Debunking Anti-Christ Rhetoric Part I-A

anti-christ-1

This anti-Christ image was found recently on social media…it is disturbing…it is offensive…it is damaging… but it may also be very persuasive.  The only purpose of these posts entitled, Debunking Anti-Christ Rhetoric is to expose the truth…and while I was prepared to research extensively these claims and then sharing all the references I use in order to debunk this type of rhetoric, I have now decided to conduct brief and informal online searches from reputable websites to replicate (and hopefully encourage) what the vast majority of people coming across these types of images can and should do.  As always, I strive to keep my blog truthful…honest…transparent… with no disrespect to anyone or anything…I will never personally attack those among us who (still) do not believe…

For I am a Sinner….

And I am always face down at His cross….begging for His mercy!!

Let’s first quickly examine the author……

Dr. Bart D. Ehrman….

pic-of-bart-ehrman

“I wonder if the fact that I left the faith is somehow seen as threatening, at least among people who have a gnawing suspicion.”

–Dr. Bart Ehrman

An American Professor, Author, and Scholar

Received his PhD, and M. Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary

Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Has written more than 30 books, including college textbooks

Became a Christian as a teenager and considered himself a Christian for more than 15 years

After struggling with the philosophical problems with evil and more specifically suffering…He then became an agnostic atheist…

“This was my view for many years, and I still consider it a powerful theological view. It would be a view that I would still hold on to, if I were still a Christian. But I’m not.

About nine or ten years ago I came to realize that I simply no longer believed the Christian message. A large part of my movement away from the faith was driven by my concern for suffering. I simply no longer could hold to the view—which I took to be essential to Christian faith—that God was active in the world, that he answered prayer, that he intervened on behalf of his faithful, that he brought salvation in the past and that in the future, eventually in the coming eschaton, he would set to rights all that was wrong, that he would vindicate his name and his people and bring in a good kingdom (either at our deaths or here on earth in a future utopian existence).

We live in a world in which a child dies every five seconds of starvation. Every five seconds. Every minute there are twenty-five people who die because they do not have clean water to drink. Every hour 700 people die of malaria. Where is God in all this? We live in a world in which earthquakes in the Himalayas kill 50,000 people and leave 3 million without shelter in the face of oncoming winter. We live in a world where a hurricane destroys New Orleans. Where a tsunami kills 300,000 people in one fell swoop. Where millions of children are born with horrible birth defects. And where is God? To say that he eventually will make right all that is wrong seems to me, now, to be pure wishful thinking.”

Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/blogalogue/2008/04/why-suffering-is-gods-problem.html#yAl4ESA5FrhGS7SB.99

 

 

…my heart goes out to Dr. Ehrman and I sincerely hope he can answer one day this question of why pain and suffering exists which has tested and destroyed his faith in God….I hope one day he is able to view the world through an “eternal” perspective and realize exactly what Christ promised His followers…..

My personal perspective so far…..

The claims made in this anti-Christ image by a self-professed atheist is nothing new

Having a M.Div. or PhD does not insure one believes in the Christian worldview

What we read/see/hear can be very deceiving…

To be continued….

 

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13 thoughts on “Debunking Anti-Christ Rhetoric Part I-A

  1. Evidently, you feel this kind of information as “disturbing…it is offensive…it is damaging…” An upon saying this, propose to “debunk” the claim through research, in the hopes to present evidence to the contrary.

    This is the most admirable statement I’ve ever read by someone of faith. This acknowledgement defines the need for civility in reason as compulsory to debunking one’s findings on a given topic — a true scientific approach expected of those in the scientific community.

    “(and hopefully encourage) what the vast majority of people coming across these types of images can and should do.”

    Alas, the inspiration of critical reason collides with subjective influence ahead of evidence — action based on subjective interpretation. Why? Because the presented information is somehow too “disturbing…it is offensive…it is damaging…”

    How is it that reasoned debate from imperial evidence is only valid if it sides with your “objective” reasoning? Does this not champion bias outright?

    It should be noted that one cannot be an “agnostic atheist” any more than an agnostic theist. Either one is agnostic or atheist, not both.

    “Having a M.Div. or PhD does not insure one believes in the Christian worldview”

    On this reasoning, no assurance could be offered by any amount of research through any formal discipline — they are essentially wasting their time?

    “What we read/see/hear can be very deceiving…”

    Agreed. Hence the growing number of atheists.

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    • Dear Drexus,
      Thank you very much for your reply! I truly appreciate the time and thought you put into responding to my blog post! I guess it is very evident in my post that when I do come across anti-Christ rhetoric, mostly on social media, it is quite disturbing for me to see for I am a lover of Christ. I do hope to share some of the anti-Christ sentiment I have seen and debunk some of its claims with an informal and brief (layman type) online assessment hoping I encourage other people to do the same. Everyone has the right to their own conclusions after they investigate all claims. Of course, as you already suggest, civility is essential when people of different faiths or no faith at all attempt to hold respectful conversation. It is unfortunate these types of dialogue are not taking place. I thank you for the compliment… “This is the most admirable statement I’ve ever read by someone of faith.” Unfortunately, I also find this statement very sad and I know that many Christians (I have met quite a few…actually more than that) have failed many people in their evangelistic endeavors, even though I truly believe the majority of them have good intentions when they begin! I also agree with your statement… “The inspiration of critical reason collides with subjective influence ahead of evidence.” My subjective influence…or my love for Christ influences my writing just as much as Dr. Ehrman’s disbelief in God influences his writings because he cannot find an adequate explanation as to why pain and suffering exists in the presence of a loving God. I must admit though…I had to giggle when you mentioned you cannot be an agnostic and an atheist at the same time! That has been my same belief in the past…I only identify him as such because Dr. Ehrman calls himself that on the YouTube video I shared. Regarding the formal education that people pursue…the M. Div. /PhD…the question to me personally is not why they are wasting their time (Esp. if agnostic or atheist)…but their actual intent for undertaking formal theological study. Things are very deceptive today…but I believe there are many different and complex reasons for the growing number of atheists….and yes I also believe the Christian church has miserably played a role. Christianity has survived for over two thousand years now. I do not think anyone is debating whether Jesus actually lived two thousand years ago. I think the real debate is whether you or I believe He is God. That is the question that all of us will answer over the course of our lives. Just as it was in biblical days…some of those who had the great fortune to witness His miracles believed, others did not. The more things change…the more they (humanity) stay(s) the same. Again, I thank you very much for your response! I have greatly enjoyed talking with you!!
      Kathy

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  2. “he cannot find an adequate explanation as to why pain and suffering exists”

    This is no different to asking why human conditions exist at all. Just because we don’t like these does not mean we were not meant to understand them through experience. To that, what would be light if dark didn’t exist?

    In the field of synthetic intelligence (AI theory), falling down or experiencing discomfort is a learning mechanism that demonstrates unfavourable conditions. As a result, these experiences are necessary for the growth of basic intelligence. You’re welcome to read the article I wrote (some time ago) on the AI modelling that supports this — you’d be surprised what can be learned of life when you try to synthesize it.

    “I do not think anyone is debating whether Jesus actually lived two thousand years ago”

    What about the image central to your article?

    You may find that most agnostics don’t concern themselves too much for the existence of Jesus, only in that they are unconvinced in the existence of God based on the presented evidence. More so, atheists are less concerned for the same reasons, but find the presented evidence contradicts the idea a God exists at all. It has nothing to do with the Big-Bang, quantum theory, origins of morality, or the perceptions of good verses evil — just that claims to the existence of God creating the universe just for a single primate on earth is countered by far too much evidence — contrasting the questions and postulations (not evidence) as reason enough for the existence of God.

    As a result, you can’t say “It must mean this” as an answer being more credible than “it’s evident.”

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    • Dear Drexus,
      These are the words of Dr. Ehrman who once was an evangelical Christian, yet became an “agnostic atheist” when he could not explain the existence of pain and suffering. I completely understand why pain and suffering exists…the answer becomes quite clear in the third chapter of the first book of Christian Scripture…That is the ultimate answer in regards to our current human condition. Thank you for inviting me to your blog! I did visit and I must say, you have a very nice blog although I fear our intellect is unmatched…you are far more intelligent than I am. The theories you propose requires a much more complex faith compared to my simple faith in a Creator! Our universe is so complex…an estimated 400 billion stars in our galaxy, it takes 225 million years for our sun to travel round the galaxy, and a mere spoonful of a neutron star weighs about a billion ton…. we cannot even begin to conceptualize its vastness….its infinity. The human mind, is the most complex object known to man with its hundred billion neurons, a quadrillion connections, yet we still know very little and the mystery remains! Every scientist agrees that for every effect in the universe, there must be a cause. So how can one look at the world and deny a Creator? A one-time effect without cause? We both agree, no one really debates the historicity of Christ yet we search for more evidence… You mention that atheists choose not to believe because they cannot comprehend why a God would create this vast and incomprehensible universe for just a single primate on earth….God did not create the universe for us….God created the universe for Himself! He created us for companionship!! Aren’t we all made of stardust?….Carl Sagan once stated, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing starts. We are made of star stuff.” God says, “The Lord God formed the man from dust from the ground…” (Gen 2:7 ESV) Let’s both agree to call it stardust!!
      The universe shouts out daily… “There is a God”… “There is a God”… And He is incomprehensible….just as His creation is…incomprehensible! Our human minds cannot contain Him. Our thoughts cannot begin to comprehend Him. It is no wonder that John fell to his feet as though dead when he saw Him (John 1: 17 ESV)….His Majesty….His Being….His Presence ….Jesus will be so much more incomprehensible than even His creation!!! Can you even imagine it? Thank you so much Drexus….Thank you for stretching my mind and giving me complex ideas to ponder!!! It has been a pleasure talking with you!!

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      • “theories you propose requires a much more complex faith”

        To be clear, I’m without faith of any kind. As a scientist, I impart trust in evidence as probable to a likely outcome — from experience the same outcome occurring many times before. Faith is just wishful thinking — like saying “One day, I’m going to win the lottery, I just know it.” — ignorant of the unlikely probability.

        “Every scientist agrees that for every effect in the universe, there must be a cause. So how can one look at the world and deny a Creator?”

        This is a non-sequitur, and if it wasn’t, falls perfectly under the god-of-the-gaps argument. The law of conservation of energy does not lend credence to the complexities of our reality as deterministic of a grand creator.

        “We both agree, no one really debates the historicity of Christ yet we search for more evidence.”

        Evidently, the graphic you presented (something I’ve not seen before until now) shows someone who does debate the historicity of Christ.

        “You mention that atheists choose not to believe because they cannot comprehend why a God would create this vast and incomprehensible universe for just a single primate on earth.”

        No. Atheist have no choice but not to trust God created the universe given humans are not the only primate exhibiting morality (amongst other evidence counter to the claims of religion). Else, the choice of reason becomes a function at the discretion of the individual — rather than an inherent trait.

        “God did not create the universe for us….God created the universe for Himself! He created us for companionship!! Aren’t we all made of stardust?”

        I fail to see the connection between the idea God created the universe, allowing humans to provide him companionship — as comparable to Carl Sagan’s evidence in how stars make the prime elements in the universe during their many phases. If you’re suggesting the birth of the universe and the evolution of man were guided by God, then that’s been address many times before.

        “(Gen 2:7 ESV) Let’s both agree to call it stardust!!”

        This isn’t how science works. Science reveals truth from evidence, as not defined by subjective consensus. Subjective assertions based on personal opinion and speculation is a path to self-delusion.

        “The universe shouts out daily… “There is a God”…”

        ????

        “He is incomprehensible….just as His creation is…incomprehensible!”

        He remains non-existent until proven otherwise.

        “Our human minds cannot contain Him.”

        Evidently, this is where he’s contained.

        “Can you even imagine it?”

        Not really.

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      • Dear Drexus,
        I apologize, please forgive me. The theories I was referring to are you mentioning the Big-Bang, quantum theory, origins of morality….the field of synthetic intelligence. When I mentioned your complex faith, I was not referring to a faith in any particular religion, more a faith in these scientific theories. You must have faith in your theories, in your scientific hypotheses. Your intelligence as a scientist far exceeds mine as a pediatric registered nurse. Perhaps you are right and faith is just wishful thinking…but I feel the universe and all its contents scream, “there is a God” daily. And if there is an eternal life after this, I will have everything to gain (and so much more) for just this wishful thinking which is my faith. A non-sequitur? A statement that is not connected in a logical or clear way to anything said before it? How can one deny the cause and effect theory when relating it to the creation of our universe when seemingly not denying it for anything else? I had to research the god- of- the- gaps argument briefly (lol)…anything which can be explained through our knowledge can be explained without a deity…..or divine interaction. As science continues to progress and produce answers, the role of God diminishes. However, as we advance in science and technology, we have revealed even more complexities. More complexities which remain unanswered. What was once solved in the twentieth century is now found to be inadequately explained using our twenty first century technology.
        The graphic or image I shared on my blog…I found that image on Facebook very recently…I truly strive to insure my blog is not offensive or demeaning to any particular person or religion. This image was used by a person who believes Jesus is a prophet (One who does not deny Christ’s historicity), a follower of an Abrahamic religion which denies the deity of Christ. It is intentional I do not mention any particular person or religious group on my blog so I am not offensive to anyone.
        I do see a connection between Carl Sagan’s saying we are made of star dust and God creating man from the dust of the ground. I would expect us to have differences of opinion regarding this because we both see the world through different lenses! Isn’t it wonderful talking with people who are not carbon copies of you? Engaging in conversation with people who hold different worldviews? The story of Creation is not subjective to one who views the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. He may be non-existent to you, but He is not to me! I was a prodigal…. I still feel more comfortable with non-believers….I still doubt and question Him…..I still struggle. Drexus….keep searching for your concrete and scientific evidence of Gods existence! But be careful to always listen for His whisper! That where I finally met Him!!! I heard Him speak deep within me…I heard Him! And He is pure euphoric love! At the very lowest and darkest moment of my entire life….when I gave up my pride, my rebellion, when I surrendered….He was there……

        Kathy

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  3. “The theories I was referring to are you mentioning the Big-Bang, quantum theory, origins of morality….the field of synthetic intelligence.”

    Yes, these are scientific theories and fields of study. No subjective claims are offered — all is accepted as possibly wrong at the very start — only providing value if surviving critical review through the scientific method.

    “When I mentioned your complex faith, I was not referring to a faith in any particular religion, more a faith in these scientific theories.”

    No faith is maintained. The distinction of faith/belief in vastly different than trust. For trust is earned through repeated exercise, as continuously providing a consistent result. If this cannot happen, no trust could be maintained. Faith however, is belief without evidence. Nothing more.

    “but I feel the universe and all its contents scream, “there is a God” daily.”

    Yes, you are correct: you feel. This is an expression of personal experience, and that’s fine. However, this fundamental incompatible with science. No scientist involves personal expression in their work, for science is the process of revealing truth — independent of the members personal interactions. Else, it would defeat the repeatability of even the simplest analysis.

    “And if there is an eternal life after this, I will have everything to gain (and so much more) for just this wishful thinking which is my faith.”

    And if there isn’t you might forfeit your potential as not living your life to it’s maximum potential.

    “How can one deny the cause and effect theory when relating it to the creation of our universe when seemingly not denying it for anything else?”

    The law of conservation of energy (cause and effect) is a universal constant in our reality. This is not evidence to the existence of God — they are unrelated. This is no different than saying gravity exists, hence proof god exists. Unless you want to dig into quantum theory and review the array of possible models aiming to explain the grand unified theory (GUT), you will have to do more than point to God as explanation of reality itself. However, doing so is subject to the god-of-the-gaps argument.

    “What was once solved in the twentieth century is now found to be inadequately explained using our twenty first century technology.”

    What was once accepted 2000 years ago, has since been proven false. To sight examples more to your field: People are not cursed by the devil — requiring a priest to perform a service over them, they have a virus. People don’t have a daemon trapped in their head — requiring a hole to be made (trepanning) letting the daemons out, they have a mental illness. The gap of the gods points to the ever receding explanations of our reality as an act of god — only to learn that the stars are not points of light that can fall from the sky, but other stars.

    What was the domain of God from a lack of understanding, is now a much smaller domain for God. So small in fact, that scientists can’t give credibility when you’re down to the last couple percent of what’s left. As per new discoveries revealing more complexity, these are subject to the same scientific process we’ve always used. It’s just the easier problems were answered long ago, leaving only the hard ones to explore — and we love exploring.

    “He may be non-existent to you, but He is not to me!”

    This is a spiritual revelation, not an objective component of reason. You’re welcome to it.

    “keep searching for your concrete and scientific evidence of Gods existence”

    The proof isn’t my burden. The evidence has clearly answered this question long ago.

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    • Drexus,

      But…that’s just it! I am now living my life to its maximum potential!! I have given up nothing, only gained! That is the misconception of many unbelievers! It is not what we do for Him….It is what He has already done for us! Listen for the whisper Drexus!
      Kathy

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  4. Em.

    “I have given up nothing, only gained!”

    The act of “belief” is little more than irrationality. You may gain a temporary emotional boost through “belief”, but you’re also habituating irrationality, which reduces your ability to accurately assess and influence the world around you – making you less capable of solving your problems.

    Like

    • Dear Louis,
      Thank you for responding to my blog! If irrationality is defined as not logical or reasonable, then I believe it is totally irrational to believe that something was/is created out of nothing. My belief in a Creator answers all the questions a dying humanity is constantly seeking, whether in a conscious way or not. My assessment of the world around me is now crystal clear….made this way only through my belief in God. A belief is a trust, or a faith in someone…which I behold in the only One who called himself God. I firmly believe I handle my problems much like everyone else handles theirs…..one day at a time…the best way I know how at that given moment….and I have made plenty of mistakes along the way! Christ himself stated, “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Those who believe in Him and then think they are exempt from life’s ills, struggles, or sufferings are the ones who eventually face a rude awakening and then struggle to handle their problems. Thank you again for your response. I truly appreciate your thoughts!
      Kathy

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  5. As a “believer” would likely say to me, so I say to you: I understand your situation; you do not; I sympathize. That being said, there’s nothing I can say that won’t harm you; you need to find your way out on your own, or you will impulsively react to my arguments without thought. I’ll leave you with one idea though, before -never- returning.

    “If irrationality is defined as not logical or reasonable, then I believe it is totally irrational to believe that something was/is created out of nothing.”

    Yet you attest that your deity was. When you understand that sentence, an instinct for self-deception will kicking-in, protecting you from the emotional pain of considering you are wrong, about considering your religion to be wrong, about seeing everyone you know and love to be wrong, about your entire world-view being nothing but a children’s story. And that’s a normal response to realizing how terrible life is. But refusing to acknowledge reality, hiding in delusions, keep the world awful. Thing change when we face problems.

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    • Louis… I’m not sure what you are saying to me … and for that I apologize… I am willing to respond to your arguments WITH thought… you just seem to refuse my worldview, yet I respect yours! When did I attest my deity was? I never denied my deity was! ” I AM WHO I AM “… ( Exodus 3:14 NLT). I have faced many problems .. I am willing to talk about the problems I have faced in my life If you are !?!

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