Tag Archives: God

Where is the God of Elijah?

elijah

Elisha, the prophet who succeeded Elijah asked, in 2 Kings 2:14, where if the God of Elijah? Christians of today should be asking the same question.

Elijah’s God is one that sent fire from heaven and killed the prophets of Baal. Throughout the Old Testament, we see Elijah’s God dealing harshly with those who opposed or disobeyed him. Elijah’s God drowned everyone in the world, except Noah and his family, because the world was increasingly wicked. The God of Elijah, rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, used his followers to slaughter countless enemies, and even killed a man for trying to keep the Ark of the Covenant from tipping over. Elijah’s God, at least in the Old Testament, was a vengeful, angry God that was the meanest son-of-a-bitch in town. He was not a God to be trifled with. As the writer of Hebrews said, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

However, once we get to the New Testament, outside of killing Ananias and Sapphira because they lied about the price they received for a property, Elijah’s God seems to have successfully completed anger management class and is being treated for a split personality disorder. Granted, according to the book of Revelation, God will, someday, go off his meds and revert to the vengeful, angry, petulant God of the Old Testament. But, for now, we have to wonder…exactly where IS Elijah’s God?

Evangelical preachers and TV talking heads frequently say that we are living in the Last Days. Some think it is just as bad now as it was in the days of Noah or when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Since the advent of the internet, atheists, agnostics, humanists, and virtually every non-Christian religion you can think of, has taken to the blogosphere to preach heresy and ridicule and mock the Evangelical Christian God. Abortionists, homosexuals, Hollywood actors, and Democrats, promote godlessness and give nary a thought about Elijah’s bad ass God. Where is Elijah’s God? You know that God who routinely killed false prophets and those who dare to disobey him?

It seems to me that there are two explanations for Elijah’s God being AWOL. Either he is on vacation and when he comes back he will take care of those who blaspheme his name or he doesn’t exist.  I am inclined to think that Elijah’s God doesn’t exist. Supposedly, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Surely, God should act consistently, yes? Why then, does he not strike down evil, wicked, Christ-denying false prophets like me? Why has he allowed Bart Ehrman to have such a devastating effect on the Christian church?  These days, vocal atheists live full lives and the Evangelical God does not touch them? Again, is God on vacation? Or perhaps this God does not exist.

According to Evangelicals, God is knows the number of hairs on their head, helps them find their car keys, and blesses them with jobs, cars, vacations, and palace-like church buildings. He is a micromanaging God, interested in every detail of their lives, yet when it comes to modern false prophets he does nothing. Doesn’t this seem strange to you? More than one Christian zealot has prayed an imprecatory prayer over my head, yet here I am. Why? Wouldn’t it be awesome if the Evangelical God struck me dead or caused my hands to wither up so I couldn’t type? Imagine the stories preachers could tell about the atheist God killed. Imagine books that could be written about my life, cautionary tales about a man who thought he was bigger than God. Yet, despite all the prayers, sermons, blog posts, and indignant calling fire down from heaven blog comments, I remain alive.

Perhaps it is time for Evangelicals to ask, where IS the God of Elijah? Let me know when you find him. For now, I fear his crazy, right-wing followers a lot more than I do him. You know, the ones who say they would love for someone to slit my throat.  If the Evangelical God wants to straighten me out, chastise me, or kill me, he knows where I live.

Published: July 23, 2014 | Comments: 0

Explaining the Unexplainable

god did it

Things happen that defy explanation.

I spent a good part of my life within a religious structure that took great pains to explain the unexplainable.

No matter the issue or the circumstance that couldn’t be explained, the answer was always the same.

God.

God did it.

To God be the glory.

Usually, the God did it answer was reserved for unexplainable things that were perceived as good.

Bad things?

God was never held accountable for what was perceived as bad.

Sometimes God would be given credit with a disclaimer. God was testing us, trying us, or punishing us.

Usually bad things were attributed to the Devil, to the flesh, to sin.

Every unexplainable thing that happened was explained.

To God be the glory great things he hath done, the old hymn says.

God is sovereign.

God is in control.

God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

In simple words God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and always present.

Prayer.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Then out of nowhere an unexplainable answer comes.

God.

As I reflect on 50 years spent thinking God was the answer to every question, I am forced to ask myself “how many of those God sighting in my life were just human sightings or Bruce sightings?”

I can count on one hand the things I have experienced in life that have no explanation.

Everything else that I attributed to God can just as easily be attributed to self or another human being.

I prayed for countless numbers of people who were sick, dying, mentally afflicted or bankrupt. I can not point to one prayer over 50 years where I can honestly say “there is no human explanation for what happened.”

All of the dying people I prayed for died.

All the prayers in the world didn’t keep my wife and I from going bankrupt.

All the prayers in the world didn’t keep me from debilitating illness.

Either I was a bad prayer-er or their was something amiss in the whole “let go, let God” kind of praying.

I prayed every day for 35 years.

I read my Bible almost every day too, reading through the Good Book dozens of time.

I witnessed, preached on street corners, and preached almost 5,000 sermons.

I worked for a pittance of money, believing that my self-sacrifice was pleasing to God.

I sincerely committed my heart, soul, and mind to following Jesus.

Yet, God was silent.

Oh, I attributed many things to the hand of God, the voice of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit.

All lies.

Well intentioned lies, but lies nonetheless.

I really thought God filled my mouth with the words to say when I preached.

But I always wondered, if the Bible is the Words of God why not just read the Bible to people? Wouldn’t it be better if people heard directly from God without an intermediary?

I pastored a lot of people who had unexplainable things happen to them.

The answers were always the same.

God.

Satan.

The flesh.

I have come to see that most things in life, even the surprising things, can be attributed to  human volition.

And those, count on one hand, things I can find no explanation for?

They are just that, unexplainable.

God never enters the equation.

I have no desire to rob anyone of their God.

I know the power of having God as the answer to the great questions of life.

It is comforting.

If God is always on the job there is no need to lose any sleep over what may come our way.

But for me…

Life happens.

Shit happens.

Unexplainable things happen.

Life is what it is.

Let me finish this post with quote from Ecclesiastes.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Published: July 21, 2014 | Comments: 2

Everyone Believes in God

proof that god exists

No, they don’t.

Yes, they do.

No, they don’t.

Yes, they do.

The Bible says in Romans 1:18-21:

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

and in Romans 2:14-15:

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

According to those who think EVERYONE believes in God, God has revealed himself through nature and human conscience, but those who reject this God do so by suppressing their knowledge of God. Modern Bible versions like the English Standard Version, AKA the Calvinist Bible, translate “who hold the truth in unrighteousness” in Romans 1:18 as “who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

According to the everyone believes in God crowd, every human being is born into this world with the innate understanding that God exists. As a person ages, they either embrace this innate understanding that God exists or they begin to actively suppress it. So, when a person says they are an atheist, they are not telling the truth. They are actively suppressing what they know to be true…that God exists.

Let me be clear about their use of the word God. They are not using the word God in a generic, inclusive sense. When they use the word God they mean the Christian God as revealed in the 66 books of the Christian Bible. All others Gods are false Gods and those who believe in them are, to some degree or another, suppressing their belief in the one, true Christian God.  In other words, billions of people, from atheists to Buddhists to Muslims to every other religion but Christianity, are actively suppressing the truth that the Christian God is the one true God.

On one hand, I am inclined to dismiss people who think like this as arrogant buffoons. As my counselor likes to tell me about God exclusivists; here they are, people with itty-bitty brains, living on an itty-bitty planet, thinking that, out of all the gods humans have ever created, that their God is the one and only true God and that all the other Gods throughout human existence are false. Their proof for this? The Bible says….

As I was reading some of Joshua Whipps blog posts and some of the posts by his presuppositionalist Calvinist friends, I noticed that they believe that there is no such thing as an atheist. In their mind, as soon as the atheist asserts that there is no God, they are admitting there really is a God. Evangelist Justin Cox used a similar line of illogic when he stated that because I write posts about God this means I really believe in God. On the face of it, this is a silly argument but I do want to address it.

Some scientists think human belief in a God and need of religion is an evolutionary trait that our species found beneficial. This does not mean that a God of some sort exists. It just means that believing some sort of God exists was/is beneficial to the human species. As I have stated many times before, humans can believe all sorts of things that are not true. Billions of people, through religion, find purpose, meaning, and direction. The fact that they find purpose, meaning, and direction doesn’t mean that the locus of their belief, God, exists.

Evangelicals think their belief system is truth and all other belief systems are false. Often they appeal to history, pointing out that millions (billions?) of people have believed in the Christian God. The sheer number of believers, according to them, is proof that the Christian God exists. When someone tries this approach with me, as the street preacher in Cincinnati did, I ask them if they think the God of Mormonism is the true God. They always emphatically say NO! Mormonism is a cult! But, wait a minute. I thought that the sheer number of believers is proof that God exists. Millions of people believe in the Mormon God, so this means their God is true. The same argument could be made for Islam or any of the religions of the world that had a God or Gods as the locus of their belief.

The everyone believes in God crowd believes that the existence of God is self-evident. All one has to do is look at nature and they will clearly see that God exists. Remember, they are not arguing for the existence of just any God. In their mind, there is only God, the God of the Christian Bible. But, here’s the problem with this argument, there is nothing in nature that testifies to the existence of the Christian God. Unless one is presupposed to think that God is the Christian God, then looking at nature and saying God did it will not  lead to the specific belief that the Christian God of the Bible did it.

When Evangelicals appeal to nature as proof that God exists, just for fun, I agree with them. I tell them that I fully understand how someone could look at the wonders of the natural world and universe and conclude that a God of some sort created everything. Intellectually, I think the deist argument for God can be made by appealing to nature. But, saying a God of some sort created everything is vastly different from saying the Christian God, as revealed in the 66 books of the Christian Bible, created everything.

What is there in the natural world that says to us that the Christian God of the Bible created everything? Nothing. There is nothing observable that points us to the Bible and the God revealed within its pages. The Bible God is a personal God, a God that is intimately involved with its creation. Any cursory look at our world reveals that the Bible God does not exist. We see no evidence for a God that is intimately part of our day-to-day lives. Millions of Christians pray to this God, yet all that the pray-ers hear is silence.

Claims of answered prayer are subjective and unverifiable. Sure, it is “possible” that there is a God in Heaven manning the prayer switchboard, but if this is the case, it seems that a lot of the prayer calls are being disconnected. Prayers for missing keys are readily answered but prayers pleading for the end of war and violence, for food to eat and clean water to drink, and safety from hurricanes and tornadoes, go unanswered. It seems the Evangelical prayer answering God is focused on minutia, stuff that doesn’t matter. Of course, the Bible teaches this very thinking when it says that God knows the number of hairs on your head. This God may know the number of hairs on our head but he seems unable to keep them from falling out.

babies have no religion

As I have stated countless times, I see no rational, intellectually satisfactory way to get from A God created everything to THE God, the God revealed in the Christian Bible, created everything. Coming to this conclusion requires a person to believe the Bible is truth. Without this presupposition, it is impossible to conclude that it is self-evident that the Christian God of the Bible created everything. In fact, sociologists tell us that religious belief is taught and learned rather than being self-evident. Any cursory look at a map of the world’s religions concentrations show this to be true. I am of the opinion that a child comes into the world as a blank slate and that through parental and societal instruction and example, a child embraces a particular God and religion. (along with morals, ethics, and other beliefs)

It is important to understand that the everyone believes in God crowd often have a poor understanding of atheism. Their arguments are often addressed to atheist absolutists that assert that there is NO God, period. Many of the atheists I know, myself included, do not take this approach. I am agnostic on the God question, as is Richard Dawkins. It is impossible and irrational for me to say with absolute certainty that no God of any sort exists. I can say, with a great degree of certainty, that the Gods that humans in the past or present have worshiped don’t exist. I can look at human history and the various branches of science and conclude that the Christian God of the Bible is a human fabrication. Yet, it is possible that there is some sort of God that has not yet revealed herself to us. Perhaps we are the creation of an alien race or little more than a mind game being played by bored teens on a distant planet. Perhaps the hands off God of the deist exists. There is no way of knowing because this God does not involve itself in its creation.

There are all sorts of God possibilities, but as an atheist I look at the probability of such Gods existing. The probabilities are slim, so slim that I do not give them a moment of my time. I live my life as if no God exists because I see no evidence for a God’s existence. Realizing that I  am a social creature, willingly part of a culture and a tribe, humanism becomes the foundation of my moral and ethical beliefs. When I am asked about my worldview, I respond that humanism is my worldview. It is through humanistic ideal that I live my life and pattern my interaction with others. Humanism provides me with a satisfactory way to understand the world and my place in it.

To the everyone believes in God crowd, none of what I have written here matters. Armed with absolute certainty that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, their answer to every question is, the BIBLE says. Atheists, agnostics, deists, Unitarians, and non-Christians might as well save their breath when it comes to trying to move Evangelical zealots away from their infallibility. They are like the line in the old gospel song, like a tree planted by the waters, I shall NOT be moved. Until they can consider the notion that they might be wrong, there is no hope of reaching them. Certainty of belief renders a person incapable of seeing things from any vantage point but their own.  Until they are brought to the place of seeing that the claims they make from an ancient text written thousands of years ago are not true or are suspect, then there is no way to reach them. As long as they parrot GOD SAYS there is nothing a skeptic can say that will change their mind. Until they move from GOD SAYS to YEA HATH GOD SAID, as Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden, any discussion with them is a waste of time. (and this is why I ask Evangelical zealots to read several of Bart Ehrman’s books before engaging me in a discussion about the Bible)

Published: July 17, 2014 | Comments: 2

Bruce, Did you EVER Have a Relationship with God?

christianity is not a religion

One of the questions I am often  asked is: did you have a “relationship with God” ?  The implication is that since I am now an atheist I did not have a real relationship with God. If my relationship with God had been the real deal then I would still be a Christian. In their mind, once someone finds Jesus they would never, ever want to walk away from him. (even though the Bible says people do)

Such conversations or accusations leave a bitter taste in my mouth. It is as if I am not permitted to have my own experience with God or that I am not permitted to control my own storyline. Every Christian, it seems, has their own idea of what it is to have a relationship with God. They judge every other persons experience by their own, directly contradicting the Bible they say they believe. (2 Corinthians 10:12)

Over the course of 25 years in the ministry, I pastored or preached to thousands of people. Ask any of them, at the time I was their pastor, did they think I had a relationship with God? 100% would answer yes. I was NEVER accused of not having a relationship with God.

What constitutes a relationship with God? I loved Jesus, studied the Bible, prayed, lived according to the teachings of the Bible, gave tithes and offerings, and tried my best each and every day to be a good example of a follower of Jesus Christ. I selflessly gave myself to the work of the ministry. I was zealous in witnessing, hoping to win as many people as possible to Jesus.

I realize this post won’t keep self-righteous, arrogant Christians from “judging” my past relationship with God. As long as I write about Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christianity, I am going to have Christians react in  hostile, negative, and hateful ways. While I no longer believe there is a God, for almost 50 years, I prayed to God and believed he was speaking to me. I believed God gave me the sermons I preached and that God used my sermons to change people’s lives. I believed that I could see God’s presence in my life and in the Church I pastored. God was every bit as real to me as my wife of 36 years.

My grandchildren have great imaginations. If they are left to themselves long enough they will begin to have conversations with imaginary beings. Barbie’s come to life. Stuffed animals live. In their mind, these are real relationships. Of course, adults know they are not.

That is how I look at my 50 year relationship with God. It “seemed” real to me and to everyone who knew me. I benefited from my relationship with God and so did the people I pastored. Yet, as I now know, the God I was in a relationship with was a fictional being.

The Bible says, when I became a man I put away childish things, and that is how I look at my past life. I am in no way discounting the relationship others have with their God. While I do not believe God exists, I do know that people find great comfort, hope, and purpose from believing in a higher power. Myth doesn’t need to be real for it to be of value.

Published: July 13, 2014 | Comments: 20

Which God?

greek gods

A commenter by the name of Deborah stated:

Third, you say you left the faith because of intellectual reasons. I appreciate that, because I am an intellectual myself. And being an intellectual, the idea that the world in all it’s amazing complexity just “happened by chance” is the most incredibly illogical thing I have ever heard. I have had many questions about the Bible, and I still do, but in this age of scientific enlightenment, where we know about DNA, it is unbelievable to me that an archaic idea like evolution is still being taught in the universities. Amazing.

It tough for me to know what to do with this statement because she says she is an intellectual and then rejects the vast majority of biological science.

Deborah does not state exactly which God she believes in, but I am going to assume it is the Christian God. Let’s suppose that Christians like Deborah are right, that the complexity of the universe shows that there must have been a creator. On what basis then do we conclude that that creator is the Christian God? Surely, not the book of Genesis. Taken literally, a person must believe the earth is 6,018 years old and was created in 6 literal 24 hour days. No one who understands science, archeology, and geology would make such an ignorant claim. I suppose that someone could be an old earth creationist, but this position has numerous theological problems, and is little more than an attempt by Christians to embrace science while hanging on to their belief in God. (see my recent post Genesis 1-3: Who Was God Talking To)

So, we are left then with Genesis being allegorical. Surely, we can’t gain any scientific knowledge from an allegory, right? How would we test this allegory to determine if it is true? We can’t. The greater problem with Genesis being allegorical is that it destroys the notion of original and sin and redemption, two cardinal doctrines of Christianity.

Over thousands of years, humans have created all sorts of Gods. Why are Christians so certain that their version of God is the creator God? (and there are many versions of God within Christianity) Perhaps one of the other Gods is creator or perhaps we are the creation of an alien race? What evidence is there for the exclusivity claimed by Christians for their God?

Bruce, all you  have to do is look at nature. Doesn’t it reveal to us that there is a God? Let me grant this point for a moment. Ok, nature reveals to me that there is a creator God. Again, which creator God? What evidence does nature give me to conclude that the creator God is the Christian God? At best, nature reveals a deistic God. The hands on, involved in the lives of his creation. God taught in the Bible? Where is the proof for such a God?

Christians wrongly assume that if there is any evidence that a God of some sort exists then it must be proof of their God. This is a huge jump in logic that lacks sufficient evidence. To date, no Christian has successfully produced the evidence necessary to get from A God to THE God. Apart from the Bible, there is no possible way, from nature itself, to prove that the Christian God is the creator of all.

Published: July 12, 2014 | Comments: 9

Genesis 1-3: Who Was God Talking To?

god creating

The night before October 23, 4004 BC, God, you know, THE God, the one and only God, decided to create the universe. For the next six literal 24 hours days, God created the sun, moon, stars, planets, earth, animals, insects, fish,and plant life. Oh, and I can’t forget God’s super-duper,special creation on day six:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Wait a minute…what’s this US thing all about? Do I detect polytheism? Whoever US are, and  there is no proof that this US is the trintarian God many Christians now worship, they created a human man and woman in their image. (though Genesis 2 says it was the LORD God that created Adam and Eve)

After creating Adam and Eve, the God’s closed up their creation shop and went on vacation. This October 23rd, we will celebrate the 6,018th anniversary of the first day of creation. Time for a new Hallmark card, yes? There is textual evidence for God creating Eve AFTER the six days of creation in the second creation story found in Genesis 2. This conflicts with the first creation story in Genesis 1, revealing that, from the very start, there is contradictions in the Bible.

Now I am being a bit silly here, but let me point out something very important. It is clear, based on Genesis 1:27, that there is more than one God involved in creating humans. Once we get to Genesis 3, we see that there is one God called LORD God. It is this LORD God that comes to the Garden of Eden to talk to Adam and Eve. It is this LORD God that tells Adam and Eve their punishment for eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (an interesting point here is that Adam and Eve can see God and talk to him, yet the Bible says that no man has seen God at any time)

adam and eve

After Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and both knew, for the first time, that the other was naked. While we don’t know how long the time span was between the creation of Adam and Eve and their act of disobedience, it’s hard to imagine that neither Adam or Eve paid any attention to their partners nakedness. Surely they were created with a sex drive. Sooooo, I don’t know about you…but I think I would notice that the only other living person, the person who snuggled up to me around the Camp Eden campfire, was naked.

The LORD God, being the prude that countless fundamentalist preachers have said he is, was quite disturbed over Adam and Eve’s nakedness. The LORD God, being a problem solving God, looked around for something to clothe them. He spotted a bear or maybe a buffalo or mountain lion, and in the first act of violence on earth, he killed the animals so he could make Adam and Eve clothes to wear. Using a process that humans to this day have not discovered, the LORD God killed the animal (s), dried and tanned the skin, and sewed it quicker than a Chinese sweatshop worker sewing a shirt for Walmart.

The LORD God then had a conference call with the other Gods. He said, look, remember those two humans we created? Remember the one rule we gave them? Yeah…those dumb asses picked fruit off the tree and ate it. Now they are like us, knowing good and evil. We need to do something immediately lest they eat from the Tree of Life. We don’t want them to do that, right? If they do, they will live forever, just like us. Can’t have humans living forever. What will undertakers do to make money?

So the LORD God, acting on behalf of the Gods, evicted Adam and Even from the Garden of Eden. Of course, they didn’t want to go. After all, they only had one good set of clothes. But, the LORD God was insistent and he drove them out of the Garden of Eden. To make sure that Adam and Eve could not eat from the Tree of Life, the LORD God put a flaming sword that turned every which way near the tree.

Reading Genesis 1-1 without importing trinitarian theology into it presents a very different creation story than what countless Evangelicals have been told. Go back to the text and read it for yourself. Is what I have written here plausible? On what basis do we say there was just one God? Is it not just as plausible to say that there were more than one God, a LORD God and other Gods that were perhaps subservient to him/her?

But Bruce, in the first five days of creation the Bible say God (singular) created. True, but since humans weren’t created until day 6, who was God talking to on the first five days when the Bible says, and God said? Was he talking to himself? Perhaps he was talking to the other Gods, just like he did in Genesis 1:26 and 3:22?

And I am just getting started. Go back to the text, take off your trinitarian, orthodox Christian glasses, and read it again. Is my story any less plausible than the one Evangelical children will be taught in Sunday school?

Published: July 10, 2014 | Comments: 14

God Shows His Love by Killing Almost Everyone in the World

noah flood

According to the Bible, about 4-6 thousand years ago, the world became increasingly wicked. Genesis 6:5,11,12 states:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually….

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

What was it that caused God to conclude that the wickedness of humankind was great and that their heart was evil continually?

Genesis 6:1,2,4 gives the reason as:

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose….. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

Many evangelical theologians, when asked about Genesis 6:1,2, 4 obfuscate or throw up their hands and say beats me.Other theologians suggest that the reason God came to the conclusion he did was because fallen angels were having sexual intercourse with human women and the result was  half angel/half human children. These children were considered giants, mighty men, men of renown.

Because of the wickedness of humankind, God decided to kill every living human being. God was sorry that he ever created humankind. In fact it grieved his heart. (Genesis 6:6)

God’s earth annihilation plan was simple:

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. (Genesis 6:7)

God had a human restocking plan. He could have just started completely over, but he decided to save eight people from the destruction that was going to take place in 120 years. Who were the humans that God saved?

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Genesis 6:8-10)

And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. (Genesis 7:7)

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (1 Peter 3:19)

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; (2 Peter 2:4,5)

God saved Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their three wives. 2+3+3=8 Out of the millions of people on the face of the earth God only saved eight. I wonder what happened to the children of Noah’s sons? I suppose they all could have been sterile or their wives barren but that doesn’t seem to make much sense. The logical  answer is that God killed Noah’s grandchildren in the flood.

I am often told that the Christian God is a God of love. The proof of this is that God has not yet killed me.  Of course this could be proof instead that God doesn’t exist. I certainly see things in the Bible that say to me that the Christian God is a God of love, but when I come to passages of scripture like Genesis 6-9 I am hard pressed to find any evidence of God’s love.

A common, natural reading of the passage in question causes me to conclude that the God of love killed everyone on the face of the earth, save eight, because, well, because he could. Out of millions of people God could only find eight people worthy of dry accommodations on the Ark. I know some grace-happy evangelist for the Christian faith is going to remind me that no one deserved saving and Noah and his family were saved because of God’s grace.  Why then does the Bible tell us Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations? Would it not have been better to say that Noah was just as wicked as everyone else but God, according to his matchless mercy and grace, decided to save Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives?

There is  an interesting subplot or two in this story. After God successfully killed everyone he established his covenant with Noah, his descendants, and all the animals. Genesis 9:9,10 says:

And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.

Most of the sermons preached on this subject stress that God established his covenant with Noah. Most preachers leave out that God also established his covenant with animals. I would think that Bible believing Christians would be at the forefront of the animal rights movement. I wonder if God approves of animals being inhumanely treated in factory farms or do the benefits of the covenant only apply to human beings?

According to the Bible, we are all descendants of Noah. As his seed, God gave us several  explicit commands:

Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. (Genesis 9:6,7)

Don’t shed the blood of other human beings and make lots of babies. Ponder for  moment the fact that most Christians live in direct contradiction to these two commands. In Jesus loving America, Christians overwhelmingly support the murderous wars our nation is currently involved in and most Christian women use birth control. Forget the 635 laws of the Mosaic covenant. Forget the laws of the New Testament. Christians explicitly ignore the first two commands God gave the human race after the divine reboot. Christians like to remind me that God can do what he wants. Since God is in complete control of all things, it seems proper that Christians would obey these two commands without any hesitation.

Surely God can keep our nation from being attacked by terrorists or a hostile country. If he can kill millions of people in a flood surely he can keep the Chinese from nuking us. Since God opens and shuts the womb, I don’t understand why Christian women use birth control. It seems to me that God will give them the exact number of children he wants them to have and by using birth control they are usurping the will of God for their life.

There is another passage in this story that many people find quite strange.

And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread. And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. (Genesis 9:18-25)

This is another passage that pastors and theologians tend to ignore or explain away. Granted, we are not not given enough details to make a sure interpretation, but I would like to venture a guess anyway. Here is how I see it: Noah got drunk and Ham went into his father’s tent and committed a sexual act with his drunk father.  Some theologians suggest that all that happened here was that Ham saw his father naked.  Why then does the Bible say Noah knew what his younger son had DONE unto him? Whatever Ham did, Noah was able to SEE what he had done. Surely Noah, one of the men in the Hebrews 11 hall of faith, a man lionized in countless Sunday school lessons, couldn’t have had homosexual sex with his son, right? I wonder what God thought of this?

Let’s return now to the main thrust of the Genesis 6-9 story.  God made up his mind to kill everyone on the face of the earth besides Noah,his wife, his three sons and their wives. He told Noah to build an ark to house Noah, his family, and the animals God intended to save.

For 120 years, Noah faithfully built the ark. When the ark was completed God supernaturally called all of the animals into the ark, Then God told Noah and his family to enter the ark.  Once they entered the ark God shut them in. (Genesis 7:16) After everyone God intended to save was in the ark, God caused the earth to be deluged with water. For 40 days it rained until the water was over 20 feet higher than the highest mountain.

The Bible gives an explicit accounting of what happened to those left outside the ark:

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. (Genesis 7:21-23)

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Millions of people, millions of animals perished in the flood. Think for a moment about who died. I often use this story to illustrate the fact that God is not pro-life. I am told time and again by Evangelical Christians that life begins at fertilization and that killing the fetus is murder. I wonder if ANY of the women killed in the flood were pregnant? Out of all the women who perished in the flood, is it reasonable to think that NONE of them were pregnant? Of course not. So, I conclude that God killed pregnant women in the flood. God also killed children and the mentally handicapped. So much for God being pro-life.

I can hear the keys clacking on the keyboards of apologists for the Christian God. They are typing long, Bible verse laden, defenses of their murderous God. Here’s what they will likely say:

  • God is God so he can do what he wants.
  • God is omniscient so he knows what future choices people will make and how their lives will turn out. God killed them with that in mind.
  • God, as creator, has a right to do what he will with his creation.

The Apostle Paul was dealing with some Bruce Gerencser’s in his day when he said:

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (Romans 9:17-20)

It is clear to me that God is quite schizophrenic when it comes to his love. Genesis 6-9 shows that God is a God of judgment and wrath who kills those who disobey him. He saved eight out of the millions he killed. Christians get all grace happy when they see this. Oh what mercy, oh what love, to save eight who didn’t deserve to be saved. This is the same argument that is used when the news reports a plane crash where ninety-nine people died and one person was saved. Humanity is supposed to break out in song, singing What a Mighty God we Serve, every time God saves 1% of the people on a plane that crashes. Surely we can come up with a deity that has a better saving average than the Christian God?

The Old Testament continues to be a big problem for modern Christians. The God of mercy and compassion has demonstrated through his recorded actions that he is a capricious and vindictive deity. How do Christians comes to terms with the fact that they worship a God that is quite willing to wipe everyone off the face of the earth? Quite simple…they ignore this God or pretend he doesn’t exist.  They have a pick and choose Christianity. They believe what they want to believe and ignore the rest.

I have asked numerous Christians to explain the love of God in light of Genesis 6-9. I have yet to hear an explanation that doesn’t sound like excuse making for God. Years ago, I remember seeing a Calvinistic tract about Noah and the flood. There was a picture of Noah’s ark on the front of the tract. On the side of the ark was a life saver that said Smile, God has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life.  Cruel, to be sure. Hard and heartless, as Calvinism can be.The Calvinist has an easy explanation for Genesis 6-9. The people who died in the flood were not the elect. According to Calvinism, God decreed before the world was created to save certain people. Before any human being was ever created God decided who would and would not be saved.Those who died in the flood were not those God purposed to save.They NEVER had a chance. They were dead before they were ever born.

I want to conclude this post by asking you to think about HOW the people God killed in the flood died. God could have, in a moment, caused every human being to drop dead. According to the Bible, he has the power to do so. Instead, God drowned everyone. Imagine the last 40 days on earth. It began to rain and after a few days flooding was a big problem. Those who could flee ran to higher ground . Frantic to avoid a  horrible death, they climbed higher and higher. Finally, they ran out of ground and God had them right where he wanted them. As they held their heads high and gasped for air, God allowed the water to rise above their heads and he drowned the last human beings outside the ark.

God was the original water-boarder. The only difference is that everyone he tortured died.

Published: July 10, 2014 | Comments: 8

Fake Wrestling: The IFB Tag Team of Justin Cox and Charles Patrick Adkins

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If you have not read my previous post on Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) evangelist Justin Cox, I encourage you to do so. Cox continues to try to evangelize me even though I block his every effort. He continues to tweet out my name even though I don’t get the tweets (Cox later deleted his tweets). (a small favor from the gods)

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Here’s a few tweets Cox sent out after I wrote this post. He seems clueless to the fact that I can read his Twitter feed without getting any notifications about his tweets.

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Cox takes the approach that more than a few fundamentalist Christians take with me, and that is saying I am not an atheist because there is no such thing as an atheist. Atheists prove that God exists every time they mention God and they deliberately suppress his existence. Well, at least according to Justin Cox.

Because Cox cannot theologically or rationally process my story, he is forced to deny the truth of what I say. He has even gone so far as to say that he knows me better than I know myself. Anything but admit that I once was a Christian and now I am not, that I once followed after Jesus and now I am an atheist.

Late last week, Charles Patrick Adkins, another defender of the most holy IFB faith, got upset with me and declared via his blog that I never was a Christian. Adkins, in a post titled I am Done with Bruce Gerencser wrote:

I tried being civil to Bruce Gerencser and now that seems to have been a tragic mistake…

…I guess the apostle Paul was not joking when he wrote this:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. – (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV)

The Lord’s grace is unlimited; mine is not. So, seeing that Mr. Gerencser is not interested in being a man; and stopping an attack on his blog, I have decided to not grace that site with my presence any longer. I feel bad that he was used and abused in the IFB circles; and that he used that as an excuse to turn his back on the Lord. But, I do not have to be treated like that; not at all.

Perhaps my taking a non-judgemental stance towards him was a mistake; not one I will never make again — not in this lifetime. To be quite honest, I do not believe that the man was even truly saved in the first place. Bruce might have said a prayer; but there was no true heart conversion. If there was, he would still be among the believers. Truth is, he said a prayer, and was trained and conditioned in the ways of the Church. However, when the heat was turned up, he grew frustrated and looked for an excuse to leave; and the books he read gave him his excuse. This happens quite a bit in Christianity, not only in IFB circles, but in Christianity in general. People that do this are not grounded in their Faith at all…

Adkins, like Cox, refuses to accept my story as I tell it. He can’t because his theology won’t allow it. Instead, he is forced to quote Bible verses that prove, at least to him, that I never was a real Christian. What is most interesting with Adkins is that he waited 6 years to let me know about his judgment of my life.

Cox and Adkins likely say they know they are saved because they were there when God saved them. Why don’t they treat my story the same way? After all, I was there when God died.

Cox, in particular, thinks if I write about God that it means I really, really, really, deep down, in the dark recesses of my heart of hearts, believe the Christian God exists. Lost on him is the fact that I write about religion, so writing about God, Christianity, and theology is what I do. I also write about baseball and football. Does that make me a professional baseball and football player? I also write about Baptist preachers who molest and abuse children. Does that mean I am a child molester? I write about all kinds of issues. Using Cox’s illogical line of thinking, I must be/believe whatever I write about. Anyone with a modicum of common sense can easily see how ignorant Cox’s thinking is.

Note

Cox might want to stop writing and tweeting about the atheist Bruce Gerencser.  He seems oblivious to the fact that this is a widely read site that ranks quite well with Google. As a result, the first two links for Evangelical Justin Cox are to this blog. I doubt he will listen to me. One thing I know about IFB preachers, especially evangelists…they have cement in their head.

Published: July 8, 2014 | Comments: 29