Tag Archive: Bible

Quote of the Day: Atheist Historian Tim O’Neill on How He Views the Bible

tim o'neillI see it [the Bible] the same way as I see all kinds of other ancient texts — indications of what people centuries ago believed. Some of it is very beautiful, some of it contains genuine wisdom, some of it is rather alien and some of it is repugnant. I could say the same about the corpus of Old Norse texts as well. Or texts from Sumeria. It’s hard to have much more than a very general perspective on “the Bible as a whole”, because – as I often have to remind my more emotional fellow atheists — it isn’t a book, it’s a library of texts of different kinds, dates, genres, languages and intentions. The traditional Christian conception of “the Bible” as a coherent instruction manual from God has clear “historical, cultural significance” and certain translations (the Vulgate, the King James) have “aesthetic significance”. But the dismissal of it as “worthless fairy tales written by desert sheep-herders and savages” is just anti-theistic reaction against the way it has been and still is used and interpreted by many Christians. A rationalist can mentally separate the ancient texts from the way they have been interpreted and look at them for what they are.

— Tim O’Neill, History for Atheists, Jesus Mythicism 3: “No Contemporary References to Jesus” (Comment), May 25, 2018

Evangelical Man Upset That I Didn’t Show Reverence and Respect for the Bible

bible made me an atheist

I recently had a brief comment section discussion with an Evangelical man about the Bible. I posed some questions to him that I thought would challenge his beliefs, but instead of answering them, he replied:

The words you use to speak about the Bible are far away from ‘adult level’ as you demand /expect in your blog policy from others.

I will not respond to your statements anymore. Not that there is not enough things to address but I will not communicate on such a demeaning language level and rather use my time differently.

What did I say that proved to so offensive to this believer? Here’s what transpired (all grammatical errors in the original text):

Ronny: While it seems on the surface you are doing a good job defeating christianity, when one knows enough Bible it becomes evident that you are not right. Lets just say for example that ‘Christians live like the rest of us’. Which so called Christians did you get to know? Yes Christians sin acc. to 1 John. But they sin less and less as they grow in their faith. A REAL Christian IS different from the world. Those that you describe fall into the category of Mt 7. There is more to respond to you but my tram arrives in one minute so I say goodbye.

Bruce: The neat thing about the Bible is that it can be used to prove virtually anything. Actually 1 John says that those who sin are of the devil. Are Christians, then, of the devil?

The definition of what a REAL Christian is varies from sect to sect, church to church, and believer to believer. What makes you right and other Christians wrong? Why should anyone accept your peculiar interpretation over that of anyone else?

My observations about Christianity are both specific and general. I was a pastor for twenty-five years. I pastored a lot of people and knew many of their secrets. I stand by my observations.

Thank you for commenting.

Ronny: I am a bit surprised that you let me comment actually. I thought because I mentioned scripture that my response would have been deleted because of your policy. But how can we talk about christianity and not use bible verses acc. your policy…

Anyhow there is much to comment but if I e.g. take your statement that those people are of the devil – you have to look at the greek. And isnt poio/prasso speaking of a habitual lifestyle? And even if I am wrong here because I am not the biggest scholar, we ought to always take the full counsel of God and not one verse.

And I understand that you got to know many professing Christians, my point is that ‘many will say to me Lord Lord’ Mt7, and ‘broad is the way’ – people who profess Jesus but look like the world (James…) dont posess faith. And it saddens me that Gods name is put down because of such people. The fruit of the Spirit IS, yes, and it is seen in people like Paul, Jesus, John, and people of our day as well if you not just look for any professing people but Christians who do not play a game but take God and faith seriously.

I hope people who read this will not judge Christinity acc. to the majority of Christians who only are believers by name and not lifestyle.

Bruce: So let me see if I understand your argument:

1. We need to understand Biblical Greek to properly interpret the Bible; that the indwelling of the Spirit is not — contrary to what the Bible says — sufficient to teach and guide believers in truth.

2. The verses in question cannot mean what I say they do because they contradict your interpretation of other verses and don’t fit in your theological box.

3. And even if the verses mean what I say they do, they are talking about habitual sin, not one-off or infrequent sins. At what point does behavior become habitual? Using your logic, if a man only murders one person, that’s okay since it’s not “habitual.” Of course, the Bible says no murderers will inherit the kingdom of God. The Bible says the same about adulterers. Thus, anyone who divorces and remarries and anyone who lustfully looks at a woman won’t inherit the kingdom of God. The Bible is a real bitch, Ronny. By all means, dance your way out of the plain/rational interpretations and conclusions of the aforementioned verses.

4. You are a true Christian. The people I knew — numbering in the thousands weren’t true Christians. How convenient.

Do you sin? How often do you sin? How many sins does a habit make? The Bible says, be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Are you perfect?

As with all Christians, you have taken the Bible and shaped it into proof for the veracity of your beliefs and lifestyle. You are a true Christian. Why? Because your peculiar interpretation of the Bible says you are. Again, how convenient.

Here’s what I know. I took my faith seriously. I spent much of my life trying to live according to the teachings of the Bible. I was, in every way, a committed follower of Jesus. I was, at the same time, a sinner, yea, even a habitual sinner. The fruit of the Spirit was my goal, one that I never met. I’ve known countless dedicated followers of Jesus. They too strived to live according to the teachings of the Bible. Yet, they failed to measure up to the fruit of the Spirit standard. All these people, according to you, were false believers. Again, how convenient.

Bruce: The policy about Bible verses is the result of Evangelicals beating people over the heads with the Bible or suggesting that the people who frequent this blog haven’t read the Bible or don’t “understand” its teachings. Such behaviors are offensive, so I don’t allow them.

Evangelicals wrongly believe that the Bible is coherent in its presentation of theology and history. The Bible is, in fact, contradictory, often incoherent, and a source of endless debate. If the Bible is God’s Word, he must have been drunk or high when he wrote it.

As I told you previously, the Bible can be used to prove almost anything. For example, I assume you have a Trinitarian view of God. I can take Genesis 1-3 and show that God is not a triune being, that there are, instead, multiple Gods. The awesome thing about no longer being a Christian is that I no longer need to make the Bible fit a certain theological box. I can read the Bible and come to different conclusions than most Evangelicals. What if my interpretation is right? What if the Bible teaches polytheism, not monotheism?

Ronny: The words you use to speak about the Bible are far away from ‘adult level’ as you demand /expect in your blog policy from others.I will not respond to your statements anymore. Not that there is not enough things to address but I will not communicate on such a demeaning language level and rather use my time differently.

So, what did I say that was so offensive? I suppose the line, the Bible is a real bitch might beyond the pale to some Evangelicals, but there’s nothing in my responses that was the least bit offensive. Perhaps, the man didn’t like me suggesting that maybe God was high or drunk when he wrote the Bible (the Bible does say with God ALL things are possible). All I did was give my perspective and ask the commenter questions. What seems far more likely to me is that the commenter could not answer my questions, so he found something to be offended over, and this allowed him — in his mind — to justify ignoring and dismissing my questions.

This leads me, then, to this question: is the Bible worthy of reverence and respect? The short answer is “no.” Why should the Bible be treated differently from other books? Evangelicals have all sorts of rules about the Bible. Some Christians believe it’s a sin to write in the Bible, while other believers make copious notes and underline. In IFB churches, it was not uncommon for children and teenagers to have big-name preachers autograph their Bibles.  My pastor encouraged members to seek out the autographs of men “greatly used by God.” He also told us to record in the front of our Bibles the date, time, and place where we were saved. This way, we would never forget when it was that we were born again.

Some Christians believe it is wrong to put anything on top of the Bible. I attended Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio in the 1970s. Teenagers were encouraged to carry their Bibles to school; not under your books, but right on top so everyone could see it. I was one of a handful of a students who displayed my religion for all to see. One day, an acquaintance of mine took my Bible and started a hot potato game with it. Around and around my Bible went, until my classmates finally tired of tossing my Bible around. After a few weeks, I decided to leave my Bible at home. While I was still quite vocal about my beliefs, I didn’t like the attention carrying my Bible brought.

Regardless of what rules they might hold to, most Evangelical revere and respect the Bible. This makes sense, I suppose, when you consider that Evangelicals believe the Bible is an inspired, inerrant, infallible book written by the Christian God. In their minds, the Bible is different from all the other books ever written. It’s a supernatural book written by a supernatural God. Thus, to say anything negative about the Bible is considered offensive.

However, I don’t believe the Bible is a supernatural text. It is, at best, a collection of ancient writings. Its words may at one time have had great significance, but they no longer do today. While the Bible remains a top seller, it is also a book that most people never or rarely read.  Evangelicals base so much of their life on what their pastor says the Bible says, yet few of them have read it from cover to cover. How can someone be a Christian, a Bible-believer, and not completely read through the Bible at least once? If the Bible is so damn important, why do Christians treat it like a museum piece; something to be looked at but not read?

Ronny is not the first person to feign offense as a way to avoid my questions. I know how Evangelicals think about the Bible. I am conversant in all things Evangelical. So, I can quickly distill what it is commenters such as Ronny are trying to say. The Bible remains a book that can be used to prove almost any belief. That’s why there are thousands of Christian sects and thousands of Evangelical churches. Each denomination and church believes that they have the truth, and any “truth” that contradicts theirs is false.

My objective is to point out that their certainty is grounded in arrogance and not facts, and that there are competing and contradictory narratives in the Bible. Within its pages, readers will find multiple Gods and multiple plans of salvation. The Bible is a wonderful book, especially for buffet Christians. Eat what you want, ignore the rest. And all the people of God said, AMEN!

Books by Bart Ehrman

The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

How Jesus Became God : the Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them)

Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth

Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question — Why We Suffer

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

The Danger of Bible Literalism

the bible says

I recently watched a miniseries on David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and the horrific loss of innocent human life at Waco. The miniseries was a poignant reminder of the fact that bad things can happen when people believe the Christian Bible is the Word of God and is meant to be read literally and taken at face value.

Koresh was considered a cultist, but were his beliefs about the Bible that much different from countless Evangelical churches who say the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God; that every word of the Bible is to be obeyed and practiced; that God said what he means and means what he said (and in some sects continues to say in prophecies and dreams)? Think about the American religious landscape for a moment. Look at how Bible literalism affects (infects) everything from public discourse to governmental policy. Everywhere we look — IF we dare to do so — we see the tragic consequences of Bible literalism. Never mind the fact that the Bible is an ancient religious text of sketchy provenance and is chock full nonsense. That the Bible plays such a vital part in the ebb and flow of American life should frighten us. Why? Because if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that ruthless, conniving men can use the Bible and naivety of Christians to advance their agendas, leading to everything from slavery and war to colonialism and genocide. It is Bible literalism that lies behind efforts to criminalize homosexuality, ban birth control, make abortion illegal, and constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. It is Bible literalism that fuels the patriarchal movement, causing untold spousal and child abuse. It is Bible literalism that leads people to demand creationism be taught in public schools.

Just look at how often Bible literalism affects government at every level. A hundred years after the Scopes Monkey Trial and a decade after the Kitzmiller v Dover decision, and we still have Evangelicals clamoring for creationism to be taught in public schools. Worse yet, local and state governments gave the Profit of Creationism, Ken Ham, millions of dollars to build and operate a replica of Noah’s Ark. Without Kentucky politicians believing in Bible literalism, Ham would have been laughed out of the room. Instead, they gave a con artist millions of dollars so he could pick the pockets of the taxpayers of Kentucky and the visitors to his monuments to Evangelical ignorance.

Here in Ohio, Republican politicians who are Bible literalists are working as hard as they can to make abortion illegal. And unless the Ohio and U.S. Supreme Courts intervene, it is likely they will succeed — even though most Ohioans believe abortion should be legal. Why are legislators ignoring their constituents? Bible literalism.

donald trump bible

Donald Trump caused quite a stir when he announced that the U.S. Embassy in Israel was going to be moved to Jerusalem. Countless Evangelical preachers got an eschatological boner when Trump said this. Why? Bible literalism. And herein lies the biggest danger of Bible literalism. Trump — who has Evangelicals kneeling before his unzipped pants day and night — is more than willing to use Bible literalism to advance his agenda. Trump is a deranged narcissist who wants to return the United States to its so-called glory days. What’s Trump’s slogan? Making America GREAT Again. In his mind, the United States needs to reassert itself as a singular world power, and use any means necessary to do so. This is why his proposed budget gives the U.S. military billions in increased funding while cutting spending on everything from the social safety net to the EPA. Trump plans to dominate the world or die trying — taking the human race with him.

Proponents of Bible literalism see Trump as man who has been raised up by God for such a time as this (much like Esther). Believing that the rapture and the second coming of Christ could happen at any moment, Evangelicals are giddy over how Trump’s decisions could provoke Armageddon, the end of the world, and the return of Jesus to earth. Making Jerusalem the home of the U.S. embassy and following through with the move will most certainly result in violence, bloodshed, and death. As I write this post, Bible literalism fuels political and religious embers in the Middle East, embers that could turn into flames that engulf the world in World War III. Trump wants war because he thinks the United States, with him as Commander-in-chief, can whip anyone who dares to trifle with God’s chosen nation. Evangelicals, believing that Biblical books such as Daniel and Revelation are histories that have yet to happen, see God in Trump’s dick wagging. And when Israel, a proxy state for American imperialism, attacks Iran and the Persians retaliate with nuclear weapons, what then? When millions of people are killed and the earth is rendered uninhabitable, what then?  When life as we know it disappears with a push a few buttons, what then?

evangelical love for israel

What then? Why, Evangelicals will remind us that the Bible says ________________________; that everything that happens is according to God’s purpose and plan; that there is life after death, so no need to worry about dying if you know Jesus; that God, in the near future, plans to make a new heaven and new earth. Surely anyone with more than an ounce of sense can see how dangerous Bible literalism is. It’s all fun and games when we are talking about a big boat in Kentucky, but when Bible literalism influences and drives governmental policy and decisions, it should frighten us. This is why we must continue to wage war against Bible literalism. Such thinking must be driven from our governmental process and schools. Treating Bible literalism as nothing to worry about is every bit as ignorant as Bible literalism itself. We must never forget that history is replete with accounts of massive violence and death that were perpetrated because people believed what a religious guru or religious text said was true.

But Bruce, most Evangelicals don’t really believe in Bible literalism. Look at how they live, how they pick and choose what to believe and practice. Sure, but let their tribe be threatened, and all of a sudden what the Bible says (or what their pastors say it means) becomes vitally important. Watch how Evangelicals become prayer warriors the moment calamity strikes them. Do you think it will be any different when smart political operatives use the Bible to justify their military responses to perceived threats from North Korea, Iran, or Syria? Remember, George W. Bush believed the Iraq War was a holy war, a battle between good and evil. Where did he get such ideas? The Bible. We err in our thinking if we believe Americans can’t be manipulated as Germans were by Hitler. Look at how a sizeable percentage of Americans are impervious to facts about Trump and his nefarious agenda. Facts simply don’t matter. Trump was right when he said he could murder someone in the middle of the street and people would still vote for him. And who was it that gave the pussy-grabber-in-chief the White House? Evangelicals. Eighty-two percent of voting white Evangelicals voted for the Trump-Pence ticket. What’s even scarier is the fact that if Trump is indeed impeached, a card-carrying Evangelical extremist, a true-blue believer in Bible literalism, Mike Pence, will become president.

Want to see what happens when religious literalism is wed to political power? Look at the Muslim world and the currents violence that has engulfed the Middle East and parts of Africa. Don’t think for a moment that a Christian version of this can’t happen in the United States. It can. I, for one, intend to do all I can to make sure that Bible literalism dies the swift death it so richly deserves, taking Fundamentalist Christianity with it. I would love to be the person who holds the pillow over the faces of Bible literalism and Evangelical Christianity as they draw their last breaths. I fear, however, due to my advanced age, that I will not have that opportunity. Maybe a Gerencser in the future will have this privilege — that is if Bible-believing Christians and their political operatives don’t destroy the world first.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

How Do I Explain “Eyewitness” Testimonies of the Resurrection of Jesus From the Dead?

easter

Recently, an inquirer asked me:

Why would somebody think they saw the risen Christ. I do not understand the phenomena going on there. Do you have any insight from your readings? Granted, Islam claims Mohammad flew to Jerusalem on a winged horse and on the way back, saw a caravan – which he then told people the next day and the caravan arrived when he said it would. I am not sure if you know the story, but in general, it is a claim that cannot be easily explained away other than it is just bogus in general.

Why would people say they saw a resurrected Jesus if, in fact, they hadn’t seen him? What possible reason could they have had for lying, right? For some people, this one issue keeps them awake at night and keeps them from walking away from Christianity.  Worried that they might have wrong beliefs or might end up in hell for not believing in the risen Christ, people hang on to ancient myths, thinking that it is better to be safe than eternally sorry.

I could write thousands of words on this subject, but with this post, all I want to do is give a few of the reasons why I think Jesus still lies buried somewhere in Palestine.

First, human history and personal experience tell me that when people die they stay dead. Cemeteries are reminders of the fact that once people die, they ain’t coming back. It’s all about probabilities. If I died today and were buried in a ground, what are the odds that I would miraculously reappear alive three days later? Zero. Nada. Zip. None. Not going to happen. So it is for Jesus.

Second, the only places we find reports about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead are the Bible or from later Christian sources. There are no purely secular reports attesting to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. All we have is the Bible. Christians, out of hand, reject the notion that Muhammad flew to Jerusalem on a winged horse because it appears in the Quran, a religious text they deem to be mythical and false. Yet, when it comes to the Bible, its stories are viewed as historical facts, narratives of what really happened. Why the duplicity in belief? The simple answer, of course, it that all of us tend to believe as true the stories of our tribes. Christians believe that Jesus resurrected from the dead because they have been told from their youth onward that God’s son, Jesus, died on the cross for their sins, and three days later resurrected from the dead, thereby vanquishing sin and death, and granting to all those who believe eternal life. When this story is drilled into Christians’ head over and over and over again, Sunday after Sunday, year after year, it should come no as surprise, then, that Christians believe Jesus is still alive, biding his time until he returns to earth to make all things new.

Take, for example, Mormonism. Talk about a crackpot, bat-shit crazy, religion, yet millions of Americans believe that Joseph Smith found golden plates translated them. Wikipedia describes the “historical” narrative of Mormonism this way:

Joseph Smith claimed The Book of Mormon was translated from writing on golden plates in a reformed Egyptian language, translated with the assistance of the Urim and Thummim and seer stones. Both the special spectacles and the seer stone were at times referred to as the “Urim and Thummim”. He said an angel first showed him the location of the plates in 1823, buried in a nearby hill, but he was not allowed to take the plates until 1827. Smith began dictating the text of The Book of Mormon around the fall of 1827 until the summer of 1828 when 116 pages were lost. Translation began again in April 1829 and finished in June 1829, saying that he translated it “by the gift and power of God”. After the translation was completed, Smith said the plates were returned to the angel. During Smith’s supposed possession, very few people were allowed to “witness” the plates.

The book described itself as a chronicle of an early Israelite diaspora, integrating with the pre-existing indigenous peoples of the Americas, written by a people called the Nephites. According to The Book of Mormon, Lehi’s family left Jerusalem at the urging of God c. 600 BC, and later sailed to the Americas c. 589 BC. The Nephites are described as descendants of Nephi, the fourth son of the prophet Lehi. The Nephites are portrayed as having a belief in Christ hundreds of years before his birth. Historical accuracy and veracity of the Book of Mormon was and continues to be hotly contested. No archaeological, linguistic, or other evidence of the use of Egyptian writing in ancient America has been discovered.

How is Mormonism any different from Christianity? Shouldn’t we accept their stories as true? After all, they are found in a divine religious text. So it is with the Bible and the resurrection of Jesus. Just because something is found in the Bible doesn’t make it true. There’s no historical reason for anyone to believe that Jesus not only resurrected from the dead two thousand years ago, but is still alive today. I am not saying that Jesus, as a man, is a work of fiction, but the supernatural events attributed to him have no historical foundation. As such, I am free to reject them out of hand. This is why believing in the resurrection of Jesus requires faith, a faith I do not have.

Third, the gospels are not eyewitness accounts, nor were they likely written by the likes of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Whatever the original authors of the gospels might have written, we will never know. Those original documents no longer exist. All we have are copies of copies of copies of copies, with thousands of variants among them. This is why I snort and laugh when Evangelical pastors, thinking they are taking some sort of intellectually superior high road, say that they believe the original documents were inerrant. How can they know this, not having seen the original manuscripts? Again, belief in inerrancy requires faith, a faith I do not have.

While it is possible that extant gospel manuscripts accurately reflect what actually happened, it is far more likely that the stories about the resurrected Jesus were added after the fact. This includes stories about Jesus walking through walls, appearing to his disciples/public without Roman/Jewish authorities finding out, and countless graves being opened, people arising from the dead, and walking the streets of Jerusalem. All of these stories were meant to turn Jesus into a supernatural being. Supernatural religions require mythical stories, so it doesn’t surprise me that Christianity is rife with such beliefs (beliefs, by the way, that continue to change and evolve).

Fourth, why didn’t reports of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, his post-resurrection exploits, and the dead walking the streets of Jerusalem make it into the news? Surely, a Roman or Jewish writer would have written something down about these earth-shattering events. Yet, apart from the Bible and a handful of Christians sources, history is silent.  Why is that? Perhaps, the silence reflects the fact that these things never happened, that they are, at best, myths used to convey some sort of spiritual meaning.

Fifth, if the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the central belief of Christianity, why did God make sure that no one wrote anything about it outside of the Bible and a handful of Christian sources? Why hide in obscurity the biggest event in human history? This, of course, can be said about most of the big events recorded in the Bible: Moses and the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, the story of King David, the story of Abraham, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Noah and flood, and countless other stories many Christians believe are historical facts. Why did the God of creation, the God who controls everything, leave blank the pages of human history when it comes to Jesus’ resurrection and the other important events previously mentioned?

The same could be said of the doctrine of salvation. If the most important decision people ever make is to put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ, why does the Bible present several different plans of salvation? (Please read Can Anyone Really Know They Are Saved? Does the Bible Contain Multiple Plans of Salvation?  Is There Only One Plan of Salvation? If Salvation is by Grace and Not by Works) Why wouldn’t God make it crystal clear as to what we must do to be saved? Perhaps, the reason for all the confusion is that the Bible is not divine, that it a human book written by men with varying agendas.

Let me conclude by saying that the reason that I am not a Christian is that Christianity doesn’t make sense to me. Last April, I wrote a post titled The Michael Mock Rule: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense. Here’s some of what I said:

In recent months, I have started using The Michael Mock Rule when engaging Evangelicals who have their hearts set on winning me back to Jesus. Instead of endlessly debating and discussing this or that doctrine, I invoke The Michael Mock Rule : It just doesn’t make sense.

Consider the following Evangelical beliefs. Do they make sense to you?

  • The Bible is a divine text? Inerrant text? Infallible text?
  • God is one person, in three parts: Father, son, and Holy Spirit?
  • Universe created in six twenty-four-hour days?
  • Adam and Eve the first humans and the mother and father of the human race?
  • Adam and Eve were tempted to sin by a talking snake who walked upright?
  • All humans are sinners because Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate fruit from a forbidden tree?
  • The story of Noah, the Ark, and universal flood?
  • The Tower of Babel?
  • Fallen angels having sex with human women, producing hybrid children?
  • Jesus is God in the flesh?
  • Jesus was born of a virgin? His mother was impregnated by the Holy Spirit?
  • Jesus walked on water? Turned water into wine? Healed blindness? Walked through walls?
  • Jesus died and resurrected from the dead three days later?
  • Jesus ascended to heaven?
  • Jesus will return to earth someday, destroying the earth and making all things new?
  • All humans are sinners in need of salvation, broken in need of fixing?
  • Blood atonement for sin?
  • Life without Jesus is meaningless and without purpose?
  • All that matters in life is Jesus?
  • If I believe in Jesus I go to heaven when I die, if don’t believe I go to hell?
  • Rapture? Dead people coming back to life?

Evangelicals routinely make the above assertions without presenting any evidence for their claims — and quoting the Bible is not evidence. These claims are reinforced Sunday after Sunday through sermons, Sunday school lessons, and songs. Through the week, Evangelicals read Christian literature, listen to Christian podcasts and music, and tune in to Christian radio and TV stations. These followers of Jesus are surrounded by people who, minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day, reinforce these “truth” claims. Having been immersed in Evangelicalism their entire lives, Christians find that these beliefs make perfect sense.

But for those who have never lived in the Evangelical bubble or no longer do so, these beliefs just don’t make sense. Believing them requires a suspension of rational thought. Believing them requires putting faith above facts, knowledge, and evidence. Believing them requires setting skepticism aside. Believing them requires accepting the most outlandish of things as true. The Michael Mock Rule says to all of these beliefs: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense.

Making sense of Christianity requires faith, a faith that I do not have. I am unwilling (and anyone using Pascal’s Wager in a comment will immediately be banned) to surrender the only life I will ever have in the minuscule hope that Jesus really did resurrect from the dead and that an eternal home in heaven awaits me if I will but believe the gospel and be saved. Besides, based on what I read in the Bible and hear from Christians, heaven doesn’t appeal to me. Spending eternity worshiping a narcissistic deity who consigned billions of people to endless torture for believing in the wrong deity doesn’t sound like something I want to do.

What are your thoughts on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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Quote of the Day: Do We Know the Original Words of the New Testament? by Bart Ehrman

bart ehrman

My conservative opponents sometimes press the fact that we are well informed about the text of the New Testament in a ridiculous way – ridiculous possibly because they simply don’t know any better. They point out that with all this evidence for the New Testament, if I (crazy liberal that I am) don’t think we can know exactly what the authors of the NT wrote (in places) then I’d have to say the same thing about Plato, or Homer, or Cicero, or … or any other author!

Their view is that any such claim would be on the face of it completely bizarre and that this is why, in their view, no one says any such thing. Which shows that they simply don’t know what they’re talking about.

Most of my conservative opponents were trained in theological seminaries and teach in conservative evangelical settings, not in research universities, and their academic ties tend to be with scholars who work in theological fields: church history, systematic theology, and the like.   They don’t work in a secular setting where the natural ties are more in the fields of classics and ancient history.  Anyone who says that scholars don’t have any questions about what Plato, Homer, Cicero, or any other author actually (which words they used) is simply ignorant.

I don’t mean that they are being willfully stupid; I just mean they (apparently) just don’t know any better.   Reconstructing the words of any ancient author is massively complicated, given their problematic textual histories, and there are indeed scholars who devote their lives to the task for one author or another.  It’s *much* harder to establish the text of Homer than the text of the New Testament, and no one is completely confident we have the “original” wording of the Iliad or the Odyssey.  That’s true for all ancient books.  (And by the way, is especially the case with the Hebrew Bible!)

My second response to this claim that we already know what the authors of the New Testament originally wrote is that I simply can’t see how that could be true.   Take Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  He wrote it probably in the early to mid 50s of the common era.  The first copy we have it of it is called P46 (called this because it is written on papyrus – hence the P – and is the 46th papyrus to have been discovered and catalogued).    It dates from around 200 CE.  That is, the letter was copied, recopied, and recopied for 150 years before we have a copy.  And P46 is not a complete copy.  The first full and complete copy of Philippians we have is codex Vaticanus from the middle of the fourth century – some three hundred years after the original.

So it’s great (really, I mean it, it’s *great*) that we have so many hundreds of copies of Philippians from the Middle Ages.  That shows us how the letter was being copied, say, seven hundred or a thousand years or more after the original.  But what we are interested in is knowing how it was copied, say, one year after the original.  And for that how much evidence do we have?  We have zero evidence.

How old was the copy that the 200-CE P46 itself was copying?   Was it from the year 190?  150?  130?  We don’t know.  How old was the copy *that* copy was copying?  We don’t know.  How old was the copy that *that* copy of a copy was copying?  We don’t know.  And worse, we don’t know how close to the original wording any of those copies was, how accurate its scribe was in what he copied, or how accurate the copyist of the copy that he copied was.

Suppose Paul sent his letter to Philippi in 56 CE.  Someone there wanted a copy and so made it.  Two other people decided they wanted copies of that copy.  So they copied that copy, rather than the original (maybe the original had been sent do Thessalonica or someplace).  And then copies of those copies were made.  And the original – this is hypothetical, but *any* reconstruction is hypothetical – was lost in a house fire.  That would mean that all the copies of the copies of the copies go back not to the original but to the first copy.  What if the first copyist changed things?  What if he changed a lot?  What if he decided to whomp up a section or two of Paul’s prose?  What if he really didn’t like one paragraph/passage (or more) and so simply omitted it?   We would have precisely NO way of knowing.  The entire manuscript tradition in this case descended from the copy, not from the original.

That is one hypothetical to show how we don’t *KNOW* what the original said.  I could easily come up with a hundred other hypotheticals without thinking hard that would lead to the same result.

….

— Bart Ehrman, Do we KNOW the Original Words of the New Testament? February 5, 2018

Bart Ehrman’s latest book, The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World, is now available.

Quote of the Day: The Bible Has Caused So Much Damage, Says Former Pastor Rob Bell

rob bell

The Bible has caused so much damage. In many ways, it’s often been an agent of dragging everything backwards.

—  Rob Bell, former Evangelical pastor

Please take time to watch the following three minute video.

Video Link

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: The Bible Has ALL the Answers for the Tough Questions in Life

bethany baird

We have tough questions. Lots of them!

What is true love?
What makes a real marriage?
Where will I go when I die?
Why do I struggle to do the right thing?
What can I do when I’m anxious?
Where did I come from?

The list goes on and on (and on).

Unless we know how to use God’s Word to answer our tough questions, we will get swept up with the most popular opinion. But God has given us His Word as a guide. We desperately need to know how to use the Bible to answer our toughest questions.

— Bethany Baird, Lies Young Women Believe, Use Your Bible to Answer Tough Questions, January 22, 2018

Quote of the Day: Roy Moore Spokesman Ted Crockett Says the Bible Trumps U.S. Constitution

roy moore

Witness the interview between CNN’s Jake Tapper and Moore spokesman Ted Crockett on Tuesday afternoon. Crockett responded “probably” when Tapper pressed him on whether Moore believed homosexuality should be illegal. Then came this exchange between Tapper and Crockett over Muslims serving in Congress. I’m excerpting a big chunk of it because, well, you’ll see.

TAPPER: Judge Moore has also said that he doesn’t think a Muslim member of Congress should be allowed to be in Congress. Why? Under what provision of the Constitution?

CROCKETT: Because you have to swear on the Bible — when you are before — I had to do it. I’m an elected official, three terms, I had to swear on a Bible. You have to swear on a Bible to be an elected official in the United States of America. He alleges that a Muslim cannot do that, ethically, swearing on the Bible.

TAPPER: You don’t actually have to swear on a Christian bible, you can swear on anything, really. I don’t know if you knew that. You can swear on a Jewish Bible.

CROCKETT: Oh no. I swore on the Bible. I’ve done it three times.

TAPPER: I’m sure you have, I’m sure you’ve picked a Bible but the law is not that you have to swear on a Christian Bible. That is not the law. You don’t know that? All right. Ted Crockett with the Moore —

CROCKETT: I don’t know. I know that Donald Trump did it when he — when we made him President.

TAPPER: Because he’s Christian and he picked it. That’s what he wanted to swear in on. Ted Crockett with the Moore campaign. Good luck tonight. Thank you so much for being here. My panel will react when we get back

CROCKETT: Merry Christmas, Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you, sir.

— Chris Cillizza, Jake Tapper Interview of Roy Moore Spokesman Ted Crockett, December 12, 2017

Quote of the Day: Reading the Bible as We Do All Other Books by Robert Ingersoll

robert ingersoll

Too great praise challenges attention, and often brings to light a thousand faults that otherwise the general eye would never see. Were we allowed to read the Bible as we do all other books, we would admire its beauties, treasure its worthy thoughts, and account for all its absurd, grotesque and cruel things, by saying that its authors lived in rude, barbaric times. But we are told that it was written by inspired men; that it contains the will of God; that it is perfect, pure, and true in all its parts; the source and standard of all moral and religious truth; that it is the star and anchor of all human hope; the only guide for man, the only torch in Nature’s night. These claims are so at variance with every known recorded fact, so palpably absurd, that every free unbiased soul is forced to raise the standard of revolt.

— Robert Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses, 1879

Pray for Bruce Gerencser and the Salvation of His Hell Bound Soul

heaven and hell

Heaven and Hell

Warning! Lots of snark ahead! You’ve been warned!

Yesterday I posted an excerpt from the Spiritual Minefield website. My post was titled Christians Say the Darnedest Things: How to Shield Yourself From Porn and Sexual Excitement.  The author of the excerpt decided today to respond to my posting of the excerpt by writing a post titled, Why Do Atheists Seem To Have The Urge To Always Attack God’s Word?  Here’s what he had to say:

Today I got pingback from an atheist who takes pleasure in maligning believers in Jesus Christ. Here is a quick bio of Bruce which he put public.

Copy and paste from his site

Bruce Gerencser, 59

Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for 25 years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005 and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

The question that enters my mind is why do atheists hate Jesus so much as to go out of their way to attack Him and try to desperately prove that He is false? I think that the answer is because deep down in their spirit/heart they know that the Word of God is true and judgment will come to them but they want to feel better about their sin and rejection of Christ so by trying to disprove Christianity, they are trying to convince themselves, listen closely, “they are trying” to convince themselves of their own lie which Satan has whispered into their ears so that they can’t get saved. When a person is not in any perceivable danger, they won’t call for help and Satan is successful at convincing these atheists that they are not in danger.

The evidence that God exists is so overwhelming that the only way to go against pure evidence is by reprogramming their thoughts to completely bypass logic and reason.

Bruce Gerencser is a sad case of what an apostate is and the reality is that those who are not grounded in the faith will get hit hard by the devil who’s [sic] eyes are constantly on the believers. Saying that, I believe according to 1 John 2:19 that Bruce was never saved but was close and those without the Holy Spirit cannot stand against the pounding of the wind and waves of the enemy according to Matthew 7:26-27 which says, “26 And every one who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them will be likened to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it fell. And its fall was great.”

Why have I mentioned this atheist by name? It is because I want all Christians to bring Bruce Gerencser’s name before the Lord for his salvation because the hell that’s waiting for him and all those who believe Satan’s lie is truly and unfathomably horrific.

Where oh where do I begin?

First, I don’t hate Jesus. Hating the DEAD Jesus would be a colossal waste of time. What I do hate is the Fundamentalist ideology advanced by this author and others of his ilk. (Please see Why I Hate Jesus) As I watch Donald Trump dismantle decades of social progress, I am reminded of the fact that it is Evangelicals who put Trump in the White House. Do I hate individual Evangelicals for doing so? I’m tempted to do so, but I am not the type of person who hates people. I do, however hate what Trump’s co-opting of Evangelicalism and its beliefs is doing to America. I focus my hatred on beliefs, not believers. To use the Evangelical mantra: hate the sin, not the sinner, I hate the belief, not the believer.

Second, I don’t hate the Word of God — the Bible. I do, however, hate what is done using Biblical justification. The author appeals to the Bible to justify his judgments of my past and present life. Doing so allows him to escape responsibility for his behavior. I’m just quoting what G-O-D says! Don’t like it, take it up with Him! I would take it up with the Big Kahuna, but he is nowhere to be found. Last I heard, he was on vacation. Since God is AWOL, all I am left with is Evangelicals quoting verses from a book that is very much of human origin. The only reason I bother with such people is because they believe that the Bible is some sort of supernatural book given to them by a supernatural God, and that its words must be explicitly obeyed. Again, look at what’s happening in Washington D.C. Nine members of Trump’s cabinet believe that the Bible is a divine law-book and road map for life. In fox-in-the-hen-house fashion, the theocrats have breached the fence and now the future of our democracy is being threatened. The only way I know to combat such ignorance is to wage war against the notion that the Bible is in any way a divinely written book; that its words are in any way applicable to today. As long as Evangelicals continue to demand fealty to their God and the Bible, they can expect me and other outspoken atheists to marginalize, denigrate, and intellectually destroy the Bible. Until Evangelicals are freed from Bible Brain Rot®, atheists, agnostics, humanists, and progressive Christians must continue to lay an axe to foundation of Fundamentalist Christianity.

Third, the clueless author shows he has little understanding of atheists — how they think and view the world. We don’t deep down believe or not believe anything. Can someone tell me where the hell is “deep down”? I’ve spent all day digging and I still can’t find it.  Atheists do not see any compelling evidence to warrant a belief in the existence of the Evangelical God. Suggesting that the Bible provides such evidence is laughable. (As well, suggesting that the natural world provides such overwhelming evidence that atheists are forced to deliberately ignore it is ludicrous.) Even Evangelicals don’t believe in the Bible God. Whenever I confront Evangelicals with the Bible God — actually a plurality of Bible Gods — they either try to distance themselves from said God or say that I am “misinterpreting” the Bible — misinterpreting, of course, meaning, having an interpretation different from theirs.

Fourth, the notion of “sin” is a religious construct. As an atheist, I don’t believe people are sinners, depraved, evil, or wicked. All of us have the power to do good or bad things. When I do something that hurts someone, I do my best to make things right. No need to pray to a fictitious God and ask for his forgiveness. The only person I need to talk to is the person I have harmed. The humanist system of forgiveness and restitution is much easier and more straightforward. No commands against porn or looking at women and admiring their beauty. No obsession over sex, fornication, or masturbation. Humans are sexual beings. Atheists and other non-Evangelicals are free to embrace their sexuality without fearing a voyeuristic God will judge them for loving the wrong person or using the wrong orifice for sex. Here’s hoping that the author of the post on Spiritual Minefield will one day embrace his sexuality and lustfully enjoy the pleasures that are at his disposal. Until then, let me remind him that what consenting adults do behind closed doors is none of his business. If Evangelicals want to practice “Biblical” sex, by all means do so. But, please let the rest of us masturbate and copulate in peace.

Fifth, I fear what Donald Trump might do far more than I do a nonexistent God. God has neither talked to me or laid a finger on me in almost sixty years. I have zero fear of him. I do, however, fear what people who believe God talks to them might do. I do fear that Trump and his mighty Bible-thumping horde might usher in World War III. I fear what real flesh and blood people might do, not mythical Gods, be they Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, or any of the other Gods of human creation.

Sixth, atheists bypass logic and reason? Really? I have no words for this one. The author believes the earth is 6,022 years old; that God created the universe in six literal 24 hour days; that Adam and Eve are the father and mother of the human race; that God destroyed the world with a flood 4,000 years ago, killing every person save Noah and his family; that a Holy Ghost impregnated a virgin who gave birth to a baby who, as an adult, walked on water, healed the deaf, blind, and sick, walked through walls, made himself invisible, resurrected from the dead, and ascended into “heaven.” Anyone who believes this kind of nonsense is the one lacking logic and reason.

Seventh, I am quite happy to be an apostate, a worker of Satan, a deceiver of immature Christians. By all means, keep praying for me. Every unanswered prayer is a reminder that the heavens are devoid of Gods and that what really matters is how we make life on this planet better for all. Part of making life better is the driving of a stake through the heart of religious Fundamentalism. Fundamentalism — in all its forms — remains the biggest threat to human and planetary existence. Donald Trump’s ascension to the throne is a poignant reminder that people of reason, science, and progress must continue to push back against those who desire to chain us to the Bible and its God. It’s the twenty-first century. It’s high time we remand God to the dustbin of human history; the depository of countless other failed mythical Gods and their “divine” texts. Until this happens, the Internet will be littered with ignorant posts about sex and every other human behavior deemed sinful by Fundamentalist Christians.

Now, get out there and do some sinning!

Michael Kruger’s “Explanation” of Biblical Inerrancy

michael-kruger

I am always amused when theologically educated Evangelicals attempt to defend Biblical inerrancy. Michael Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, recently posted a three-minute video that purports to answer the question, Does the Bible Have Mistakes? Strangely, the blog post Kruger wrote for the video is titled, Does the Bible Make Mistakes? I thought, isn’t the Bible an inanimate object — black ink on paper? Does Kruger believe the Bible itself is an animate object? I know there are Christians who believe that the Bible has mystical, supernatural power, but Kruger, as a Fundamentalist Reformed Christian, surely knows that, according to orthodox Christian doctrine, it is the Holy Spirit that empowers (gives life to) the Biblical text. Not that I believe such a notion is true. I am just stating what Christians have historically believed about the Bible. (I have had countless Evangelicals tell me that now I am an atheist, it is impossible for me to understand the Bible.) [The title has since been changed, As Van noted in the comments, Kruger’s post is now inerrant.]

Video Link

Kruger begins the video by asserting that the Bible is the Word of God and whatever it affirms is true. According to Kruger, there are no errors, contradictions, or mistakes in the Bible. Yet, he turns right around and says that readers of the Bible must use various literary skills to “properly” understand the text. Once these skills are put to use, the errors, contradictions, and mistakes fall away.  In other words, when confronted with obvious mistakes, crack open the approved theology books and all the discrepancies will be explained away.

If someone uninitiated in Evangelical beliefs read the Bible, would they naturally conclude that the Bible is without error; that its teaching are consistent, coherent, and infallible? Of course not. Kruger is right when he mentions that many people who say the Bible has errors haven’t really studied the text. But others have. Former pastors who are now unbelievers certainly have studied the Bible from dedication to concordance. Over the course of 50 years in the Christian church and 25 years in the pastorate, I spent tens of thousands of hours reading and studying the Bible. I read scores of Evangelical (Calvinistic) theological books. Before beginning my studies I would pray and ask God to give me eyes to see and ears to hear the truth. (Many Evangelicals think that the knowledge I gained while studying the Bible magically disappeared when I deconverted.)

What kept me from “seeing” textual errors, mistakes, and contradictions was my presuppositional commitment to the Bible being without error — the Words of God. Since God was perfect, it was impossible for the Bible to be errant. It was only when I set aside my theology-driven presuppositions that I was able to see the Biblical text for what it is — a fallible collection of contradictory texts written by men.

Kruger is an educated man, so I suspect he lives with a good bit of cognitive dissonance. Surely at some level he knows inerrancy is a façade used to portray the Bible as some sort of God-inspired, God-written, supernatural text. Once inside the house of textual criticism, inerrancy is nowhere to be found, a circus mirror meant to entertain and deceive the faithful. Of course, Kruger has a vested interest in maintaining the inerrancy illusion. He’s in the business of training men for the ministry. If these preachers-to-be were told the truth about the Bible, why their home churches would gather up pitchforks and combustible materials and burn Reformed Theological Seminary to the ground, using Kruger as a quick-start fire log.

Thanks to authors such as Bart Ehrman, it is now  impossible to intellectually defend Biblical inerrancy. While in many ways, Ehrman doesn’t say anything that hasn’t been known for centuries, his books put complex textual issues in a format laypeople can understand. (You can purchase his books through Bruce’s Little Bookstore of Atheism and Humanism.)

The best antidote for inerrancy is reading Bart Ehrman. It is intellectually impossible for anyone to read several of his books and still believe that the Bible is inerrant. Remember, most Evangelical theologians agree with Ehrman on the evidence. What they disagree with is his conclusions. Sadly, many educated Evangelicals — pastors, theologians, professors — refuse to accept what is clear for all to see: that the Bible is a fallible collection of contradictory texts written by men. In many ways, these defenders of inerrancy are similar to atheist pastors, people who have invested their lives in promoting and defending Evangelicalism. Admitting that what they teach is untrue would quickly and viciously destroy their livelihood. When men have spent their lives pastoring churches or teaching seminary classes, how will they earn a living if they suddenly lose their job? So, Evangelical and atheist pastors alike continue to promote the inerrancy myth, hoping to run out the clock before they are exposed. For some of them, the personal and ethical costs are too high, so they out themselves, causing tremendous heartache and loss.

I was fifty years old when I walked away from Christianity. I can only imagine how difficult it might have been if I had been some sort of high-profile Evangelical who spent his life publicizing far and wide the Christian myth. In my case, I never made a lot of money from pastoring churches, so it was much easier for me to walk away. I had no retirement plan or 401(k) to worry about. I could make just as much money flipping hamburgers as I did preaching. Such is not the case for many pastors, so I understand why some educated Evangelicals continue to preach what they know is not true.

There will always be some educated Evangelicals who refuse to see the facts about the nature of the Biblical text. Regardless of what the evidence says, these defenders of the faith plan to die with their boots on and hands clutched to the inspired, inerrant Holy Bible. All the books to the contrary will not move them. A Fundamentalist worldview forces pastors and professors to believe and preach only what can neatly fit within the Evangelical box. Please see The Danger of Being in a Box and Why it Makes Sense When You are in it and What I Found When I Left the Box.) This is why countless educated Evangelicals believe the earth is 6,021 years old, that Adam and Eve, Moses, and Noah were real people, and the fantastical stories found in the Bible are really, really, really true. Virgins have babies, dead people come back to life, and sick people are miraculously healed through spoken words. While some of these Evangelicals will see the light (after all, I did), most of them will go to their graves certain in their beliefs. Until they are willing to consider the possibility of being wrong, there really is no hope for them.

After watching the video, please share your thoughts in the comment section. Did Kruger adequately defend inerrancy and give plausible explanations for the mistakes, errors, and contradictions to be interpreted so as to maintain Biblical inerrancy?

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Is Man Getting Smarter? by Bodie Hodge

neanderthal

Our secularized culture teaches a strange history. We are told that we were once dumb brutes in an evolutionary past—no different from animals—but over the millennia we got a little smarter and came out of Africa and learned how to be farmers instead of hunters and gatherers.

Then we began building basic settlements and then civilizations and finally empires. So here we are sitting on top of the food chain because, unlike “other animals,” we have become smarter and smarter to become masters of our domain.

Okay, so this is a bunch of hogwash—man is made unique from animals and created in the image of God! But people believe these lies because this is what has been imposed upon them in secular schools, secular media, secular museums, and so on. Do you realize this alleged evolutionary history is not recorded by ancient historians in any culture? It is a modern fairly tale. It is a story that comes out of religions like secularism (including atheism and so on).

But as a result, kids of the next generation look at technology today and misunderstand it. They presume that, since we have more technology, we are “getting smarter” just like the evolutionary story says.
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After the Flood, a godly worldview dominated. As cultures deviated at Babel and down through the ages, man abandoned a godly and biblical worldview (of what had been revealed from Adam down through Noah) in favor of man’s flawed ideas (i.e., forms of humanism). As they began worshipping ancestors and false gods, their general worldview deteriorated into many various paths of paganism.

This affected science and innovation in a general pattern. It caused technology to remain nearly stagnant—with a few exceptions of course. A mind and culture with little hope has little desire to grow in the knowledge of God’s world (albeit sin-cursed and broken). Many worldviews even deter science and technology because of their very nature (e.g., animism). Animism, for example, has spirit beings that help or harm human interests in the physical world. Thus causality, which is the basis for observable and repeatable science, is meaningless because aspects of nature are controlled by the spirits rather than by a God who has promised to uphold things in a consistent fashion. (For more on world religions read World Religions and Cults Volumes 1–2.)

As Christianity began to explode in Europe prior to AD 1400, people began returning to a godly, biblical worldview leading up to the early modern period. This gave them the proper understanding of the world around them. Acknowledging that our all-knowing (Psalm 147:5) and all-powerful (e.g., Jeremiah 32:27) God upholds the world (Hebrews 1:3) and that He has promised to do so in the future until the end (e.g., Genesis 8:22) gives us the basis for doing observable and repeatable science. This presupposition is vital to make science possible.

As a result Christians began systematically studying the world and how it works (operational science). Most fields of science were developed by Bible believers—even the scientific method was developed by a young-earth creationist, Sir Francis Bacon!6

As Biblically based science erupted, technology, knowledge, inventions, and innovation built one on top of the other. This brings us to the world in which we live, built on centuries of technology.
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I humbly suggest that as the culture moves away from a biblical understanding of the world, so will they also miss out on certain scientific advancements—or at least delay them. Consider the unbiblical worldview of millions of years: researchers never thought oil could be produced quickly because they had been indoctrinated with the idea that oil production took vast ages. Yet oil can be made in 30 minutes from algae.12

Imagine if researchers in the 1960s had been thinking correctly (i.e., a younger age of the earth and thus rapid oil production at the time of the Flood) and had developed technology based on that truth. It could have revolutionized the oil industry in our current age! Instead, researchers only recently figured it out.

I want to encourage you to think biblically. The Bible makes sense of the world and makes sense of science and technology. Even so, we are in a world where the Bible comes under increasing attack, and secular scientists want to divorce science from the Bible (see “Is Science Secular?”). Science exists because the Bible is true. There is no reason to suppress this knowledge (Romans 1:18–21).

According to the Bible, man has always been brilliant—both in the past and in the present. The difference today is that we have more accumulated knowledge and technologies.

— Bodie Hodge, Answers in Genesis, Is Man Getting “Smarter”?, October, 2016