem: she assumes that God has not made himself clear. The problem is that is simply not the case:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20, ESV)

The apostle’s point is pretty clear: God has revealed himself sufficiently in the things that he has made for man, in his natural and unredeemed state, to be held accountable for any actions taken contrary to such revelation. Even the most hardened atheist expects to be treated with kindness and respect, immediately recoiling and complaining if he or she isn’t. The question is, why? It cannot be attributed to any material feature because honor and dignity are not material constructs but are immaterial, non-physical qualities. To argue that you are owed something that is metaphysical because of a physical quality is simply absurd. The question that Suze is asking, only makes sense if God has previously and unquestionably made himself known, something that she eludes to in the rest of her opening paragraph, where she writes,

I mean, he certainly didn’t have a problem doing that for the Israelites, right? According to the Bible, he was quite happy to prove himself by appearing as a great pillar of smoke by day that turned into a pillar of fire by night, leading the people. I guess in those days, this god didn’t require people to just ‘have faith’ that Moses’s claims were true.

I’m going to guess that she missed the fact that in spite of seeing those things, people still broke faith and suffered because of it, such as with the golden calf and Korah’s rebellion. I mean…with some people, I guess seeing isn’t believing. 

But having missed key elements in the biblical text that refute her, Suze persists,

Since that time, God hasn’t shown up like like that. (When the above is understood as divine mythology, there is nothing to reconcile.) But the question for believers is, why doesn’t he do that now? Has he has a personality change and gone shy?

Hasn’t “shown up like that”? What does that even mean? It’s like she hasn’t even opened the Bible and seen that there are lots of theophanies (such as here and here) that follows those events and proceed up until the greatest when the Son of God made his presence known. It’s as if these people want to impose on God. God isn’t obligated to these people; they are obligated to him.

Suze employs bold type,

Because we have to have faith!’ is the shut-up-and-leave-me-alone answer. In religion, faith is always the answer. It has to be. God must want the credulous, the gullible and the irrational.

Yes. We must have believing loyalty. It’s not about being “credulous” or “gullible” or “irrational”, it’s about loyalty. 

Suze rolls out the canned argument,

Seriously, please pause with me for a minute. Ask yourself if it’s sensible to believe a story told to you, without asking for objective evidence.

 

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What exactly does she mean by “objective evidence”? I’ve been down this road with Neil Carter and it’s got nothing to do with the evidence as much as the rejection and suppression of evidence. She continues,

If I told you there was a unicorn in my garden, would you just believe me, or would you want to see it?

That would, of course, depend entirely on what she means by “unicorn”. Suze’s error is much like the error of Aron Ra: there are underlying assumptions that she is not expressing in making her objection. I don’t know if Suze lives in a place where she could have a garden. I also don’t know what she means when she says that there’s a “unicorn” in her garden. Maybe she’s into those kitschy concrete sculptures and has bought one of something she describes as a unicorn and has placed it in her garden, or maybe she’s got a Rhinoceros unicornis out there. There’s a great deal of evidence that has to be considered before I can even begin to answer the question. This is why such arguments are, in fact, bad arguments.  

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Then she throws out this jewel,

It [the unicorn argument] would be pretty ridiculous for you to accept, and also particularly dangerous if I also said you’ll go to eternal torment if you don’t believe me.

Well, maybe if that was the actual argument, but straw man arguments are like that. What is the biblical argument? Simply put: you are under the wrath of God right now, therefore you should repent and believe in Christ. 

Now, what does it mean to “believe in Christ”? It means that he gets your loyalty and you obey him. He is your king and his will becomes your will as you endeavor to reflect his goodness and love onto your fellow human beings. That command comes through the means that God has ordained to speak now, in this age, that being the Bible, which is for, “…for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.(2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)”

After giving a fairly accurate recounting of the story of Lazarus and the rich man from Luke 16 in which Abraham informs the rich man that a man rising from the dead is not enough to convince men to amend their ways and believe, Suze writes,

Can we stop an marvel at this statement? The author of Luke is saying that mysterious, ancient writings should be more convincing to people than seeing a dead man resurrected. This is designed to make people who don’t question their religion say: ‘Oh yes, our scriptures are very important’. It is not a statement that holds any logical truth whatsoever.

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Alright, Jesus rose from the dead, why does she not believe? Is it because she didn’t see it or because she doesn’t want to believe it? Let’s just back up a step and look at the argument made by Abraham to the rich man. 

Why is Abraham and Lazarus in paradise? We know why Abraham is there, Genesis 15:6 states it clearly, “And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.(ESV)” Abraham’s believed what God said and lived in that belief, wavering a time or two, but culminating in what we see as a symbolic act, the offering of Isaac. Now, Abraham’s point is razor sharp, because it begs a question: why is the rich man where he is, in torment, and why is Lazarus where he is, at peace? It is because Lazarus believed based upon the Scriptures, the evidence that he had, while the rich man did not? Lazarus didn’t need a dead man come back to life to cause him to believe, God used the testimony of Scripture to move him to belief. These men had the same evidence and drew two different conclusions: one to eternal life and the other to an eternal death. If the rich man’s brothers don’t believe what—no, excuse me—who Lazarus believed, what on earth would cause them to believe Lazarus it he did rise from the dead?

Important takeaway for atheists: don’t use texts that refute your own argument. 

Suze decides to challenge the sovereignty of God in salvation, writing,

The Bible also says that God is in control of who believes and who doesn’t, in which case, Jesus’ answer should have been: ‘No, I want them to go to this place of torment with you.’

Well, first, the text that she links to is about judgment, the hardening of pharoah’s heart to bring about judgment on Egypt, not salvation. Even being reformed in my soteriology, I would argue that God doesn’t desire to put anyone into hell, demonstrated by the facts of revelation both in the production and wide availability of the Scripture. The fact that there are men who reject the revelation of God outright testifies to their depravity, rebellion, and love of sin, as well as the need for regeneration. God’s constant and consistent call is to believe and obey because disbelief and disobedience bring about his wrath, which brings bout evil that God must punish. Suze simply isn’t helping her case, after all the pharaoh she mentions had works and wonders worked in his presence and hardened his heart first, and God simply obliged his impetuous attitude. 

See also Why Do Some Believe?

She continues, employing the bold type once more,

Christianity completely cancels out its trustworthiness by claiming it’s the only way to get to heaven, but its particular God fails to confirm himself directly.

Um, hate to break this to her, but Christianity doesn’t claim that it is “the only way to heaven”, rather Christians claim that Jesus is the only way of salvation from the wrath of God and that he, being God in the Flesh, is the confirmation. 

She continues,

When it comes to the divine, people are mostly confused not rebellious.

Nope. If they were simply “confused” then they would self-correct when presented with the facts. No, they are self-deceived, suppressing the truth that is clearly evident to them because God has made himself clearly known. 

The Christian claims turn life into a confused hustle that could end in something horrible, all orchestrated by a higher authority. Not vastly unlike the Hunger Games, really.

Um, what does God require of man? 

What] does the Lord require of you 

  but to do justice, and to love kindness, 

and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8, ESV)

I mean, seriously, God doesn’t make it hard to understand. He doesn’t go out and select a bunch of kids, place them in an arena and make them slug it out until there’s only one left standing. This is the level of nonsense that atheists have to stoop to. It’s an insult to anyone with half a brain. I mean, exactly what is “confusing” about doing justice, or loving kindness, or even walking humbly with God, especially when he has inspired men to tell us what those things look like? Hmmm. 

Now, I will admit that there are a lot of people out there who will add a bunch of stuff to their Christianity that…well…I consider unnecessary, but as the Apostle Paul said,

[Let] us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. (Romans 14:13, ESV)

What I hear is Suze complaining that God’s simple demands, demands that Suze herself imposes on others, are simply too great for her to bear. 

Suze, sort of, shifts writing,

Believing something amazing without amazing evidence is just asking for trouble.

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Well, there’s the problem. “Amazement” is a subjective; it’s a personal, emotional state. What amazes one person, or group of people, might not amaze another. It’s not a something that you can objectively point to and say, “Because object ABC contains chemical XYZ it induces a state of “amazement” in experimental group 1 over and against our control group.” There is no moral requirement that you “be amazed” by something, but if you aren’t amazed by the absurdity of her statement, there might be something wrong with you. 

Suze’ next statement is equally troubling,

Religions stress the importance of blind faith because it’s their oxygen. It’s what keeps religion alive. 

To which she emphasizes the next sentence by using bold type,

Believing they must have blind faith is the genius (yet insidious) ingredient that ensures religion keeps its followers. 

Let’s just ignore the broad brushing for a moment, and ask, why do Christians believe what we believe…oh…about the resurrection of Christ?

We believe in the resurrection of Christ based upon the testimony of the eyewitnesses who saw him raised from the dead. Now that—as a historical fact—has certain implications that are theological, philosophical, and moral in scope. 

Now, and I’ve just been thinking as I write this, what an atheist means by “blind faith”. What they seem to mean is that we believe something that we haven’t seen with our own eyes. Never mind all of the other things that we believe that we haven’t seen, like our own birth, which we believe occurred, or that the Battle of New Orleans occurred in 1814, or that George Washington was the first president of the United States. None of those things have been seen by anyone born after they occurred. Obviously, you have to have been born, but you should see the point: that just because you haven’t personally seen some event that doesn’t mean that you are wrong for believing that it occurred or that there is meaning and purpose that can be derived from the event. Keep that in mind, simply as an act of an atheist making an arbitrary claim, and a place of inconsistency that destroys their argument. Also, keep in mind the fact that she has already issued a number of self-refutations so far in making her argument. 

Just as a further observation, something that came to mind as I reflect on the argument that she’s attempting to make, especially by the use of the term “insidious” that she’s making a moral claim. Moral claims require a justification. To what is she appealing to say that there’s anything wrong with that?

I would like to ask some simple questions: 

Is  it wrong to encourage married people to be faithful to their partners?

Is it wrong to encourage friends to be loyal to one another? 

These are all matters of faith. 

Suze continues,

Much of religion is indisputably illogical, unproven and has caused harm.

By what standard is it “illogical”? How is it “unproven”? And how has it “caused harm” and what standard are you going to appeal to in order to say that there’s anything wrong with that? This is simply a common blanket assertion used by atheists in an attempt to gaslight their opponents, not to mention the fact that it is a religious belief held in spite of evidence to the contrary. Talk about “blind faith”.

Her closing paragraph deserves to be read as a whole.

Thankfully, as the percentage of religious zealots declines, we are seeing a general increase in understanding, research, liberation, democracy, education, tolerance and peace. We have a long way to go yet. But the fact that my homeland now listens to its own intrinsic sense of rightness in priority over the Bible (and therefore no longer burns people of other denominations at the stake nor hangs homosexuals), is most encouraging. May reason prevail over faith.

Let’s be clear, religious “zealotry” is still there, it’s just that the religion has changed. Also, the fact that there is a greater state of peace has a variety of causes, one common point that is emphasized in the very source that she links to is the rise of nationalism. As societies go from disorganized, competing localities in competition to being organized, cooperating districts, then peace can ensue. Often what brings that about though—sociologically speaking—is a common religious thread. Now, she makes a number of claims right there at the end, one of which I’ve addressed here, but this is just not an argument, it’s a claim that she simply doesn’t prove, based upon blind faith in reason, in which people can reason themselves into committing the most heinous acts. 

187 comments

  1. “or what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” In that all religions make a similar claim, how do you propose to show that your version of your god is this creator?

    There is also the problem that many Christians claim that this god hasn’t made itself understood or known because of the problem that causes with the claim of free will.

  2. it’s also most curious that another Christian says that you are wrong “the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved. The Bible says that we must accept by faith the fact that God exists: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).” If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists. But if He did that, there would be no need for faith. “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:29). https://atheistsmetorthodoxy.wordpress.com/2019/03/04/383777262822/

    which Christian is to be believed?

      • That is the claim. Evidence for that claim? And how does it work with Paul’s supposed words that faith is needed to accept that this god exists? Why doesn’t Paul just say “he appeared” and that be it?

        Why should I believe your claim and not another Christian’s claim? Why do you differ so much in what you claim to be the truth?

      • 4 gospels that are known to be written decades after the supposed events. No evidence to show that the events claimed in them happened. 23 letters that are of various authorship. And 2000 plus years of Christians making contradicting statements about what their god wants, how to be saved and what will happen in the afterlife. We have many different sects of Christianity, all of which make the claim that their version is the only right one and which claim that the other sects are wrong at best and satanic at worst. How can you show your version is the only right one?

      • Why yes the historical account was indeed written that long after Alexander died. The problem with your claim is that we have evidence for Alexander and what he did in addition to the stories. We don’t have similar evidence for your claims of magic.

        We know that generals exist. We know that wars are fought. We have historical links from one conqueror to the next. There is little reason to doubt Alexander or Julius Caesar as historical figures. However, when it comes to biblical claims, that the exodus happened with 600,000 men plus women, children, and animals traveling around an area have the size of Pennsylvania and no one noticing and not one latrine found, or that some magical man died on a day that the dead walked around Jerusalem, that a major earthquake occurred and the sky went dark with no one noticing, there is a problem.

        The historical records we have are that Christians existed and they believed certain things. If you wish to claim that this is “evidence” for your god, then you will have to agree that any historical mention of believers in any god is evidence that those gods exist too.

        To put to bed your false claims that I haven’t read your post, I’ll address more of its silliness.

        Your claim: “We believe in the resurrection of Christ based upon the testimony of the eyewitnesses who saw him raised from the dead. Now that—as a historical fact—has certain implications that are theological, philosophical, and moral in scope.” has no evidence to support it. There were no eyewitness reports. Indeed, the gospels contradict each other, especially in the versions of the resurrection they tell. What did the thieves say, triggerman? That makes a difference in how your theology is to be seen. Were people able touch JC or not? That also makes quite a difference in your theology and stories that come after those claims.

        And it’s quite funny to see you insist that it’s not “blind faith” to believe with no personal knowledge of what happened. You believe blindly that the bible is true with nothing to support that belief. As I’ve shown, the bible authors are not trustworthy since they contradict each other. We have no evidence to support their claims, for that’s all the bible is, unsupported claims. it is not evidence for itself. It’s even funnier when Christians try to claim that evolutionary theory isn’t true and the big bang isn’t true because no one witnessed it. It’s a shame that Christians can’t get their stories straight and they keep stepping on each other’s arguments.

        And finally, and unsurprisingly, you try to claim that your religion is some font of objective morality. In that I would hope you would find genocide, murder of children, murder of non-believers to be horrible, you seem to have no problem when your god does it. This ends up that your morality is no more than might equals right, that your god can do such heinous acts for the simply reason it is powerful, not because the acts are objectively wrong or not.

        “Is it wrong to encourage married people to be faithful to their partners?
        Is it wrong to encourage friends to be loyal to one another?
        These are all matters of faith.”

        Nope, not matters of faith at all. You want to believe that only Christians like you are humane people. You are happily wrong. Human beings have cared for each other for far longer than your version of your religion has existed. Reality trumps the selfish claims of Christians like you.

        as for how religion has caused harm, that’s not hard to show at all. How many Christians have allowed their children to die because they were sure that their god would fulfill its biblical promises and heal them? How many Christians have killed each other because they thought only their version was right? How many people have Christians tormented by their beliefs that some people should be murdered per their bible? We know that many Christians claim that they must follow the commandments but funny how they only follow the ones that they pick and choose, ignoring the inconvenient ones. We know that they say that homosexuals deserve to die and Christians have killed homosexuals because of what the bible says. We know that Jews were murdered by Christians because of what the bible says. If you’d like evidence for this, please ask. and please do tell me if I’ve not addressed any of your supposed “refutations” because I certainly can.

      • so you’re reduced to that nonsense? Unfortunately, you can’t show that your god is necessary for anything at all. That is an a priori assumption made by all theists, no matter who their god is. To try to claim that your god is necessary to understand things is very silly. You can’t show that this is true at all, just like no other theist who worships another god can show that it is true.

        I think it’s great when Christians try to use terms that they have no idea what they mean. it’s the old attempt to baffle with bullshit. So, triggerman, explain this concept in your own words.

      • wow. again, we have triggerman, who can’t even show his version of his god exists, now wanting to claim that only this version of this god can make everything understandable. Most, if not every, religion makes this claim, triggerman. You assume a precondition that you cannot show exists.

        The Christian, or any theist, has to believe that his god exists and is the only god. This is an a priori assumption that has no evidence to support it. Upon this baseless assumption, the Christian, or any other theist, must claim that only their view of reality is the right one and it is only through their god that they can come to this view.

        The problem is that even Christians don’t agree on what their god wants and means. They contradict each other, and thus their versions of this god contradict each other.

        Please proceed to show that only your version of your god exists, triggerman. If you cannot, then you are like every other theist, making the same claims that you doubt when someone else says them.

      • yep, indeed I can. Let’s see instances of where Christians disagree with each other:

        https://carm.org/catholic/are-roman-catholics-christian

        https://www.born-again-christian.info/catholics.htm

        https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2014/05/09/how-can-protestants-be-saved/

        and instances where other religions claim that only their religion is true just like Christians do, and only their god gives the correct understanding:

        http://www.godprovenas1.com/purpose/Allah_the_only_truth.html

        https://western-hindu.org/2008/05/28/hinduism-is-the-eternal-way-and-the-true-religion/

      • I disagree with a lot of Christians, hell, I disagree with Matt over at CARM. Disagreement on fine points doesn’t invalidate the broader points.

        I’m really gonna shock you with this one because I would agree with the Catachism of the Roman Catholic Church in that Christ’s Church is the means of salvation. I just don’t think that a church that didn’t exist until the 11th century is that church.

        As far as Islam goes, it claims that the Bible is true, and the Bible claims that Islam is false, so that means that if you believe Islam’s claims then you have to reject it.

        Hinduism runs into similar contradictory arguments.

      • yep, you certainly do disagree with Christians. All Christians are sure that they and only they have the “right” answer. So, please do show that your version is the only right one, Triggerman. If you are Christian, baptized and accepting JC as your savior, you should be able to heal people. Pick a hospital and we can go together to see you clear out a pediatric cancer ward or a veteran’s hospital and you can restore amputated limbs to soldiers. I’ll even spring for the film crew. And of course you’ll agree with some of the RCC’s nonsense, that’s called cherry picking. Islam doesn’t claim that the bible is true. It claims that only some of it is true. Now why would you try to lie about that, triggerman? And funny how the “broader points” are about how one is saved. That’s pretty much the most important point Christianity has. Or do you want to claim otherwise? Then what is the most important point? If you are a predestinationalist, then you contradict those who claim that free will is at play.

        ANd again, none of you can show that you are right.

      • No. That’s not how it works. In fact, Acts 8 refutes such a silly and petulant notion. It is God who heals, and he chooses the means by which a person is to be healed.

      • Funny how the gospels disagree with you, triggerman. It is promised that the baptized who accept JEsus as savior can do miracles like Jesus. Please do read the last few verses of the Gospel of Mark.

        Acts 8 does not refute any such thing. It’s amusing that you seem to think that I wouldn’t go read the chapter. Perhaps you made a mistake in which chapter you wished to cite?

      • You mean the pastiche that didn’t exist until at least the 5th century that is has become attached to it?
        The one that has a unique vocabulary and grammar structure that isn’t Mark’s?
        Perhaps you would like to explain why I should accept something that was not written by the gospel author as authoritative or definitional.

      • I’m all for Christians saying that the bible is garbage. It’s great to see you’ve entirely made up a religion on your own. And funny how the only way you know anything about your god is in that very compilation of books.

        Now. triggerman, since your god couldn’t keep what you deem lies out of its bible, exactly why is this god to be worshipped? And how does it happen that plenty of Christians have no problem with that bit of the Gospel of Mark? Are they not TrueChristians(tm) too, since you’ve invented your own bible?

      • There is only One, True and Living God who has made himself known to a specific people, in a specific place, and at a specific time, having done so in the Person of his Son, Christ Jesus.

        There is no “version” of this. He is who he is.

      • evidence for this claim about your god? Again, triggerman, other religions make the same claim, that their god/s is the only one and that those people who believe in it are extra special.

        Each Christian invents his own version of this god. Catholics, Protestants, LDS, JW’s, orthodox, etc all have different claims of what their god wants and how to be “saved”. EAch christian differs in what they claim should be taken literally in the bible, what should be understood a metaphor, and what should be ignored. So, yes, triggerman, there are many many different versions of your god and your religion. Of course, each Christian is sure that only they are TrueChristians, and insist that everyone else is wrong or isn’t a Christian at all.

        In that none of you can show that you can do what JC promise every baptized believer in him could do e.g. healing, etc, we have only a couple of possibilities: none of you are getting Christianity right, or that your bible isn’t true.

      • No, other religions do not make such a claim. In fact, they often don’t even make belief a requirement. Some sects of Islam believe in a form of predestination where even the most devout end up in eternal punishment and the most vile and vicious receive eternal bliss. Hinduism has 300 million gods, that are incarnations of the one god, who is in everything and everyone, and you might have to live an almost infinite number of lives before being rejoined to the god you are already a part of. I’m sorry, but you simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

        LDS? JW? Those aren’t Christian, in fact they deny key facts that Catholics, Protestants, and the Orthodox fundamentally agree on. So, you’re simply ignorant of facts. Quite simply, what I would disagree with a Catholic or an Orthodox on is often not necessarily primary but secondary. Further, I never claim anything other than Christ, who he is, and what he has done, everything else is gravy.

        Further, I don’t make claims based on pastiche texts that don’t appear until the 5th century.

      • wow, way to go ignoring reality and lying, triggerman. But thanks for that, truly. Nothing shows that Christianity is nonsense better than the actions of a Christian who intentionally lies.

        and yep, there you go insisting that people who don’t agree with your version of Christianity aren’t Christians. Funny how they claim the same thing about you. And again, none of you can show that you are Christians at all. Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox don’t agree on how one is saved or what their god wants. How is one saved, triggerman? is it works? by faith? by grace? Are people damned to hell or is there universal salvation? How and when should people be baptized? And funny for your claims that the differences are only secondary, you would never consider going to any of these churches who disagree with you.

        hmmm, pastiche texts that don’t appear until the 5th century? Ah, always good to see a Christian picking and choosing what to believe and inventing what he believes so he can insist that anyone who doesn’t agree with him can’t possibly understand reality.

      • To be a Christian, there’s certain things that you have to believe. If you don’t believe those things then you cannot be called “Christian”. So, if there’s a thing that can properly be called a “Christian” that means that there are things that AREN’T “Christian”. That’s NOT a “lie”, that’s simple logic. You seem to be throwing a net so broadly that YOU would wind up caught in it.

        People can claim what they want to claim, what matters is the standard.

      • Ah, triggerman, you try to claim that Christians have to agree with you to be Christian, and so does every other Christian. Funny how you guys can’t even get your fellows to agree with you, and have to spend resources to try to convert each other because you are sooo sure that only your version is right. You invent one standard and someone else invents another. And none of you can do what the bible promises for believers.

      • How about that straw man? (Wild applause)
        I NEVER said that anyone has to agree with me about anything, because I am NOT the standard.
        I don’t try to convert Presbyterians to be Baptists, because being a Baptist doesn’t make me a Christian, and I can say that as a former Presbyterian.
        I’m a Baptist because of conclusions that I’ve drawn and I’ve got good friends who are Presbyterians who used to be Baptists. What we disagree on is irrelevant to what we agree on.
        But you keep beating that straw man…and be sure to keep it away from open flames too while you’re at it.

      • oh my, it’s always good to see a Christian try to play the “I didn’t say that exactly” game. You have claimed that those Christians who don’t agree with Christians aren’t Christians.

        So, if being a Baptist doesn’t make you a Christian, why are you so needy to declare that you are one sect over another? Why do you claim that other sects aren’t Christians when you seem to be saying being of a certain sect doesn’t make you a Christian or not? And yep, you came to conclusions, that your selection was the only right one.

      • ROFL. I do enjoy when Christians have problems we are discussing things on a recording medium. You’ve said that Mormons, JWs, and anyone who accepts the bible as written aka “the pastiche that didn’t exist until at least the 4th century) aren’t TrueChristians(tm).

      • It’s such a shame that you try to lie so very much and you do it so badly.

        “To be a Christian, there’s certain things that you have to believe. If you don’t believe those things then you cannot be called “Christian”. So if ther eis a thing that can be properly called a “Christian” that means that there things that AREN’T “Christian”. That’s NOT a “lie”, that’s simple logic. You seem to be throwing a net so broadly that YOU would wind up caught in it. People can claim what they want to claim, what matters is the standard”

        Hmm, and since there is no standard but the standard invented by each different Christian?

        “LDS? JW? Those aren’t Christian, in fact they deny key facts that Catholics, Protestants, and the Orthodox fundamentally agree on. So, you’re simply ignorant of facts. Quite simply, what I would disagree with a Catholic or an Orthodox on is often not necessarily primary but secondary. Further, I never claim anything other than Christ, who he is, what he has doen, everything else is gravy. Further, I don’t make claims based on pastiche texts that don’t appear until the 5th century.”

        Except predestination aka how people attain salvation, except for saints, except for who goes to hell, except for how one is baptized, what’s in the bible, etc.

      • I’m looking for where this supposed “lie” is.
        You keep confusing what DEFINITIONALLY makes someone a Protestant or a Catholic or an Orthodox with what is definitional of Christianity: these are NOT THE SAME THINGS.

        I don’t make a particular “brand” definitional of the thing. It’s like saying Coca-Cola defines what a caramel colored soda is.

      • again, triggerman, if this is true, then why aren’t you worshipping at the local RCC cathedral if things don’t make any difference to you? Why do Baptists send missionaries to Catholic majority countries? Why waste so much time and resources with different buildings, different bibles, etc?

        You are all about the “brand” as every other Christian.

      • For the same reason that I’m not over at the Methodist church or the Presbyterian church or the Episcopalian church: because I’m not one of them.
        Please come back with a meaningful objection.

      • Nope, not at all. I’m not a Christian, but people who believe in Jesus Christ are Christians. But since they don’t believe like you do, you insist that they aren’t Christians. You want to define Christian to those who agree with you. Since Christians try to claim that they are the worlds largest religion, you try to have it boh ways, hating anyone who disagrees with you and insisting that they aren’t Christians, but claiming that they are when its convenient.

      • you mean I don’t accept *your* definition of the term, someone who like so many Christians wants to declare that anyone who disagrees with him isn’t a “trueChristian”, you all are so very sure that only your version is the right one and you all fail to demonstrate this.

      • ah, thanks triggerman, for showing again that you think you and only you have the right answer.

        “Christian Bibles range from the 73 books of the Catholic Church canon, the 66 books of the canon of some denominations or the 80 books of the canon of other denominations of the Protestant Church, to the 81 books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church canon.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Books_of_the_Bible

      • LOL. again, you’ve repeated said that others are wrong and not Christians. This indicates you think you are right and are the only Christian. If I say that people who like strawberry ice cream are wrong, then I think I’m right for not liking it and liking something else. Not that hard, triggerman.

      • funny how you are desperate for me not to think that your version of Chrisitanity is the right one. Now, why would this be? That you don’t want to be held responsible when your claims fail?

      • sure dear, sure. Again, we know you think you are right and others are wrong. All Christians do: if they did not, there would be no sects, there would be no missionaries to other Christian types, and no insistence that anyone who disagrees with you is not a True Christian. If you had no idea if you are right, then you couldn’t judge, now could you?

      • again, what a fail. Nope, dear. Again, you have claimed that other Christians aren’t Christians at all, this is claiming that only you know who the true Christians are.

      • again, funny how you try to convert each other when you try to claim you have the same father and you don’t believe in the same things. Unfortunately for you, triggerman, no matter how you might try to deny it, Christians aren’t the same in beliefs or actions. Reality trumps what you try to claim in order to make believe that your religion is the biggest.

      • prove that Christians try to convert others to their version of Christianity? Sure! we have Baptists trying to convert Catholics here: http://bivenministries.com/

        And that you are sure that only you have the “right” Christianity is nothing new here. We even have your new post that insists that only you have the right way to interpret the bible, and you certainly want people to agree with you. It’s always good to see you claim that other Christians are wrong “Did God literally scoop up dirt and form this thing called “man” and perform some kind of CPR? Simply put: no.” You certainly try to convert people to your version.

      • hmmm, was this a slip in claiming catholics aren’t Christians? And since catholics and Baptists do no agree in what their god wants and how to do it, it is exactly like trying convert each other into another religion. Is the eucharist literally flesh and blood? When does one get baptized? Can saints intercede?

      • Some Lutheran churches operate with the belief that the elements of the Eucharist are literal. You can believe whatever you want about them, that’s not important; what is important is what you believe about the Eucharist itself and Catholics believe things about it that simply aren’t supported by the facts. But this, again, goes back to the NECESSARY distinction between what a Christian is—established by the coherent and consistent exegesis of Scripture—and what a particular denomination has exalted, not as being definitional of them, but as being definitional of Christianity, when the two terms cannot be used synonymously.

      • Yep, some Lutheran churches do exactly that. Catholics claim that too. And aw, poor TM, now we get to see that you are certain that billions of Christians aren’t really Christians. what “facts” do you have that you are right and they aren’t? Again, TM, you and other Christians disagree on how one is saved, what your god wants, what sins are, who goes to heaven, who goes to hell, is there free will or not, what laws you have to follow, etc. And again, all of you claim that you are the TrueChristians(tm) and none of you can show that your claim is any better than the next. A bunch of ever-so holy crabs in a bucket who all claim that they and only they have the “coherent and consistent exegesis of Scripture”. Again, a Catholic, an Anglican, a Baptist, a Presbyterian, etc are all Christians by definition. A Baptist is a Christian; not all Christians are Baptists.

      • “now we get to see that you are certain that billions of Christians aren’t really Christians.”

        Yeah, because I read this thing called “The Bible”, perhaps you’ve heard of it? I mean your favorite text, Romans 9, says, “Romans 9:6 (ESV): For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel…”
        which is why I make the distinction between two different categories, and why, when I preach, I preach the gospel.

      • Yep, TM, and other Christians read the same bible and are sure that they are Christians and you are not. They all think that those other Christians are the ones mentioned in Romans 9. And every Christian, even those you claim aren’t “really” Chrisitans preach the gospel.

      • And now, we have TM insisting that anyone who doesn’t agree with him has “false” standards. Of course he can’t show that those standards are false or that his own are the only true ones. Thanks, TM, you are great at this, showing that Christians don’t agree and insist that each other is wrong.

      • “and again, nice to see you trying to retcon what you’ve said before. It’s great, you and me and supposedly your god, and you have no problem lying in front of it. Here you go with your lie “A Christian can be a Baptist; however, being a Baptist doesn’t make one a Christian. ” and my evidence that the term Baptist is defined as a Christian. You must think your god is very very stupid if you think it can be fooled by”
        That’s the entire comment. It’s nonsensical.

      • Yes, the comment I quoted of yours is indeed nonsensical. I’ve asked you repeatedly to define Baptist to me and show how it doesn’t include being Christian in it. Funny how dictionaries disagree with your false claims.

      • “Again, a Catholic, an Anglican, a Baptist, a Presbyterian, etc are all Christians by definition…”
        No, they’re not. By definition, they’re Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, etc.
        It’s only by faith through grace that they’re a Christian.

      • Oh, I do love this, Funny how the dictionary that you happily linked to shows that you are wrong again. Catholic: ”
        often capitalized : of, relating to, or forming the ancient undivided Christian church or a church claiming historical continuity from it” Anglican: “of or relating to the established episcopal Church of England and churches of similar faith and order in communion with it” church: ” the whole body of Christians” Baptist ” a member or adherent of an evangelical Protestant (a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth
        broadly : a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church) denomination marked by congregational polity and baptism by immersion of believers only” Presbyterian “of, relating to, or constituting a Protestant ( a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth
        broadly : a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church) Christian church that is presbyterian in government and traditionally Calvinistic in doctrine”

        Funny that now you try to move the goalposts. Please do show that these people who you want to claim aren’t Christians don’t have “faith through grace”, and show that yo do. It’s so pathetic that so many Christians like you want to pretend that you and only you are the chosen ones, and you have no more evidence than those you disagree with.

      • And again, TM tries to claim that only his version of Christianity is the right one. And that everyone else’s is wrong. Every Christian claims that their own set of religious teachings e.g. their interpretation, and thus denomination, is the only right one. And they insist that no others can be accepted or correct. Again, TM, no reason to believe your claims over other Christians that you disagree with. None of you can do what Christians are supposed to be able to do, so you all are evidently wrong.

      • And again, triggerman, you all believe in different things, in what this “father” wants, what you have to do to be saved, etc. You claim to have one father, but you claim he is entirely different in desire and action.

      • Really, because every Christian that I talk to, that believes the gospel, all say the same thing as Jesus himself did: “Repent and believe.” So, I simply don’t know what you’re talking about.
        I mean, I did a whole series on basic Christian theology about 2 years ago that was drawn from various denominational sources just for that purpose. It’s up there on my “about” page. Maybe you should read it so you won’t sound like a complete moron.

      • again, funny how that doesn’t encompass all Christians, TM. Again, you depend on your defintion of Christian as anyone who agrees with you to try to convince yourself every Christian agrees with you. Alas they don’t. Yep, I’m sure you did write a bunch on what you want to define Christianity as. Bummer how that doesn’t make it true. But keep on denying that Christians don’t agree on what their god wants, on how to be saved, etc. You believe in predestination other Christians do not.

      • “You believe in predestination other Christians do not.”
        So? Doesn’t mean that they’re right. And it doesn’t mean that they aren’t Christians either.
        You don’t reason to well, do you?

      • So, TM, show me how you know that they are wrong and you are right. But thanks again for saying that you and only you know who the TrueChristians(tm) are. I reason quite well and it’s entertaining to see you try to claim every Christian that you have talked to agrees with you and that anything you don’t agree on is just “secondary”. That isn’t quite true, is it, TM, when you now claim that they aren’t right and that they aren’t Christians?

      • Who is this amorphous “they” that you keep referring to?
        You seem to have a problem (still) differentiating between two clear categories.

      • oh TM, it’s great fun to watch you try to pretend that you don’t know what “they” means in this contexts. it means the Christians you claim aren’t Christians. Delaying the inevitable is such a pathetic tactic. It’s even funnier when you knew perfectly who I meant by “they” in the post right before this rather silly attempt to play dumb.

      • Oh this is perfect. I can hear that cock crowing. Hmmm, funny how you claimed to be a Baptist and that’s a Christian. and you claimed yourself a Christian right here ” why do Christians believe what we believe…oh…about the resurrection of Christ?”

        You said this when I asked you why I should belive you rather than another Christian “4 gospels, 23 letters, 2000 years of history ”

        oh and this too “Further, I never claim anything other than Christ, who he is, and what he has done, everything else is gravy. ” and finally “Given the amount of misrepresentation made about Christian beliefs, even though a person can access many resources freely over the internet, I thought that it might be a good idea to line out some thoughts that would explain what can be said about historic Christian doctrines and theology so that my readers would not only have a sense of where I am coming from, but perhaps understand about the faith in general.
        I realize that many of my readers may not be of the same religious tradition (Southern Baptist) as me, so I will try to speak as broadly and directly as possible in these regards. This, of necessity, means that we must define some terms and set out a course of study that will direct the series.”

        Darn. I always wonder about Christians who are so frightened like you to the point they deny being a Christian.

      • I never said that a Baptist and a Christian are the same things.
        A Christian can be a Baptist, just like a Christian can be a Methodist, or a Presbyterian or a Catholic or even a Pentecostal or a non-denom. However, just being a Baptist, etc, doesn’t make anyone a Christian.
        An analogy would be like saying an American can be a medical doctor, but being a medical doctor doesn’t make you an American.

      • always fun to see this. A Baptist is always a Christian. Not all Christians are Baptists. It’s quite cute to watch you insist that people who don’t agree with you aren’t Christians again. “a member or adherent of an evangelical Protestant (a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth
        broadly : a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church ) denomination marked by congregational polity and baptism by immersion of believers only.”

        and your analogy fails, unsurprisingly. The correct analogy would be you trying to say that a pediatrician isn’t a medical doctor, and you’d be wrong in that too.

      • I never said “a Baptist is always a Christian”. Stop straw manning. Learn how to read. And learn how to represent your opponent honestly.

      • LOL. Ah, TM, you are so fun to bat around. All Baptists are Christians, it is part of the definition. You don’t like that. I know you are sure that anyone but you isn’t a Christian. Please do tell me know you can tell the difference? Is it that only TrueChristians agree with TM? Of course it is.

        And I do allow you to present yourself honestly despite your attempts to claim that you never called yourself a Christian, that you never said other Christians were wrong, It’s amusing that you think you can ignore when you are caught in a lie. I wonder, do you think you can trick your god in to not noticing what you’ve said?

      • Still with the straw men?
        The word “baptist” never appears in the definition of “Christian”. It’s like saying chocolate ice cream is definitional of ice cream. That’s how irrational you sound. As much as I like chocolate ice cream I don’t make one singular flavor the standard. So let me say this one more time and make sure you get it through that thick skull of yours:
        A Christian can be a Baptist, but being a Baptist doesn’t make one a Christian.
        Let me put it another way:
        A Christian can be an Anglican, but being an Anglican doesn’t make one a Christian.
        An analog:
        A man can be a doctor, but being a doctor doesn’t make one a man.
        I know that you atheists have difficulty reasoning through and recognizing things like proper logical categories, but if you try hard enough I’m sure that you can do it.

      • oh my. I see you can’t understand this sentence “A Baptist is always a Christian. Not all Christians are Baptists.” or you choose to try to lie about what I actually said. And here is the definition of Baptist “a member of a Protestant Christian denomination advocating baptism only of adult believers by total immersion. Baptists form one of the largest Protestant bodies and are found throughout the world and especially in the US.” and being an Anglican also makes one a Christian. “Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.”

        Your analogy also fails again for the same reason the prior one did. But let’ try this TM, define Baptist and define Anglican. You are sure that you have the right definitions and that they are not what I have cited, so go ahead.

      • Actually it’s two sentences.
        And it seems like you can’t understand or represent what I said.
        (Blinded by bias? Most likely.)
        So, pay attention:

        A Christian can be a Baptist; however, being a Baptist doesn’t make one a Christian.

        These are TWO separate things. You keep trying to use them interchangeably when they’re not.
        STOP IT.

      • Again, TM, in that the definition of Baptist includes being Christian, your sentence is wrong. It is also only one sentence, with two independent clauses. Again, not a surprise that you can’t define the term Baptist for me. A Baptist is a Christian, and a Christian can be a Baptist. A Catholic is a Christian. An Anglican is a Christian, but a Christian doesn’t have to be one of those types of Christian.

        But again TM, define the term Baptist for me if I am wrong. It should be great fun to watch you try to do so without using the term Christian.

      • ah, I love to see that you refuse to give a definition of Baptist. It’s even funnier because you have essentially admitted that a Baptist must be a Christian since it is related to “church” order and priorities.

      • yep, and tah-dah, it indicates that Baptists are Christians. “a member or adherent of an evangelical Protestant (a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth
        broadly : a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church) denomination marked by congregational polity and baptism by immersion of believers only” You have claimed that Baptists aren’t necessarily Christians. How interesting that the dictionary shows you tried to lie.

      • a Christian DENOMINATION.
        So, again you accuse me of something that I DID NOT DO, which means that YOU are the one LYING.
        You keep making the PART definitional of the WHOLE: this is a logical fallacy.

      • and again, nice to see you trying to retcon what you’ve said before. It’s great, you and me and supposedly your god, and you have no problem lying in front of it. Here you go with your lie “A Christian can be a Baptist; however, being a Baptist doesn’t make one a Christian. ” and my evidence that the term Baptist is defined as a Christian. You must think your god is very very stupid if you think it can be fooled by your nonsense.

      • that you were talking about Christian denominations, not Christians. but keep going, TM, I’m sure that your god, if it exists, finds this fascinating that someone who claims to believe in it goes out of his way to lie so much.

      • Further, it’s not “picking and choosing” what to believe, that’s called “idolatry”. It’s recognizing what’s original to the text.

      • And funny how each Christian claims to be the sole source of knowing what is “original to the text”. For instance, we have Christians who insist that they must follow the 10 commandments. There aren’t just “10”, there are hundreds. They ignore the rest, which are still god given and still given to the Israelites, because they are inconvenient to a modern human being. They desperately try to argue that JC didn’t “really” mean that those laws were still in force, and that they only applied to the Israelites.

        Then they try to claim how warm and fuzzy JC is, when this character commands people to abandon their families, just like any good cult leader. They also do their best to ignore Revelation where this character murders anyone who doesn’t agree with him.

        So, Triggerman, show me that you and you alone know what is “original to the text”, and how you know that no one else’s version is correct. Why should I believe in your magic decoder ring and not someone else’s?

      • Here you go again, making arguments from your ignorance.

        First, you’re conflating laws derived from the covenantal standard with the covenantal standard: they aren’t the same thing.

        Second, Jesus never commands people to “abandon their families”
        https://triggermanblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/apparent-biblical-contradiction-love-your-enemy-hate-your-family/

        Righteous kings are obligated to punish evil, and the highest evil is to oppose righteousness. And you can’t murder someone who is already dead.

      • ah, here we go, the claim of the Christian who is sure that he doesn’t have to follow the laws that jesus christ said he had to follow. I do love this. And funny how Jesus says exactly that, to leave your family no matter how hard you try to deny it. It’s great to see Christians deny their savior becasue its embarassing to admit that their savior was a jerk. Luke 9: To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus[m] said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

        Luke 14:26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

        It’s pretty amusing that you admit yourself that it is loyalties that are important to this cult leader, as to all cult leaders. You must give up all your possessions.

        Well, triggerman, good to see that your morality is nothing more than might equals right. There is nothing “righteous” about your god. IF it existed, it is only powerful, ignorant and violent. And since you believe in predestination, how does it work that this god makes people not able to accept it and then the poor thing has to punish them for what it did?

      • And again we have you insist that those who don’t agree with you are wrong, but you cannot show that your version is the right one.

        You’ve been asked various questions by me. You’ve yet to answer them. HEre’s one you can start with “So, Triggerman, show me that you and you alone know what is “original to the text”, and how you know that no one else’s version is correct. Why should I believe in your magic decoder ring and not someone else’s? ”

      • I never claimed that I “alone” know what is original to the text. What I do know is that there are a number of various readings (eg the end of Mark’s gospel). So the person making the claim that a particular reading IS original is the one who bears such a burden.

      • and here we go again with the Christian trying to play the “I never said that exactly so you are wrong” game. You have claimed to know what is to be followed and not, what is original and not when you claim others are wrong. That’s how claiming to be right works.

      • And funny how Presbyterians and other Calvinists believe in predestination rather like that supposed version of Islam you claim to know about. Would you like to claim that Calvinists aren’t TrueChristians either? And which version of Islam is this that you claim? You can show a link to Muslims claiming that the “vile and vicious” exist in bliss, right? Because it doesn’t seem to be true: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predestination_in_Islam

      • I’m Reformed, I believe in predestination. The difference between what Christians believe about it and what Muslims believe about it is entirely and CATEGORICALLY different.
        In Sahih Muslim 33, it is made pretty clear,
        “When forty nights pass after the semen gets into the womb, Allah sends the angel and gives him shape. Then he creates his sense of hearing, sense of sight, his skin, his flesh, his bones, and then says: My Lord, would he be male or female? And your Lord decides as He desires and the angel then puts down that also and then says: My Lord, what about his age? And your Lord decides as He likes it and the angel puts it down. Then he says: My Lord, what about his livelihood? And then the Lord decides as He likes and the angel writes it down, and then the angel gets out with his scroll of destiny in his hand and nothing is added to it and nothing is subtracted from it.”

        Then there’s Sahih Al Bukahri 8:
        “Then the soul is breathed into him. And by Allah, a person among you (or a man) may do deeds of the people of the Fire till there is only a cubit or an arm-breadth distance between him and the Fire, but then that writing (which Allah has ordered the angel to write) precedes, and he does the deeds of the people of Paradise and enters it; and a man may do the deeds of the people of Paradise till there is only a cubit or two between him and Paradise, and then that writing precedes and he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it.”

      • reformed what? And it’s great to see you claim predestination and of course you are ever so sure that you are the one predestined to get into heaven. And, nope, there is no difference between what Muslims calim about predestination and what Christians do. They are sure that they are going to be the “good” ones to get heaven. And Romans 9 shows quite well that Paul agrees with the Muslims, that it is whim by a god on who gets damned and who does not. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans+9&version=NRSV

        Romans 9: It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, 7 and not all of Abraham’s children are his true descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. 9 For this is what the promise said, “About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. 11 Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose of election might continue, 12 not by works but by his call) she was told, “The elder shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written,
        “I have loved Jacob,
        but I have hated Esau.”
        14 What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses,
        “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
        and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
        16 So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.
        God’s Wrath and Mercy
        19 You will say to me then, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; 23 and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,
        “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
        and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
        26
        “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
        there they shall be called children of the living God.”
        27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved; 28 for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth quickly and decisively.”[d] 29 And as Isaiah predicted,
        “If the Lord of hosts had not left survivors[e] to us,
        we would have fared like Sodom
        and been made like Gomorrah.”
        Israel’s Unbelief
        30 What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; 31 but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. 32 Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,
        “See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall,
        and whoever believes in him[f] will not be put to shame.”

        Romans 16-25 are the best parts. We have where this god intentionally damns some people and gives grace to others. Your false claims only work if someone hasn’t read the bible.

      • Wow. How about that conflation? (Crowd roars).
        I never claimed to be sure about anything, especially about my eternal destiny.
        And yes, there’s a clear and categorical difference between what Muslims believe about *qadar* and what reformed Christians believe about *proorizo* in God’s “purpose of election”.
        I’m simply not going to have a theological debate with someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, and will not recognize the categories that differentiate two opposing positions.

      • of course, you cannot show this “conflation”. And that’s just sweet, triggerman, when a Christian like you says that he isn’t sure about what he believes when all you have said repeatedly is that everyone else is wrong and not Christian when they disagree with your version.

        So, what is this clear and categorical difference between Islam’s declaration that Allah damns and saves people randomly and the Christian god who does the exact same thing in Romans 9? both gods pick and choose with nothing more than a whim. And of course you can’t show this so now you are running away.

        I know you won’t have a theological debate with me, triggerman. It’s because you have no basis for your claims. The bible itself shows that you are wrong and are intentionally trying to misrepresent it.

      • The difference is that when Allah does it, he does it arbitrarily.
        Allah doesn’t do it because he loves anyone, he doesn’t do it to demonstrate his mercy, he doesn’t even do it to demonstrate his power.
        Who does it to demonstrate love, and mercy, and power? God.

      • funny how your god also does it arbitrarily too. But please do show where it says that this isn’t the case. Please do cite chapter and verse.

        What a pitiful little god, has to show off its power to puny humans. As for love, your poor god can’t even come up to the definition of love in the bible, and mercy? Hmmm, how does damning people for no fault of their own (Romans 9) become mercy? Would you punish your child/spouse/friend for something it didn’t do?

      • Arbitrary:
        (Adjective): based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

        Ephesians 1:3–6 (NKJV): Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

        One of your favorites
        Romans 9:17–23 (NKJV): For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
        You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
        What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,…

      • whims don’t have to be sudden. And how is it explainable, picking people at random to be saved or not to be able to accept this god/religion. What was the method, triggerman?

      • In short, everyone is “damned”, not because of anything God does—outside of rendering righteous judgment in regard to the works of people—but because of what people do themselves. That’s why equal ultimacy is a fallacy.
        God’s act of election in salvation is not “random”, because it isn’t done unconsciously, haphazardly, or unpurposefully, but mindfully, orderly, and purposefully for his ends.

      • that’s no what we are talking about triggerman. Go read Romans 3 again. it does not speak of original sin. It says that your god chooses people to damn and people to save. Again, what about this isn’t random? What ends are these that have this god picking and choosing with no thought to the process. There is no processed mentioned, just like in the Qu’ran, so again we are left with a god that has no reasoning behind what it does. and again you can’t describe your supposed fallacy. Per your own bible, works are not involved in how your god determined who was to be damned and who was to be saved. People do nothing themselves, this god picked and chose who was damned and who was saved long before they could do anything at all. That’s what predestination means, in case you’ve forgotten.

      • Actually, Romans 3 is about the condemnation of the world in its sin. Probably what you meant to say was Romans 9, and again there is nothing “random” there. Pharaoh and Jacob are BOTH mentioned to demonstrate God’s purposes in election: one to demonstrate God’s power and judgment, and the other as a means for salvation.
        Romans 9: 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

        There’s nothing AT ALL “random” about it.

      • Romans 3 has paul telling his followers that lying *for* this god is wrong. You might want to review that part. And yep, you are right, I meant romans 9. It doesn’t say anything about original sin, so your attempt to claim that “everyone” is damned is a failure. And funny how ot doesn’t say how this god picks and chooses. Well, you got pretty close tot he part that says your god makes random choices “9 You will say to me then, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; 23 and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? ” You evidently have no idea what random means. Since there is no distinction from one lump of clay and another, the selection must be random. “without definite aim, direction, rule, or method ” But triggerman, you’ have claimed that there is a method to your god’s madness.

        What is it? If you cannot show a method, then it is random. How is your god choosing which lump to make unable to accept it, and which lump to make able to accept it?

      • and again, more baseless claims from you, triggerman. Again, please do indicate what the choice mechanism is that your god is using. What makes one lump of clay different from another?

      • You keep saying that like it means something but then you’ll quote texts like Romans 9, where God—through the Apostle—tells us. So, either you don’t understand what you’re quoting or you assume that if you keep asking the same question over and over you’ll get a different answer, like my son when he was 4.

      • There is nothing in Romans 9 that has how this god decides to damn one piece of clay and to allow one piece to accept him. But if you are so sure it does, quote the verse.

        I’m waiting

      • 22? Well, on the guess that you might mean the verse 22 in Romans 9, we still have no method of how your god picks some people to be damned through no fault of their own and how your god picks some to be saved through no fault of their own. “22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? ”

        I do like that verse though, it shows that your god feels it must show off to humans. How pitiful.

      • yes, your god is showing off. We have this same god doin the same thing in Exodus. It’s such a pathetic and human need that the bible authors have created in their supposed god.

  3. You wrote, copying someone else,
    “If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists.”

    If you had ACTUALLY read the post you would have seen the fact that I DIRECTLY interacted with just such a claim. Hence, you didn’t actually read it. You just jumped into the comments section and started commenting.

    (I also get time stamps for time on the page.)

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