Biblically, the death penalty could not be applied unless there were at least two eyewitnesses to the incident. Circumstantial evidence, even when strong, is not the equivalent of multiple eyewitnesses and therefore does not meet the Biblical standard. Interestingly, however, the Bible long ago acknowledged a specific eyewitness that only in recent decades has become recognized in Americans courts.
Recall the account of Cain’s murder of his brother Abel from Genesis 4:8-10. When God asked Cain where his brother was and Cain lied, God specifically confronted him with the declaration: “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground” (v. 10). Blood cries out? Blood has a voice? How can that be? We now know that DNA has a voice – that it serves as an eyewitness to specific crimes, just as when it cried out to God about Abel’s death. This voice therefore Biblically qualifies as one of the “two or three eyewitnesses” needed to secure the death penalty in a capital crime.
This is another reminder that you can make the Bible say anything. Thoughtful Christians should be embarrassed by this kind of thinking, but I suspect Barton’s revelation will be seized upon as a-n-o-t-h-e-r proof that the Bible is an accurate, up-to-date, infallible science textbook.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is my favorite scientist. He’s an affable man with a unique ability to communicate complex science in a way that the non-science trained person (me) can understand what he is talking about. I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of COSMOS, especially the part where deGrasse Tyson uses the calendar year to explain the history of the universe. I thought, what a wonderful, easy way to explain the history of the universe.
BM: So when a child sings, or used to sing, I don’t think they do anymore, “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are,” it’s not twinkling. Something powerful, dramatic, and dynamic is happening to it. Right?
NDT: Well, yes, and we call that twinkling. So yeah, there’s starlight coming billions of, or millions of light years, well it depends on if it’s a galaxy, well, hundreds of thousands of light years across space, and it’s a perfect point of light as it hits our atmosphere, turbulence in the atmosphere jiggled the image, and it renders the star twinkling.
And by the way, planets are brighter than stars typically, like Jupiter and Venus. Venus has been in the evening skies lately. And if you go, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are,” and you, I want, you want to wish upon the star, most people are wishing on planets. That’s why their wishes don’t come true. Because the planets are the first stars to come out at night.
BM: Don’t you sometimes feel sad about breaking all these myths apart?
NDT: No, no, because I think it’s, some myths are, deserve to be broken apart. The, out of respect for the human intellect. That, no, when you’re writhing on the ground and froth is coming out of your mouth, you’re having an epileptic seizure. You have not been invaded by the devil. We got this one figured out, okay? I mean, discovery moves on. So, I don’t mind the power of myth and magic. But take it to the next frontier and apply it there. Don’t apply it in places where we’ve long passed what we already know is going on.
BM: Do you give people who make this case, that that was the beginning and that there had to be something that provoked the beginning, do you give them an A at least for trying to reconcile faith and reason?
NDT: I don’t think they’re reconcilable.
BM: What do you mean?
NDT: Well, so let me say that differently. All efforts that have been invested by brilliant people of the past have failed at that exercise. They just fail. And so I don’t, the track record is so poor that going forward, I have essentially zero confidence, near zero confidence, that there will be fruitful things to emerge from the effort to reconcile them. So, for example, if you knew nothing about science, and you read, say, the Bible, the Old Testament, which in Genesis, is an account of nature, that’s what that is, and I said to you, give me your description of the natural world based only on this, you would say the world was created in six days, and that stars are just little points of light much lesser than the sun. And that in fact, they can fall out of the sky, right, because that’s what happens during the Revelation.
You know, one of the signs that the second coming, is that the stars will fall out of the sky and land on Earth. To even write that means you don’t know what those things are. You have no concept of what the actual universe is. So everybody who tried to make proclamations about the physical universe based on Bible passages got the wrong answer.
So what happened was, when science discovers things, and you want to stay religious, or you want to continue to believe that the Bible is unerring, what you would do is you would say, “Well, let me go back to the Bible and reinterpret it.” Then you’d say things like, “Oh, well they didn’t really mean that literally. They meant that figuratively.”
So, this whole sort of reinterpretation of the, how figurative the poetic passages of the Bible are came after science showed that this is not how things unfolded. And so the educated religious people are perfectly fine with that. It’s the fundamentalists who want to say that the Bible is the literally, literal truth of God, that and want to see the Bible as a science textbook, who are knocking on the science doors of the schools, trying to put that content in the science room. Enlightened religious people are not behaving that way. So saying that science is cool, we’re good with that, and use the Bible for, to get your spiritual enlightenment and your emotional fulfillment.
BM: I have known serious religious people, not fundamentalists, who were scared when Carl Sagan opened his series with the words—Carl Sagan, from “Cosmos”: The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. I mean, that scared them, because they interpret that to mean, then if this is it, there’s nothing else. No God and no life after.
NDT: For religious people, many people say, “Well, God is within you,” or God, the, there are ways that people have shaped this, rather than, God is an old, grey-bearded man in the clouds. So if God is within you, what, I’m sure Carl would say, in you in your mind. In your mind, and we can measure the neurosynaptic firings when you have a religious experience.
We can tell you where that’s happening, when it’s happening, what you’re feeling like at the time. So your mind of course is still within the cosmos.
BM: But do you have any sympathy for people who seem to feel, only feel safe in the vastness of the universe you describe in your show if they can infer a personal God who makes it more hospitable to them, cares for them?
NDT: In this, what we tell ourselves is a free country, which means you should have freedom of thought, I don’t care what you think. I just don’t. Go think whatever you want. Go ahead. Think that there’s one God, two Gods, ten Gods, or no Gods. That is what it means to live in a free country. The problem arises is if you have a religious philosophy that is not based on objective realities that you then want to put in a science classroom. Then I’m going to stand there and say, “No, I’m not going to allow you in the science classroom.” I’m not telling you what to think, I’m just telling you in the science class, “You’re not doing science. This is not science. Keep it out.” That’s where I, that’s when I stand up. Otherwise, go ahead. I’m not telling you how to think.
BM: I think you must realize that some people are going to go to your show at the planetarium and they’re going to say, “Ah-hah! Those scientists have discovered God. Because God,” dark matter, “is what holds this universe together.”
NDT: So is that a question?
BM: It’s a statement. You know, you know they’re going to say that—
NDT: So the history of discovery, particularly cosmic discovery, but discovery in general, scientific discovery, is one where at any given moment, there’s a frontier. And there tends to be an urge for people, especially religious people, to assert that across that boundary, into the unknown lies the handiwork of God. This shows up a lot. Newton even said it. He had his laws of gravity and motion and he was explaining the moon and the planets, he was there. He doesn’t mention God for any of that. And then he gets to the limits of what his equations can calculate. So, I don’t, can’t quite figure this out. Maybe God steps in and makes it right every now and then. That’s where he invoked God.
And Ptolemy, he bet on the wrong horse, but he was a brilliant guy. He formulated the geocentric universe, with Earth in the middle. This is where we got epicycles and all this machinations of the heavens. But it was still a mystery to him. He looked up and uttered the following words, “when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies,” these are the planets going through retrograde and back, the mysteries of the Earth, “when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies, I no longer touch Earth with my feet. I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia.”
What he did was invoke, he didn’t invoke Zeus to account for the rock that he’s standing on or the air he’s breathing. It was this point of mystery. And in gets invoked God. This, over time, has been described by philosophers as the God of the gaps. If that’s how you, if that’s where you’re going to put your God in this world, then God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance.
If that’s how you’re going to invoke God. If God is the mystery of the universe, these mysteries, we’re tackling these mysteries one by one. If you’re going to stay religious at the end of the conversation, God has to mean more to you than just where science has yet to tread. So to the person who says, “Maybe dark matter is God,” if the only reason why you’re saying it is because it’s a mystery, then get ready to have that undone.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Ephesian 4:26
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. James 1:20
Anger is a common human emotion. Each of us handles anger differently. Some of us are quick-tempered, others internalize anger, and some of us count to ten or use other control techniques. No matter how anger affects us or how we deal with it, we’ve all been angry at one time or another.
People who says they never get angry are not being honest. Either they have a faulty view of what constitutes anger or they have deceived themselves about their emotions. Everyone gets angry.
Seeing a counselor on a regular basis has helped me to see that anger is a normal part of being human. For most of my life, I thought anger was a sin. If I got angry about something or someone I was sinning against God.
Most Evangelicals believe that there are two types of anger, fleshly or worldly anger and righteous anger. According to the Evangelical, fleshly or worldly anger is a sin against God. Righteous anger, however, is an anger to be desired and cultivated. Righteous anger occurs when the Christian hates what God hates. Of course, it is the Christian who, through his or her interpretation of the Bible, determines what and who God hates. When homophobic Baptist preachers are confronted over their anger towards and hatred of homosexuals, they often play the righteous anger card. In their mind, they are just loving what God loves and hating what God hates.
I find it interesting that what God loves and hates matches exactly with what the Evangelical loves and hates. Witness the culture wars with their vitriol and hatred. Culture warriors routinely say that they are just a mouthpiece for God. I find it strange that God talks out of his ass. Evangelicals are angry about all sorts of things that supposedly an affront to God: sin, worldliness, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, Barack Obama, abortion, Obama, sexual immorality, illegals immigration, Starbucks coffee cups, Barack Obama, nudity on TV, programs that mock Christianity. As offended Evangelicals rise up and vehemently shout their opposition, they are certain they speak for God and that their anger is of the righteous variety. Non-Evangelicals just see angry, hateful, offended people.
Evangelical preachers have a natural outlet for their anger. They can get up in the pulpit and rail against virtually anything and anyone and call it righteous anger. The preacher becomes God in the flesh, because he hates what God hates. Witness the preaching that goes on in many Independent and Southern Baptist churches. The preacher screams, hollers, stomps, spits, and hits the pulpit as he preaches against anything and everything he considers sin. Since the preacher’s sin list is exactly the same as God’s list, his angry preaching is considered righteous anger. Again, Non-Evangelicals just see an angry, hateful, offended person.
I am a temperamental person. I have red hair. Everyone knows redheaded people have bad tempers, right? (Combine red hair with being a Baptist preacher; well that’s a perfect recipe for fireworks in the pulpit every Sunday.) As I entered the ministry, I learned that I had to “die to self.” i.e., I had to die to my anger. I had to suppress my anger at all times. Any display of anger was a sin against God. I learned quickly that perception is reality. If I wanted to be seen by others as a “man of God” or as a “Holy Spirit filled preacher” I had to keep my temper under control at all times. No matter what anyone did to me I had to grin and bear it. No matter what anyone said to me I had to always keep my temper in check. Above all, I had to maintain my testimony.
Some of the nastiest people I have ever met were in church. People who were constantly critical felt it their calling to remind me of my deficiencies and failures. I’ve been abused by more than a few Holy-Spirit-filled, Jesus-praising Christians. No matter what they said or what they did I was never allowed to show anger. And I was, to be sure, angry. Really angry. The anger was driven inward. When it bubbled to the top it usually made itself known to the people who I loved the most, my wife and children.
Behind closed doors I was allowed to be myself. I was allowed to be angry. Unfortunately, my anger was misplaced. Instead of being angry with that pompous ass of a deacon or the bitch who thinks she controls the church, I was angry with my family. I transferred my anger from the people who should have received it, and took it out on those I love.
Now that I am no longer a Christian or a preacher I am free to be human again. Those who deserve my anger get it. I no longer try to suppress my emotions. There are things that SHOULD make me angry. My counselor tells me that to not be angry is abnormal. I am now free to be angry. Cut me off in traffic and I’m likely to wave at you. Show disrespect to me or to my wife and I am likely to let you know what I think about your opprobrium. I no longer have to put up with people who feel their calling in life is to make others miserable,
It feels good to say to the cashier from hell, “do you normally treat everyone like shit?” It is refreshing to get angry with the refs when they blow a call and my team loses. It also feels absolutely wonderful to be able to express anger towards people like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, and other right-wing zealots. Those who want to harm others deserve my anger, and now that Jesus is no longer looking over my shoulder, I’m free to pointedly say what I think about those who seem to think they are called in life to savage anyone who gets in their way.
I have found that anger has its place in my life. I’ve have also found that anger has its boundaries. If I want to practice mindfulness, I must learn to channel my anger into productive ventures. I’ve seen first-hand that living a life of constant anger will destroy a person, physically, emotionally, and mentally. But, so will trying to live as if anger doesn’t exist. I no longer concern myself with what God thinks. When anger is justified I allow myself to be angry. When it is not I try to realize it and act appropriately. My desire is to fully embrace my humanity.
What has been your experience with anger? For you who are no longer Christian, how have you dealt with anger now that there is no Bible prohibition to deal with? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.
Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years. Listen to carrion — put your ear close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come. Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. So long as women do not go cheap for power, please women more than men. Ask yourself: Will this satisfy a woman satisfied to bear a child? Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts. As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.
Please check out Wendell Berry’s books in our bookstore. While Berry is a liberal theist, I find that his writing deeply resonates with me and has had a profound effect on my life.
Susan-Anne White, a resident of Northern Ireland and a fundamentalist Christian who believes homosexuality, adultery, divorce, abortion, and rock music should be outlawed, thinks I am a despicable, obnoxious, militant, hateful atheist. She’s taken to her blog to denounce me. Here’s what she had to say:
I have already mentioned the Ex-Pastor Bruce Gerencser in a previous post, and since then, I have continued to read some of the posts on his blog and posted comments when I felt it was necessary and, indeed, my duty to do so.
This man Gerencser, is one of the most despicable, obnoxious individuals I have ever encountered. He is militant, hateful atheism writ large.
He refers to himself at times as Bruce Almighty and when he does so, he adds blasphemy to his many sins. He has now made it impossible for me to post comments on his blog, so obviously, he could not handle the truth contained in my many comments. I also think it likely that I was influencing (for good) some of his regular readers and commenters so he had to silence me. He cannot silence me on our own blog however.
Before he banned me from commenting, I confronted him about his use of the designation “Ms” in reference to me, a designation I abhor. He admitted that he did this to annoy me! I asked him about his wife’s designation i.e is she referred to as “Mrs.” Gerencser or “Ms.” Gerencser. I had to force the issue to get an answer from him and what do you think he said? “Her name is Polly.”
So there we have it. That being the case, we must assume that on their wedding day, they were pronounced “Mr. and Polly Gerencser” and that, ever since, when they receive any official letters etc, they are addressed to “Mr. and Polly Gerencser.” I think not.
Methinks the EX-Pastor is telling a fib.
Please read all the comments I posted on his blog post (link below) because some of the things he says to me and about me are violent, shocking and slanderous.
By the way, White is not banned. Her comments are moderated. She is free to pontificate and excoriate, but I must approve each comment. As far as her latest blog post is concerned, I think it speaks for itself.
I have been commenting on the blog of a former Pastor turned atheist called Bruce Gerencser for a few days. He also has a Facebook page and he posted my Manifesto on it. You will notice that he made three points about my Manifesto and, taken in order, they are as follows,
1. I am a “fundamentalist crazy” 2. I live in England 3. I’m running for political office
He is WRONG on all three!
1. I am not crazy 2. I do not live in England (I live in Northern Ireland) 3. I’m not running for political office as the election took place last May.
He also posts a comment from someone calling himself Marc Ewt who states that Northern Ireland is his home country and then proceeds to utter nonsense about NI (some of his assertions are hilarious.)
Ex-Pastor Bruce Gerencser is gullible enough to believe that every word Marc Ewt utters is the truth and tells him that reading his comment about the state of things in Northern Ireland helps put people like “White” in context. (Note how the former Pastor refers to me as “White” not “Mrs.White” and I don’t like it.) Read the ex-Pastor’s facebook comment below, followed by the comment by Marc Ewt, followed by the ex-Pastor’s response to ignoramus Ewt…
White mentions her Manifesto. Here’s a copy of it:
…Susan Anne White, who caused a stir when she stood in last year’s council elections, is now aiming to become MP for West Tyrone.
The devout Christian says her campaign will focus on moral issues including society’s “dangerous” homosexual agenda.
She also wants to outlaw rock music, saying it fuels sexual anarchy and drug use.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs White, who is standing as an Independent, denied that her views were extreme.
“I don’t consider myself extreme – not at all,” she said. “It is society that has moved. Not so far in the past, most people would have shared my views.
“My views only seem extreme because society has moved away from God’s principles.”
Mrs White, who is from Trillick in Co Tyrone, is one of nine candidates standing in West Tyrone on May 7.
The outgoing Sinn Fein MP, Pat Doherty, has a comfortable 10,000-plus majority. Last May, Mrs White stood for the new Fermanagh and Omagh Council, receiving just 67 first preference votes.
Mrs White said she opposes feminism “with all her might”, and says it is to blame for the recession.
“Feminism is responsible for many of the social ills we see all around us,” she added.
“They [feminists] are responsible for the economy – they destroyed the whole concept of a family wage with the father as the bread-winner and the stay-at-home mother. They make women feel they have to be out in the workforce.”
Mrs White is also “absolutely opposed to the homosexual agenda” in today’s society. If I had the power, I would certainly re-criminalise homosexuality, along with adultery,” she added.
She said anyone involved in homosexual or adulterous practices should be jailed.
“I would stop the funding of gay pride parades and other depraved art and cultural events,” she added.
Despite her strong views, Mrs White claims she is a “true friend” to the gay community.
“I tell them the truth,” she added. “The person who is not a friend, the person who is the enemy to the homosexual is the person who pats them on the back and says their lifestyle is perfectly normal and acceptable.”
While campaigning last year, Mrs White spoke out about rock music, saying acts like Iron Maiden and Kurt Cobain promoted anarchy in society. She said she remained opposed to these and other “vulgar acts”.
“A lot of rock music is dangerous for the hearing,” she added.
“That is not the only problem with it. There is an ideology which permeates rock music and it is sexual anarchy. It is also linked to drugs.” She said rock music had “a terrible effect” on young people.
Mrs White blames the EU for much of society’s “decadence”, saying she would withdraw from Europe “tomorrow”…
Here’s a video of White making inflammatory comments about homosexuals:
Here’s a wickedly wonderful bit of satire someone at the Waterford Whispers News wrote about White:
A MONSTER five-foot long rat has been found swimming in the Irish media for the past fortnight, and it’s looking for a good home.
The vermin, a Caucasian Christian bigot, was reported to be dwelling in West Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
It is believed to be the worst of its kind found in recent years.
Nicknamed ‘Susan’ by its minders, the rat is not believed to be physically dangerous but its spine-tingling screams have begun to upset locals.
“It just slithered out from underneath a rock somewhere,” constituent Gerry Kennedy told WWN today. “The vile yoke just sits there screaming nonsense all the time. I’ve called the local animal welfare group to see if we can get rid of it.
“Hopefully they can put it out of its misery.”
The animal is presumed to have escaped or been released by a a local Christian breeder.
Witnesses say the rodent is about the size of a dog, weighs in at 60kg, has a tartan coat and white mane and is thought to feed on those it doesn’t agree with.
Locals have called on anyone that comes in contact with the creature to just ignore it.
According to Wikipedia, Susan-Anne White is in her eighties. While it would be easy to dismiss White’s vitriol towards the human race as dementia, the fact is she is a perfect example of someone who has taken her Christian fundamentalist beliefs to their logical conclusion. White, like the late Fred Phelps and his demented family, says in public what uncounted Evangelical and Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preachers and church members say in private. I’ll give her credit for being willing to display her homophobia and bigotry for all to see. I wish more of her ilk would do the same.
White’s two posts about me generated no traffic to this site. In another post, White stated her blog readership numbers were decreasing. I wonder why? Like Steven Anderson, the infamous pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona, Susan-Anne White has followers who think she is spot on. Not many, but a few. I hope she will continue to write and speak out about the evils of this fallen and depraved world. The more people like her talk, the easier it is for atheists like me to make a case for the bankruptcy of Evangelical Christianity.
This is the sixty-eighth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.
I’ve cursed on a Sunday I’ve cheated and I’ve lied I’ve fallen down from grace A few too many times But I find holy redemption When I put this car in drive Roll the windows down and turn up the dial
[Chorus] Can I get a hallelujah Can I get an amen Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya When I play the highway FM I find my soul revival Singing every single verse Yeah I guess that’s my church
When Hank reads the sermon And Cash leads the choir It gets my cold cold heart burning Hotter than a ring of fire When this wonderful world gets heavy And I need to find my escape I just keep the wheels rolling, radio scrolling Until my sins wash away
Can I get a hallelujah Can I get an amen Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya When I play the highway FM I find my soul revival Singing every single verse Yeah I guess that’s my church Yeah I guess that’s my church Yeah I guess that’s my church
Here is an email I received from a Catholic upset over the content of this blog.
Take your blogs down, why spread your evil disease of lack of faith to others; misery loves company. Repent, call out to the Almighty with all your heart, be willing to raise the flag of surrender to God, brother you must ask God for sustained faith it is a gift, not something you conjure out of your own heart. Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, if you are eternally lost, and you asked not for faith it is no ones fault but your own: Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Most High and Sovereign Father, grant to this man renewed faith, fill him w Thy Holy Spirit to the uttermost, utterly bind the Enemy and his helpers work against Bruce’s soul, Mother Mary and all ye Holy Ones in Heaven assist me in my prayers for Bruce, St. Pio, St. Jude, St. Anthony of Padua, St Nicholas, St Seraphim of Sarov, help pray for this man, I beg, that his soul not be lost and that he would no longer work against the Most Holy Faith of Jesus, O Lord have mercy on His soul and irresistibly draw him back to Christ, and to His Church, in Jesus’ name do I pray, Amen
I received this email a couple of years ago. Philokalia3’s prayers, like every other Christian prayer uttered against me, must have not made it to God’s voice mail box. Despite calling on God, Mary, and a host of saints, I remain unrepentant. So much for the “power” of prayer.
According to a website set up by several Faithful Word church members, the church hopes to send Anderson on vacation for his 10th anniversary. I thought, hey, why not encourage readers of this blog to help support the effort to send Anderson on vacation. While the church is asking for every supporter, which they number at a million or more, to send at least one dollar, I plan to send Anderson one penny, letting him know how much I think of his hate and bigotry. Perhaps you would like to do the same. Here’s what the church’s website says (site no longer active) about their vacation-sending effort:
Pastor Anderson strongly believes rather than only preaching about church attendance, to actually be an example to his congregation. That is why he has never missed a service for a vacation or work and has only in 10 years missed a handful of services for either horrible sickness or a child birth. Keeping in mind that growing this church has been a whole family effort in the last decade, we think it’s time to send Pastor and his family on a real vacation. Operation Send Pastor Packing!
The location of the vacation will depend largely on how much money we can raise. Ideally, if sufficient funds come in, we would love to fly the whole family to a fun destination for 2 weeks.
We are asking every online listener to please donate $1. What a fun way and story to tell that would be, if we could raise enough money with everyone pitching in $1. Please simply take $1 bill, and mail it to the following address:
Anniversary Appreciation Fund P.O Box 10384 Tempe, AZ 85284
If you are mailing a check or money order, please make it out to “Anniversary Appreciation Fund” and mail it to the above address, as this is a surprise, and not a donation to the church.
Or you can send your donation through PayPal. This is a special fundraising account we have set up in Zsuzsanna Anderson’s name, since they ultimately will be the recipients.
Of course you may donate any amount you would like, but with the amount of online listeners Faithful Word has around the world, even if everyone donated $1 that would make a great vacation. In order for this to work though we need to get this website in front of all those listeners so please SHARE, SHARE, SHARE on all your social media accounts. Don’t forget to use the hash tag #fwbc10year
To be clear this is not a tax deductible, donation to the church. This is a GIFT, a fund raised by Faithful Word Members to give the Andersons to be used for a vacation presented to them at the Ten Year Special Service. We would be so grateful for your help in making this happen!
**Note- Anybody who donates $20 or more will receive a special postcard from the Anderson Family from the surprise destination!
Anybody who donates any amount, will have their name listed in the documentary credits. Thank you!
Here’s a video that details what the church is trying to do. Please watch it. You will laugh, and then you will feel a deep sense of sadness for those who think that Steven Anderson is a great man of God, a man worthy of praise and adulation. For those not schooled in the IFB way of life, pastor appreciation services/events/fundraisers are quite common. They are used as reminder to everyone of who really matters; not Jesus, but Pastor MVP.
The church is also asking for testimony videos from those who support Anderson. Here’s another way readers can let Anderson and his church know what they think of their “ministry.” Make a short video and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. According to the church’s website, these videos will be made part of a documentary film. I plan to make a video, and when it is finished I will share it in a blog post.
The church asks that people publicize Anderson’s 10th anniversary. I am so glad they asked. Please share this post far and wide. Let’s give Pastor Anderson the celebration he so richly deserves.
I have heard this line many times over the past several years “as long as you believe in God, that’s all that matters.” Implied in this statement is the notion that belief in the CHRISTIAN God is all that matters. No matter what denominational flavor a person might be, as long as he or she believes in the Christian God then everything is OK. What are we to make of this generic statement of belief in God? Isn’t there more to Christianity than just saying, “I believe in God”? What about specific beliefs. Do they matter? Does it matter if I believe anything specific, about the Christian God? Or is it OK if I just have warm, fuzzy feelings about the Christian God?
Every organized religion has a formulated belief system. To be a ___________________you must believe ___________. Can one be a Christian and not believe in Jesus? Of course not.
It seems that many Christians are uncomfortable with what they believe, especially when it comes to judgment and hell. Christians hem and haw about the future state of those who do not believe in Jesus. That’s why they like the “as long as you believe in God that’s all that matters” line of thinking. It lets them and their God off the hook.
What if I said I believe in Allah or Zeus? Would that satisfy the “as long as you believe in God that’s all that matters” crowd? Is there any God that is not an acceptable God?
Inherent in this line of thinking is the notion that humans MUST believe in a being bigger than themselves. Why? Why must I have any God at all? Is it not enough to live, embrace life, and die? Is it not enough to eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow I die? Is it not enough to love the wife of my youth, my children, and my grandchildren? Is it not enough to love my neighbor as myself?
I find no need for a God. Perhaps on my deathbed I will think differently, but, for now, God seems of little importance in the day to day machinations of my life.
Most Americans have a difficult time understanding atheists and agnostics, or for that matter anyone different from themselves. They are quite certain that godlessness means that a person is a Satanist, child molester, or a deviant of some kind. Never mind the fact that most child molesters and deviants have a religious background and atheists don’t believe in Satan.
How can one live without God?, they ask themselves.
I find little difference between myself and most Christians I know. I say there is no God and live accordingly, and they say there is a God and live, for the most part, as if God doesn’t exist. It seems the only difference is what we “say” we are and where we spend Sunday morning. Such a religion does not interest me. I much prefer the Church of the NFL or the Church of College Football (and it seems a lot of my Christians acquaintances and neighbors do too).
So, my Christian friend,let’s play a game. Let’s compare lives. After all, the only way we can know what people believe is to watch how they live their lives. We LIVE what we think is important. How is my life any different from yours?
Surely, since I don’t believe in God, don’t have the Holy Spirit in me, and don’t follow the Bible, my life should be a blazing example of what most Christians think nontheists are. Shall we compare morals? Ethics? Shall we compare our love for our respective families? Or does it really all come down to whether I “believe”, lifestyle be damned?
I see no compelling reason for embracing Christianity or any other form of theism. It seems all quite meaningless to me, though I recognize it isn’t meaningless for millions of Christians. I have Christian friends, most of whom are liberals or universalists. They quietly live according to the teachings of Jesus. I admire them. That they are still friends with me means a lot to me. But, even their devotion to God is not enough to persuade me of the existence of the Christian God.
Anne Rice had this to say (link no longer active) about “leaving” Christianity:
For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten …years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else…
…As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
I doubt the cohesiveness of Rice’s beliefs, but I do understand and appreciate her sentiments.
I have often been told that I am looking for God in all the wrong places. Perhaps, but at this point in life, I am going to leave it to God to find me. I am no longer interested in looking for him/her/it. There is too much life to be lived to spend it looking for God. Most days, I can’t even find the TV remote.
This guest post was written by Sheldon Cooper. He is a former fundamentalist, and works in the warehouse industry in the St. Louis area. He talks about his past life, and current beliefs at his blog, Ramblings of Sheldon.
I think any former fundamentalist out there that is reading this post will know what I am talking about when I say that there’s usually regrets that you have when you give up your former beliefs. You wonder sometimes why you didn’t give it up sooner than you did (or how you could have possibly believed it in the first place).
I have my moments like this sometimes, and recently I’ve been having my regrets about introducing myself to the teachings of John Piper. It was in the last years of my time in fundamentalism, and John Piper was rather popular in the Southern Baptist circles I was in (and is still popular there).
I was a confused, doubting young fundamentalist, who had a lot of questions, and started talking about those questions to a man that I considered my spiritual mentor (I’ll call him Mike). He was a big John Piper fan, very obsessed with his teachings (and also a big fan of John MacArthur and Paul Washer as well), and he had been getting his Sunday School class, which I was a part of at the time into Piper’s teachings.
Piper’s teachings sounded great to someone in my position, and since I have had depression for most of my life, his concept of “Christian hedonism” (odd name, I know) sounded great. It’s an old concept, but the way he presents it, that we can know the greatest heights of joy if we do everything that pleases god, sounds appealing. It sounds so positive and life affirming to someone who is used to living in fundamentalism all their life.
I did have my questions about him, and some disagreements, his extreme Calvinism troubled me, and I had a lot of questions (and long discussion with Mike, the spiritual mentor) about Piper’s accompanying views on god’s sovereignty All in all, though, I found his views interesting, and even read some of his books.
The doubts about Christianity itself didn’t go away though, and in time, I would end becoming an agnostic, albeit an undercover agnostic (check out the Undercover Agnostic series on my blog to see more of what I mean by this), and I would end up distancing myself somewhat from Mike after a bizarre incident where his wife said to their Sunday School class, (and told the class that he wanted her to tell them this), that he had cheated on her. When I mentioned this to him later, and asked him about it, they both denied it, and complained about people “spreading rumors” about them (yes, this actually happened, I wish I was making it up, I had a lot of respect for him).
Life went on, we parted ways for the most part, and I ended up becoming an agnostic. It turns out that my doubts weren’t just a passing phase, it’s been five years since I quit believing in Christianity. It had been a while since I had even heard of John Piper again, but when an old blog post of his, talking about his views on women in the military started resurfacing on various atheist blogs, I was surprised at what I didn’t know about John Piper.
He’s even more into the idea of complementarianism than I would have ever thought he was, and this would have repulsed me, even as a fundamentalist. Even then, I believed in gender equality (supporting equality in other areas, such as gay rights, well, I didn’t get around that until after leaving Christianity). Here’s what John Piper says about women in the military:
If I were the last man on the planet to think so, I would want the honor of saying no woman should go before me into combat to defend my country. A man who endorses women in combat is not pro-woman; he’s a wimp. He should be ashamed.
For most of history, in most cultures, he would have been utterly scorned as a coward to promote such an idea. Part of the meaning of manhood as God created us is the sense of responsibility for the safety and welfare of our women.
Well, I guess according to John Piper, I’m a “wimp” then…….
I’ve never had a problem, even during my fundamentalist days of believing that women were just as capable as men. Perhaps that came from being raised by a stay at home mom that was also very (how should I put this?) strong willed.
His post gets even more ludicrous:
Suppose, I said, a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could.
Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.
This statement defies common sense in so many different ways. Instead of letting Sarah step forward, because she knows hand to hand combat, and could disarm the attacker more easily than Jason, who has no such experience, he would rather Jason go ahead and try to fight him.
Most people would say that Sarah should go after the attacker, because if she does there is a greater possibility that both of their lives will be saved. He would much rather let his outdated views on gender and chivalry cost both the students in this example their lives than to let Sarah use her wealth of experience and training in this area.
I love what blogger Joe Sands of Incongruous Circumspection said in the title to his response to John Piper: John Piper Wants to be Murdered . I think what is very telling about the example with the students is that he said “irrespective of competency”. He’s saying that even when a woman has the training and skills, she shouldn’t be allowed to use them. That’s the problem with this kind of thinking, people who ascribe to complementarian ideas think that they are showing respect for women, by putting them on a pedestal like this, but I see this kind of view as degrading to women.
In his example of the two young lovers being confronted by someone with a knife, he is saying that even though the woman has proven herself capable of doing something (in this case hand to hand combat), by what she has learned through training, and proven by experience, she should still not be allowed to put those skills into practice. It’s saying that even though you have proven yourself capable, we won’t allow you to act as though you are equal.
If I had known what I know about John Piper now, I wouldn’t have considered his views so appealing. I feel foolish now for not fully knowing what he believed, and not digging deeper. Even as a fundamentalist, I would have disagreed with him on gender issues. I guess it’s one of those regrets I’ll learn from and move on.
There’s much I have learned from that time in my life, and I think sometimes I’ve learned some valuable lessons from it. In some ways, it’s helped me now that I am an agnostic. I can understand the beliefs, the mentality, the culture more than most of the population can. It’s because I’ve believed the same beliefs, repeated the same lines and arguments, and lived a life similar to them.
I understand that world and it’s culture in ways that someone without experience can never fully understand (I’m sure many former fundamentalists know that feeling). It’s given me more understanding, and patience, because I remember who I once was, and what I sounded like. That doesn’t mean I still don’t get frustrated with fundamentalists, but I know where they are coming from in life, and that helps in trying to have discussions and debates with them. It’s one thing that I don’t regret about my past experiences, but there’s still much more that I will have to learn to move on from.
…Perhaps no woman mentioned in Scripture has caused more confusion among Christians. Despite the fact that we have regularly addressed this issue in numerous books, articles, and presentations, the issue of Cain’s wife is still one of the most common questions we receive. Who was she, and why have so many believers struggled to give a biblical answer to this inquiry?
The simple answer is that Cain married his sister or another close relation, like a niece. This answer may sound revolting for those of us who grew up in societies that have attached a stigma to such an idea, but if we start from Scripture, the answer is clear.
1 Corinthians 15 tells us that Adam was the first man. Genesis 3:20 states that Eve was the mother of all the living.(NASB), and Genesis 5:4 reveals that Adam and Eve had sons and daughters (besides Cain, Abel, and Seth).
There were no other people on earth as some have claimed. God did not create other people groups from which Cain chose a wife, as we are all made of one blood (Acts 17:26). If He had made others, these people would not have been able to be saved from their sins, since only descendants of Adam can be saved—that’s why it was so important for Jesus to be Adam’s descendant.
Doesn’t the Bible forbid marriage between close relations? It does, but the laws against marrying family members were initially given as part of the Mosaic covenant, approximately 2,500 years after God created Adam and Eve. Due in part to genetic mistakes, these laws were necessary to help protect offspring from mutations shared by both parents.
But that’s incest! In today’s world, this would be incest. But originally there would have been no problem with it. Looking back through history, the closer we get to Adam and Eve, the fewer genetic mistakes people would have, so it would have been safer for close relatives to marry and have children.
Christians who have a problem with this answer need to remember that Noah’s grandchildren must have married brothers, sisters, or first cousins—there were no other people (1 Peter 3:20, Genesis 7:7). Abraham married his half-sister (Genesis 20:2). Isaac married Rebekah, the daughter of his cousin Bethuel (Genesis 24:15), and Jacob married his cousins Leah and Rachel. Clearly, the Bible does not forbid the marriage of close relatives until the time of Moses…
Ham’s argument is necessary if one reads the Bible literally. In Ham’s world, the earth is 6,020 years old and evolution is the lie of Satan. However, in the aforementioned post, Ham reveals that he is not really as much of a literalist as he claims to be.
Ham says Cain married his sister or niece. Where does the Bible say this? Where does the Bible say Cain married anyone? Perhaps people didn’t get married in Cain’s day. Perhaps Cain actually had sexual relations with his mother. Why doesn’t Ham mention this as a possibility? Ham repeats the same story when trying to explain where the children of Noah’s grandchildren came from.
According to Ham, a law against incest was not necessary until 2,500 years after God created Adam and Eve. The reason? “…genetic mistakes, these laws were necessary to help protect offspring from mutations shared by both parents.” Again, where does the inerrant, inspired, infallible Bible say this? Shouldn’t Ham follow the mantra, where the Bible speaks we speak, and where the Bible is silent we are silent?
How is a human behavior not sinful for 2,500 years and then, all of a sudden, it becomes sinful? How can an immoral act be moral? Does this mean God changed his mind? Does this mean God permitted immorality so he could accomplish a greater good? I thought Jesus (God) was the same yesterday, today, and forever? Doesn’t Ham’s explanation lay waste to this “Biblical truth?”
A couple of years ago, I wrote a post titled Ken Ham Warns Atheists Are Out to Steal Your Children and Eat Them Too. While this post was lost in a server crash, I was able to recover the part of the post that resulted in Ken Ham asking his devoted Facebook followers to pray for me:
…Teaching children the earth is 6,000 years old, that God killed with a flood every human being save eight a few thousand years ago, and that anyone who does not accept the Evangelical version of the Christian God will be tortured by the Evangelical God in hell for eternity, is quite harmful to the intellectual development of children.
The waiting rooms of mental health professionals are filled with people who have had their sense of self-worth damaged or destroyed by Christian teachings like original sin. Being told you are wicked, that you can be oppressed or possessed by Satan, and that God holds absolute power of your life, does not make for a healthy mind,
So, to Ken Ham, I say this: Yes we are coming for your children. We hope to expose them to the wide, wondrous universe we live in. We hope to teach them to think critically and not to accept something as fact just because a preacher said or God said __________________.
I am not anti-Christian or anti-religion. I am, however, anti-ignorance. I think parents hurt their children when they keep them from ALL the knowledge available about the universe and their place in it…
Instead of praying for me, the Hamites, a species related to the Dodo Bird, went on the offensive, and in doing so they exposed their ignorance about and hatred for atheists. Here’s what some of Ham’s disciples had to say:
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The level of pure hatred in their writings are almost palpable. They are the blind, leading the blind right into Hell!
Should not their own venomous hatred be a warning to them that they are not thinking clearly and rationally? How can they possibility imagine that they are walking in truth when they are eaten up with bitterness and loathing?
And as is highly typical of skeptics, they use lots of insults and personal attacks. In fact, insults are their personal mark and business card. Remember too – Satan is called the accuser of the brethren.
Sad for them. Their hearts are hardened.
evil is cancer…it spreads quickly everywhere…it destorys the ability to think or even reason…the worldly mind just cannot understand the wisdom of God. Praise God for grace.
So much anger and hatred. Just proves, in my mind, that this is a spiritual battle.
I really think the average Christian needs to have a better quick come back for the “God said” “God is speaking to me” and why the Bible is true… Those objections are voiced over and over again and I find the average Christian raised in our churches today simply has no good quick answer….
Jesus said we would be hated by this world because it hated Him first. Also all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
“we are coming for your children.” Over my dead body.
“We are coming for your children” … Arrogant, conceited, rude and intrusive, aren’t they?
This may be the most difficult part of being a Christian, Ken: standing in the face of uncalled-for hatred. Perhaps we should all think of Jesus being nailed to the cross as we hear this kind of nonsensical hatred. Their pride will destroy them. Repentance is the only way….
While we MUST expose the wiles of the evil one, we must also remember that apart from the Grace of God, many of us would likely be in the same position they are in. Jesus warned us that in the End Times there would be a great deception and this is obvious. It is only by the Grace of God that we do not fall for this deception. We are indeed in a war and our enemy does not play fair. Fortunately, we fight with a Commander-in-Chief who also does not fight fair. Our Commander wins…PERIOD because he overcame death, sin, the grave, deception, and every other weapon the enemy throws at us. NO WEAPON formed against us shall prosper. The lies, the hate, the slander, the fear, all the weapons these atheists throw at us shall not prosper.
These atheists are not as secure as they present themselves to be. The truth of God’s Word dispels darkness. Be encouraged Ken. “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” Romans 5:20
The claim that Bible belief and teaching retards the thinking of young people is not true. Since the Bible is true, that would be impossible! If science from the beginning had believed and searched the scriptures, there would have been more progress. For example, science once believed in bleeding people to make them feel better, a flat earth, and more. Bible knowledge would have prevented those errors of “science” along with the impossible theory of evolution – the “belief” that everything came from nothing with no influence from any power or intelligence. Now that’s retarded thinking.
And again we see the humanists’ “tolerance”!
I’m interested in reading these updates, but I’d like to follow up on something you wrote above. I have NEVER met anyone who hates God, ever. I’ve never heard anyone say that. They do hate us and our interpretation of God’s word (truth!).
Thank you for sharing. It is so sad that the lost cannot understand the truth and their deception turns their anger towards those who proclaim the truth. We need to understand those on the other side to know how to combat their influence.
Wow…such hatred. I think it is sad that the Christians use to be dogmatic, and that crowd was quiet, and now it has flipped around. They are dogmatic, and the Christians have become the quiet ones. And the gall of people like this to discredit all Creationists, and especially to discredit the credentials of scientists who are Creationists, is unjust. These scientists have payed for their education, and spent as much of their life in school, as the secular scientists, and so it is unjust to claim that these guys are dumb and stupid.
Never forget a man got up and walked out of the grave……….Atheists are such fools.
He needs to know that we don’t believe in the 7 day creation because a pastor said “God said,” but because God said! We need to stick to the word. Thanks Mr Ken.
if God is not real, why would I waste my time arguing or caring about what Christians thought….nothing meanings anything if there is no God….so I would spend my time in as much pleasure and selfishness as possible as I only have maybe 80 years of meaningless existence…I would not want to waste a second on science or Christianity…who cares?…the fact they oppose so strongly shows they are scared and insecure in their own beliefs
I asked a few Athiest once, why do you talk about God so much if God doesn’t exist? Why do you mock it? An Athiest told me its because of all the violence and wars. And I asked if that is true. Why is it a Christian God and not any other gods, for example Allah the god of Islam?.. I have personally paid attention to the media and tv shows that would make fun of religion. And also been in Philosophy classes where they would bring up a Christian God most of the time. Even they say Christianity copied other religions when it was the other way around they pic and choose things. Indeed we are living in the End times I believe. More Christians are being persecuted there was/still is being more Christians being persecuted in the last century than the 1900 years after 0A.D all together. The Lord has really told me that He is my shield. And to have full Faith in Him. As I’ve been reading Scripture lately.
The claim that Bible belief and teaching retards the thinking of young people is not true. Since the Bible is true, that would be impossible! If science from the beginning had believed and searched the scriptures, there would have been more progress. For example, science once believed in bleeding people to make them feel better, a flat earth, and more. Bible knowledge would have prevented those errors of “science” along with the impossible theory of evolution – the “belief” that everything came from nothing with no influence from any power or intelligence. Now that’s retarded thinking.
“The claim that Bible belief and teaching retards the thinking of young people is not true.” Why ? The “Bible is true”, Swearingen says. Talk about circular reasoning; the Bible is true because the Bible says it is true.
Bloodletting? A procedure performed on the sick for 1,900 years, long before the modern scientific era. Numerous Christians and clergymen were bled by Christian doctors. All of them had the Bible at their disposal, yet none of them found the “truth” about bloodletting. It took scientists, not theologians, to find out that, in most cases, bloodletting does not help the sick.
Flat earth? Evidently, Swaringen is not aware that the flat earth belief came, in part, from the Bible. Daniel 4:10, Isaiah 11:12, Revelation 7:1, Matthew 4:8 (Excellent article (link no longer active) by Adrian Swindler on the relevant Bible passages that teach the earth is flat. Here’s another article (link no longer active) by Swindler about the one time common belief that the earth was flat)
There would be more progress if science believed the Bible? Really? What about the scientists who were killed for going against the Bible and the teachings of the Christian church? What does history tells us about countries that have a religious-text based science? Look at the Muslim world and see what happens when theology trumps science.
Science does make errors, but it correct them. When’s the last time the Don Swaringen’s of the world have “corrected” an error in their Bible or theology? Everyone now…NEVER!