In January 2021, my friend Ben Berwick wrote:
Returning for a moment to something put forward on Blogging Theology, we have this sweeping notion that atheists believe murder can be ok, due to subjective morality. I’m not aware of anyone who has suggested murder is ok, but I am aware of several Biblical passages where victimless crimes are punished by death. There are quotes in both the Bible and Quran that speak of the destruction of entire civilisations for not believing in God. We are led to believe such wholesale slaughter is justified and morally right, yet when asked if they would carry out such acts if commanded to, the devout often refuse to answer. I wonder if any of my usual sparring partners will explain how the numerous violent acts of God in holy texts can be considered beyond redoubt, but not believing in God can automatically qualify someone has a supporter of murder?
Twenty-two months later, Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen, responded to Ben’s post in an article titled If God Asked You to Kill Me:
Would you do it? That is the question MM asked us some time back. He was not thrilled with our answer as he was looking for a strict yes or no response. Our answer was that God would not ask us to kill him.
The reasoning is simple, God is not in the murder business. Anyone in the NT era who says they were told by God to kill someone, was not hearing the voice of God. In the OT when he told the Israelites to kill certain people groups, it was not a request but a command.
God has his perfect reasons for issuing those commands. One of them was that the people were so far gone that they probably could not be redeemed. We see that situation in the pre-flood world as all they thought of was evil.
We are getting to that attitude in today’s world. Many people only think of doing evil and they are not in a position where they will be open to redemption. But even in this new situation, God will not ask his followers to kill unrepentant sinners.
He still wants all men to be saved and he will exhaust all avenues to achieve that goal. When they are exhausted, he will not ask his followers to kill anyone. he will end this world as we know it and bring the final judgment upon everyone.
God does not need us to kill anyone. The time when unrepentant sinners are sent to hell is coming close. also, God is not going to tell his followers to do any sin. He will not ask or command anyone to murder someone else.
When the question was posed to us by MM, it was merely an attempt to create a strawman argument against God and sinners and to provide him with justification for his refusal to accept Christ as his Savior.
There was no legitimate reason to ask that question since it is the Muslim who claims their god commands or asks them to kill those non-Muslims he does not like. Christians are not commanded to kill and the Crusades were not of God but of man’s desires fueled by evil influences.
Note that Thiessen didn’t answer Ben’s question: if God told you to kill me (as God commanded Abraham to kill Isaac) would you do it? Having read Thiessen’s writing for years, I can tell you that if he believed God was telling him to do something, he would do it. I have no reason to believe he wouldn’t murder Ben — as God’s hand of judgment — if he were certain his peculiar God was telling him to do it. This is a man, after all, who testified under oath that he hears voices.
Ben has written several posts on his interaction with Thiessen and another apologist: Disturbing Silence and If God Asked . . . . Thiessen quickly responded with a post titled Here is the Question, revealing he does not pray or contemplate before responding to his critics. In his rambling, at times, incoherent, post, Thiessen asks two questions. While he primarily directed these questions to Ben, he also directed them to me (unbelievers). What follows are my responses to his questions.
#1. Is MM so bad that God needs to send someone to kill him?
As far as we can tell, MM has not gone over the edge or past the point of no return so why would he be concerned that God would send someone to kill him? This fascination with the topic has us wondering what MM is doing in his private life.
I have no doubt that if I suddenly died, Thiessen would claim that my death was his peculiar God’s judgment on my life. I am certain he would think the same if Ben suddenly died.
Thiessen subtly wonders out loud if Ben is doing something in secret that would warrant God sending someone to kill him. Thus, he believes that there may be times when God will send someone to kill unbelievers; and if he is honest, he will admit that if he is the one chosen by God to do the killing, he will gladly do so.
But in the NT age who would be bad enough for God to send someone to kill him? After all, God has let Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and other evil people live long enough to do their dirty deeds,
We do not think that MM is a serial killer on the level of the Green River Killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, and or John Wayne Gacy nor is he a criminal like Whitey Bulger or members of the Mob in any era, so why is he so worried about God sending someone to kill him?
God is very patient and wants MM to be saved just like he wants everyone else to be saved.
Ben, of course, is not worried about God sending someone to kill him. He may, however, be worried that someone thinking God is whispering in his ear might cause him harm. I too have similar concerns. Religious fanaticism — and make no mistake about it, Thiessen is a fanatic — can and does lead people to do all sorts of bad things.
This leads us to God’s next question: #2. Since MM thinks he is so bad and he knows the gospel message, why hasn’t he done something about his sinful spiritual condition?
I don’t think Ben has ever said he is “bad.” The best I can tell, Ben is a decent bloke. I wished he lived closer. I’m sure we would hit it off and down a few beers on Fridays at the local pub.
Yes, Ben knows the “gospel.” So what? Ben has read and understands the gospel, but he rejects its claims, as do I. Ben hasn’t done anything about his “sinful spiritual condition” because he isn’t a sinner in the Evangelical sense of the word. Thiessen wrongly thinks that if he believes something to be true, everyone should believe the same thing. As a Fundamentalist, he has a narrow worldview; one that has no place for any other viewpoint but his own.
We know he and others have heard the gospel so he knows there is a way out of his sinful situation why has he not acted on it properly and asked Jesus to redeem him? One reason he hasn’t is that he is too focused on us and other believers and will use us and other believers as his excuse for not accepting Christ.
Both Ben and I are unbelievers (agnostic and atheist, respectfully). We don’t believe because we have found the central claims of Christianity to be false, or lacking evidence for their justification. Personally, I reject the notion of “sin,” thus there is no “sinful situation” for me to get out of. I haven’t asked Jesus to forgive me because I reject the Christian concepts of redemption and forgiveness. When I cause harm to someone, I ask for their forgiveness. God doesn’t exist, so I have no need of his “forgiveness.” Again, Thiessen wants to force everyone to conform to his peculiar theology, and when they don’t conform, he attacks them personally, impugning their character.
Is he trying to be like Ghandi refusing salvation because the Christians he sees do not act the way he wants them to? But he should realize that Jesus is not calling him or any other unbeliever to follow other Christians.
Ignore anyone who can’t spell Gandhi’s name correctly. It is evident that Thiessen knows very little about Gandhi’s life; his religious, political, and social beliefs and motivations.
Jesus is calling MM and other unbelievers to FOLLOW HIM. Then if MM is so upset at other believers, why does he not protect himself, change his eternal destination, accept Christ as his personal savior then follow Jesus correctly showing every other believer how it is done?
If Jesus is calling, his flip phone must not be working. I have not received one call from the Big Kahuna. Thiessen says he is a Christian. Fine. What in his behavior commends Jesus to unbelievers? I see nothing in the life of Derrick Thiessen that is remotely attractive. He is a hateful man, a liar. He repeatedly attacks people he disagrees with. If he is a Christian, why would I want to be one? No thanks. I have pointed this out to Thiessen numerous times, complete with Bible verses. He ignores me, saying that unbelievers have nothing of value to say to him. But, what about what God said? — crickets —
This is the way it is with unbelievers. They do not understand the faith or how it is lived, yet feel they can critique the lives of those who believe as well as criticize the faith etc., yet do nothing to change their lives.
I can’t speak for Ben, but I most certainly do understand “the faith” and “how it is lived,” and Thiessen knows this. I was part of the Evangelical church for fifty years. I was born again at age 15. I pastored churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan for twenty-five years. I know “the faith” and “how it is lived” inside and out. Thiessen has no evidence to the contrary. I am more than qualified educationally and experientially to critique Christianity, including critiquing the lives of those who claim to follow Christ. “By their fruits, ye shall know them,” the Bible says. Unlike Thiessen, I don’t hide in a foreign country under an assumed name, leaving behind a track record of immoral and criminal behavior. My life is an open book. If someone has a question, all he or she has to do is ask.
My life is fine just the way it is. Do you know what pisses Thiessen off? I don’t need his God; his Jesus; his Bible; or his religion. He cannot wrap his mind around someone not being like him.
MM and unbelievers are not in a position to criticize Christians as they refuse to live life following Christ. Their lives are not better than the Christians and they have nothing to offer anyone so they really cannot complain about God, his plan of salvation, or how Christians live their lives.
Well, we can do whatever we want. FREEDOM!
Thiessen is the one who has nothing to offer to anyone. Just the other day he said he was thinking about shuttering his blog. Why? Nobody reads it except God (and God never comments). If visitor, pageview, comments, and email numbers mean anything. a lot of people think I have something to offer. In 2022, this site will once again pass one million page views. My presence on social media is growing and I continue to receive speaking engagement requests. Even to Thiessen, I have something to offer: blog fodder. He would have nothing to write about without me or Ben.
Especially when they do not recognize the adversary that hinders the Christian’s spiritual growth. With that refusal, they are criticizing Christians based on 1/4 to 1/2 of the story. That is not right nor is it fair.
So we challenge MM and other unbelievers to honestly answer those questions. We do not expect MM to be honest as he never is and will find some way to deflect the true content and distort it into something he can criticize.
Consider Thiessen’s two questions answered. 🙂
Saved by Reason,
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.
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