Menu Close

Tag: Noah’s Flood

Is God Impartial?

open arms of Jesus

Church of Christ preacher Al Shannon believes that the Christian God is impartial. Quoting Acts 10:34 and Romans 2:11, Shannon states:

Our God is impartial. “For there is no respect of persons with God” (Rom.2:11); “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). Since all men are his creation, he must make no difference in them.

Shannon goes on to give seven examples of God’s impartiality:

  • He has declared all under sin.
  • God has provided a common Savior and gospel for all.
  • God extends the same invitation [of salvation] to all men.
  • God requires the same conditions of pardon be met by all men if they are to be saved.
  • God has given one standard [the Bible] to be followed.
  • God has provided one church [Church of Christ] for all.
  • God will judge all as individuals and upon their own life.

Is Shannon right? Does the Christian God act impartially towards people, giving everyone the same opportunities to believe in and worship the right God? Is God really an equal opportunity deity, dispensing to one and all the wonders of his grace?

Calvinists, of course, would reject Shannon’s proofs out of hand. In the Calvinistic scheme of things, the Christian God, through a divine lottery, predestined certain people to be saved. These “winners” — also known as the elect — are the only people who will be saved. Before the first humans were created, God, through a process known only to him, chose to save certain people. Over the thousands of years humans have lived on planet Earth, this God has been regenerating (giving spiritual life) only the people on his will call list. These lucky winners will, at some point in their lives, be given eyes to see and ears to hear the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, and upon hearing it they will — without fail — repent and call on Jesus to save them from their sins. And if they are truly saved, these elect people will persevere in faith until they die. Failing to persevere to the end means that those who failed were not truly elect. (See Can Anyone Really Know They Are Saved?)

For Calvinists, then, God is quite discriminating. God only chooses to save some people. Thus, when Jesus died on the cross for human sin, his atonement was only on behalf of the elect. No true Calvinist will ever say that Jesus died for everyone. There are “Calvinists” who adopt Amyraldianism, believing that Jesus’ atonement was “sufficient” to save everyone, but only “efficient” for the elect. Realizing that particular redemption/limited atonement makes God look bad, these four-point Calvinists attempt to put a better face on their deity’s partiality towards a very small portion of the human race — past, present, and future. Regardless of how the atonement is viewed, ALL Calvinists believe that only a certain number of people will be saved. All others need not apply.

Shannon, of course, is not a Calvinist. In fact, as most Church of Christ preachers do, Shannon considers Calvinism to be heretical — a cult. (Calvinists return the favor, saying that the Churches of Christ are a cult that preaches works salvation.)  According to Shannon, every person who has ever been born has an equal opportunity to be saved. Shannon’s God makes an indiscriminate offer to all: repent, be baptized, persevere in good works, and you shall be saved.

While there are certainly Bible verses that suggest that God is impartial, there are other verses that suggest otherwise. As I mentioned above, Calvinists can make a strong case for the notion that God’s love, grace, and salvation is discriminating, and reserved only for those upon whom God has chosen to bestow his favor. Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike spend significant amounts of time and energy challenging each other’s Biblical interpretations — proving that the Bible can be used to prop up virtually any system of belief.

We don’t have to get into the theological minutia of this internecine war to conclude that Shannon’s claim — God is impartial — is false. In fact, the Old Testament provides overwhelming proof of the partiality of God. For those of us raised in Sunday School, we heard numerous stories and lessons about God choosing Abraham and his seed to be his chosen people. Abraham’s seed was later renamed Israel (the Jews). According to Deuteronomy 7:6-8:

For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

A special people. So much for the impartiality of God. Showing that he indeed had a favorite, God commanded the Israelites to commit genocide, killing countless non-Jewish men, women, children, and unborn fetuses. So much for God being pro-life! God wanted ethnic and theological purity, going to great lengths to ensure that the only people left living were his “special” people.

In Genesis 6 through 9, the Bible records the mythical story of Noah and his gopher wood and pitch floating zoo. It is likely that millions of people lived on the face of the earth at the time God opened the windows of heaven and flooded the earth, killing everyone save Noah, his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law. Out of millions of people, God only found eight people he was willing to save. So much for the impartiality of God. Imagine the poor sinners living on the island of what is now called Japan. One day it started raining and in a matter of days everyone on the island died. On judgment day, these people, having never heard of the Jewish/Christian God will stand before Jehovah and be judged for their “sins.” I can only imagine their confusion. Born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, these resurrected drowning victims will be told that they should have known what they could not possibly know: that there is one true God and Jesus is his name. Off to Hell they go without ever clearly understanding why. Perhaps a Calvinist will pipe up on that day and say, Ha! You weren’t chosen by God! Burn motherfuckers, burn! Oh, sorry, Lord about saying motherfucker. I forgot about that “thing” with you and Mary.

Even in the New Testament, we see a Jesus who had no interest in anyone save his chosen people — the Jews. It was not until the writing of the Apostle Paul that we hear of non-Jews being saved and made a part of God’s family. Jesus’ disciples, all of whom were circumcised Israelites, spent their time preaching the gospel to only the Jews. Deeply versed in the teaching of the Old Testament, the Apostles knew that the Jews were God’s chosen people. While Christianity (Paul’s version) certainly spread to the outposts of the Roman Empire, it is clear that Jews were the intended target. In Romans 11, Paul reminds Gentiles that the Jews were God’s original chosen people. Gentiles were, according to Paul, grafted into the Jewish branch. Gentiles should feel lucky that God became upset over Israel’s unbelief and decided to let them in on salvation and eternal life. In other words, God is similar to a jilted lover. Spurned by his one true love, he seeks out and marries another person.

Most of the people who have and yet will grace the pages of human history will die in their sins without ever knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Born at the wrong place and time, these “sinners” will worship the God of their culture, thinking that their devotion will be enough to grant them favor with God and an eventual home in Heaven. Most of these people will never “hear” about Jesus or the “right” Christian gospel. (See Is There Only One Plan of Salvation?Does the Bible Contain Multiple Plans of Salvation?One, Two, Three, Repeat After Me: Salvation Bob Gray Style, and Church of Christ Preacher Al Shannon Says There are Only 2 Million Christians in the Whole World). They will die in ignorance, yet Al Shannon’s God and the God of millions of Christians will eternally torture billions of people in the flames of Hell for things over which they had no control. For the people God saved, all they can say is lucky me, it sucks to be you. Those who are saved will owe all praise, glory, and honor to Jesus.

Every Christian sect believes that God alone saves. Those who find themselves on the winning side of the ledger will have no reason to boast. It is God, through the merit and work of Jesus, who saves sinners. This is, contrary to Shannon’s assertions, the perfect example of partiality and discrimination. It is also one of the reasons many people reject Christianity and its God. These unbelievers see God as a capricious deity, a divine bully who is running some sort of cosmic scam — one in which he allows billions of people to think they are on the right path to salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life, only to find out that God was just playing with them. Similar to a cat catching a mouse in his mouth and letting it go, only so he can catch it again, the Christian God toys with the human race, knowing that just as sure as the cat eventually will kill the mouse, he will sentence the vast majority of people to a life worse than death — eternal torture in the flames of the Lake of Fire.

As with the idea that God loves everyone unconditionally (see Does God Love Us Unconditionally?), the idea that God is impartial sounds good to those who value fairness and justice; actually reading the Bible proves otherwise.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

God Plans to Kill Billions of People — Every Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic, Hindu, and Atheist

end of the world

According to Richard Schmidt, the founder of Prophecy Focus Ministries, with the worldwide flood recorded in Genesis 6-9, God killed every living thing on planet earth save Noah, his family, the animals on the ark, and the little bitty fishes in the sea:

The voice of God reached the ears of Noah declaring the most severe judgment ever proclaimed since God created the universe in a literal six-day period (cf. Gen. 1:31). God instructed Noah by providing, in exact detail, the specifications of a massive ark that would provide the only escape from guaranteed judgment. Think about it—out of millions of people, only eight survived the catastrophic judgment of the universal flood. Why were these few people the only ones that God saved?

What did the inhabitants of the earth (and their puppies and kitties) do to warrant God opening up a can of whoop-ass and killing millions of people? Schmidt says:

The Creator and ultimate judge of the world, made the judicial determination that the ungodly actions of the world’s population in the days of Noah forced Him to condemn the people to death.

Schmidt warns that God’s genocidal cleansing of the earth is a precursor of what God plans to do at some point in the future:

Does God have a plan that will mimic the horrific judgment of the universal flood, resulting in a massive number of people losing their lives and, worse yet, an eternity separated from God Himself? The Bible provides the answer. The facts are startling and require every person to consider very seriously their relationship with the Creator of the universe.

….

What is the lesson of Noah, the ark and the flood for those living in the present dispensation? First, God warns all people of judgment for those who refuse to hear and accept His plan for salvation. Second, God’s justice demands a reverence, or godly fear, that results in listening to and heeding God’s Word. Third, all people stand condemned to eternal punishment for refusing to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the complete and only payment for their sin. Finally, all who come to the Lord Jesus by faith and accept God’s gift of salvation will live for eternity in the presence of God. Those who rejected God in Noah’s day suffered condemnation, and those who reject the gospel, or good news, of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ likewise stand condemned. Lesson learned or rejected? What will you do with Jesus today

The second time around, all the Christians will be raptured from the earth before God literally fulfills the horrors recorded in the book of Revelation. While Christians are busy in Heaven schmoozing with Jesus and the Apostles, untold violence, carnage, bloodshed, and death will be poured out by God upon earth’s inhabitants. Billions and billions of unborn babies, children, teenagers, and adults will be tortured and slaughtered by means best suited for an episode of Criminal Minds or a remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre — Tribulation Edition.

Most of our planet’s inhabitants aren’t followers of Jesus, and I suspect that for those who say they are, Schmidt likely believes that many of them are not True Christians®. After all, only eight people out of millions were given a bunk in Noah’s floating zoo. Humans are just as sinful as, if not more than, they were in Noah’s day (though, to be fair, I haven’t heard any reports of demonic angels having sex with human women, producing hybrid offspring).  Matthew 24:37-39 states:

But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

In other words, people were so busy sinning and living that they had no time for God. What did God expect? His only spokesman was a crazy old man who was saying it was going to rain and people needed to get on the big boat he was building in the middle of the desert.

In Noah’s day, according to Genesis 6:5-7:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

God became so angry over the “wickedness of man” that he decided to do a master reset, destroying every human being except Noah, his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law. What happened to Noah’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren? Wasn’t there room for them and their toys on the Ark? What about Noah’s daughters? Were they the ones screwing around with demonic angels? So many questions.

dexter killing tools

According to many Evangelicals, we are living in the last days. We should expect Jesus to return to planet earth at any moment to rapture away the people with advanced reservations, leaving behind billions of Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, and pagans, along with every other non-Christian. Then God will unwrap his Dexter-like tools of torture and homicide, slaughtering everyone who doesn’t remember the date, time, and place where Jesus saved them. Billions of people will die for no other reason than having the wrong religion or having been born in the wrong country. Worse yet, when God is done killing everyone, he is going to resurrect them back to life, judge them, and toss their sorry asses in the Lake of Fire. God is so bent on making non-Christians pay for all the shit that went down over the past four or so thousand years that he plans to give the people in the Lake of Fire new bodies that will withstand being roasted for eternity. Ain’t God awesome?

Tell me, dear Christians, why would anyone ever want to worship such an immoral monster? Out of fear? Is that the best the Schmidts of the world have to offer — fear God, get saved, or he is going to roast you (or drown you)? No thanks. Even if such a God exists — and he doesn’t — who would want to worship him? Is such a deity worthy of my love and devotion?

Perhaps Evangelicals love their Jonathan Edwards’ version of God. Being part of the elect — God’s special, chosen people — means God picked them over billions of other people. God made sure they were born in the right country to Christian parents who would make sure that their children didn’t have sex with demon angels, never masturbated, and sincerely asked Jesus in their hearts at age twelve. (Please read Why Most Americans are Christian) Again, ain’t God awesome?

It is hard not to conclude that the Evangelical God created most humans just so he could kill them for sport. If the Calvinists are right, that God is sovereign, and nothing happens apart from his perfect plan, pray tell, how does God twice slaughtering the human race resemble anything close to a “plan”?

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Why Evangelicals Love the Story of Noah and the Ark

dinosaurs on the ark
Cartoon by Mike Peters

In the book of Genesis we find the story of Noah and the Ark. While many people of faith understand that this story is a work of fiction, Evangelicals believe that Noah really did build an Ark. Noah gathered his family and two of every animal on the boat, safe from the deluge of rain God sent upon the earth, killing every man, woman, child, fetus, lion, lamb, horse, dog, cat, elephant . . . you get my point. God killed everyone save the eight people and the animals safely ensconced upon the Ark. According to Bishop James Ussher’s chronology (Ussher was a 17th-century primate in the Church of Ireland) the earth is currently 6,024 years old. Ussher believed that Noah’s flood took place in 2348 BCE. Ussher’s dates are still used by many Evangelicals today.

One of the first Bible stories told to toddlers and children in Evangelical Sunday school classes and children’s church programs is the story of Noah and the Ark. Of course, rarely are children told the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God. Typically little is said about God’s genocidal rage or the fact that he drowned children, babies, and fetuses all because of the lifestyles and religious choices of their parents. Instead, the story of Noah and the Ark is framed as a picture of God’s grace. Genesis 6:8 says Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. The Ark, then, is viewed as protection from the storms of life and the Hell to come for all those who repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Those outside the Ark, drowning in the waters of the “world,” are atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularists, Catholics, Mormon’s, Jehovah’s Witnesses . . . you get my point. Everyone except bought-by-the-blood, born-from-above Evangelicals is outside the Ark, being murdered by God, only to later have their bodies resurrected and renovated so they can stand eternal, everlasting pain and torment in the Lake of Fire. And all God’s people said, AMEN! WHAT AN AWESOME GOD WE SERVE.

While adult Evangelicals believe the story of Noah and the Ark is actual history, the story is often used as a metaphor: the Ark is a place of safety for Christians from the onslaught of the “world.” Let me illustrate this point with the lyrics from the southern gospel song, Build the Ark:

Build an ark, head for the open water
Save your sons and your daughters
Build an ark

Build an ark when the storm is ended
You’ll know the world has been mended
Build an ark

I’m tired of all the villains
Tired of all the killins’
Tired of the men who make the laws
And break ’em any time they please

I’m tired of all the big lies
Where are all the good guys?
Sometimes I swear I feel the way
That Noah did when the Lord commanded

Build an ark, head for the open water
Save your sons and your daughters
Build an ark

Build an ark when the storm is ended
You’ll know the world has been mended
Build an ark

My father and my mother
My sisters and my brothers
All of the friends that I care about
And the woman that I’ve learned to love

I’ll gather them together
And promise them forever
We’ll be safe from the world around us
All we have to do is to love each other

Build an ark, head for the open water
Save your sons and your daughters
Build an ark

Build an ark when the storm is ended
You’ll know the world has been mended
Build an ark

I’ll gather them together
And promise them forever
We’ll be safe from the world around us
All we have to do is to love each other

Build an ark, you’ve got to head for the open water
Save your sons and your daughters
Build an ark

Video Link

Evangelicalism is inherently anti-culture. According to the Build the Ark lyrics, the “world” is pressing upon and oppressing Evangelicals. The “world” around them is wicked and evil, going to Hell in a handbasket. Instead of engaging their culture and performing transformative good works, Evangelicals flee to the safety of their Arks: churches, parachurch ministries, and homes. I wrote about this very thing in three posts titled The Replacement Doctrine: How Evangelicals Attempt to Co-opt the “World,” The Evangelical Replacement Doctrine, and 2006: It’s Time to Leave the Christian Ghetto and Become “Worldly” for Jesus.

In recent years, Evangelicals have begun to wander outside the safety of their metaphorical Ark. Why is that? It seems Evangelicals are tired of waiting for Jesus to return to earth to slaughter all the non-Evangelicals. They are tired of waiting out the storm in a crowded boat filled with stinky animals and excrement. Unwilling to “tarry until Jesus returns,” Evangelicals, drunk with the wine of naked political power, have decided to wage war against the “world.” This thinking has morphed into Trumpism, aptly displayed on January 6, 2021, as insurrectionists tried to overthrow the U.S. government. Post-January 6 we have seen nothing that suggests that Evangelicals are returning to the Ark any time soon. This makes me wonder if the next judgment God sends to earth will be that of Evangelicals who have traded their birthright for a bowl of pottage. (Genesis 25:29-34)

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

A Pictorial Explanation of How Some Creationists View the Pre-Flood World

chick the flood
Chick Tract

Creationists believe the earth is 6,024 years old. Based on a literal interpretation of God’s divine science textbook — the Bible — creationists believe God, 4,000 or so years ago, sent a worldwide flood that killed all life on earth except Noah and his family and the animals on the Ark. Many creationists believe that the world after the flood was fundamentally different from the one before. Those of us who came of age in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches of the 1960s and 1970s likely remember preachers and conference speakers waxing eloquently about the “science” found in the book of Genesis. Forced to stick to a literalistic interpretation of the Bible, these promoters of the creationist myth said that prior to Noah’s flood the earth was protected by a water canopy that kept the earth in an Edenic state. This perfectly controlled environment kept plants living without rain and allowed some people to have lifespans exceeding 900 years. (See Genesis 1:6-8, Genesis 2:6, Genesis 7:11)

Several years ago, my friend Dr. James McGrath posted a graphic that perfectly illustrates the vapor/water canopy theory.

earth before the flood

Enlightened creationists — an oxymoron — will scream foul, reminding me that most creationists no longer embrace the canopy theory. Fine, but I suspect that many older creationists still embrace the theory.  This theory is hardly “ancient” history. I heard preaching on it in the late 1980s. Every Evangelical preacher I knew owned copies of  Henry Morris’ and John Whitcomb’s 1960 book, The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implication, and Morris’ 1976 book, The Genesis Record, A scientific and devotional commentary on the book of beginnings. These two books, along with a King James Bible, were all Evangelical preachers needed to explain the universe.  What have creation “scientists” discovered that would cause creationists to now abandon the canopy theory? Or is the real issue that believing it makes them look like illiterate hillbillies? Craving acceptance by the larger religious community or desiring validation from the science community, creationists have abandoned a theory that was central to interpreting Genesis for much of the twentieth century. Creationists are front and center in attacks on LGBTQ Christians who reinterpret the Bible to support their belief that God/Bible does not condemn homosexuality. How is abandoning the canopy theory any different? Did the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God change? How dare creationists abandon their interpretation of the Bible just because it makes them look illiterate!

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Were There Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?

dinosaurs on the ark
Cartoon by Mike Peters

People often wonder how all of the animals could have fit on the ark. Often, “bathtub arks” are loaded down with various species of animals, rather than the biblical kind, which is approximately at the family level of biological classification. Noah didn’t need to bring lions, leopards, and tigers onto the ark, just a single pair from the cat kind. We see so many illustrations of large creatures packed tightly into a little boat. But this image is inaccurate too. Noah’s ark was so much larger than it is usually depicted, and many of the animals were probably smaller than are shown in popular pictures.

But the biggest hurdle people have when they see any of our displays of the ark (or visit the Ark Encounter) is seeing dinosaurs depicted on the ark (or in stalls in the Ark Encounter). Due to evolutionary indoctrination, many people can’t picture man living alongside dinosaurs, or if they do, they think of the Jurassic Park/World movies and view all dinosaurs as wanting to trample or eat people. Even if they overcome or set aside this stumbling block, we still get questions of how dinosaurs could even fit on the ark, particularly when considering the massive dinosaurs, especially the sauropods. Other oft-cited “problems” with dinosaurs on the ark are feeding the herbivores the massive amounts of vegetation that the adults eat, feeding the carnivorous ones (and avoiding being eaten by them), and cleaning up after them.

It makes more sense to think that God would have sent to Noah juveniles (or sub-adults) or smaller varieties within the same kind. Consider the following advantages to bringing juveniles or smaller versions of a creature: they take up less space, they eat less, they create less waste, they are often more docile and easier to manage, they are generally less susceptible to injury, and they would have more time to reproduce after the flood. And considering this last point, wasn’t that the end goal of bringing them on board the ark: to keep them alive and to ensure that they would “be fruitful and multiply on the earth” (Genesis 8:17)? Bringing a full-sized dinosaur that only had a few years left and/or was past its reproductive prime seems illogical and wasteful. Neither of those is characteristic of God.

Regarding carnivorous activity, we know from the fossil record (most of which is a testimony of the worldwide, globe-covering flood) that some animals were carnivores in the post-fall/pre-flood world. But even if carnivory was prevalent in the late pre-flood world, it is still possible the animals that God sent did not eat meat or were omnivores that could have survived for one year without meat. There have been modern examples of animals normally considered to be carnivores that refused to eat meat, such as the lion known as Little Tyke. Additionally during times of war or natural disaster when meat was unobtainable, zoos and wildlife parks have utilized meat substitutes1 like nuts, peanut butter, coconuts, beans, soy, and other legumes as their protein-source feed for the animals.2

However, if some of the ark’s animals did eat meat, there are several methods of preserving or supplying their food. Meat can be preserved through drying, smoking, salting, or pickling. Certain fish can pack themselves in mud and survive for years without water—these could have been stored on the ark. Noah may have also brought mealworms and other insects onto the ark as food, and these can be bred for both carnivores and insectivores, providing even necessary amino acids, like taurine. Cricket or grasshopper flour could be baked into breads, as could the ground seeds of gourds. And plants like amaranth and quinoa yield high protein feed. Yeast paste and dried seaweed also contain high amounts of protein and taurine, so Noah quite likely had many options available to him. And occasionally in desperate times, like during the Nazi siege of Leningrad in 1941, even obligate carnivores (in this case, a tiger) have switched to vegetarian diets and survived for several years.

For the plant-eating dinosaurs, the animals brought on board could have eaten compressed hay, other dried grasses, dried vegetables, seeds and grains, legumes, etc. Another factor that may have reduced food consumption for both vegetarian and carnivorous dinosaurs is that they went into a state of hibernation/brumation or torpor. Many reptiles today begin to eat less, reduce their metabolic rate drastically, and then “sleep” for long periods of time when the weather gets a little cooler, virtually eating nothing and waking up only for brief periods to drink before reentering brumation. Often the best conditions for this state are humidity, temperatures between 50° and 68° F (10° and 20° C), and low-light conditions. The outside weather at the time of the flood (rainy and thus likely cool) combined with the lower-light interior compartments of the ark would make ideal hibernation/brumation conditions on the ark. If any of the dinosaurs and other reptiles and amphibians went into brumation, then food requirements would have been severely reduced.

— Troy Lacey, Answers in Genesis, Dinosaurs on the Ark: How It Was Possible, April 28, 2021

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Ken Ham Approves of Brothers Having Sex With Sisters

ken ham incest chart

Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and Ark Encounter, believes that at the beginning of the world 6,024 years ago, incest was approved by God.

Ham writes:

…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 [God made a mistake?], 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 6,024 years old, and evolution is Satan’s lie. 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 inspired, inerrant, 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 particular human behavior not sinful for 2,500 years, and then, all of a sudden, it becomes sinful? How can an immoral act ever 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?”

Sooooo many questions . . .

bruce-gerencser-headshot

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.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Ark Encounter TV Ad Hides Genocide Behind Cute Animal Characters

ark encounter

Ken Ham and his mighty band of young-earth creationists at the Ark Encounter have developed a plan to attract children to their monument to ignorance in Williamstown, Kentucky. The Ark Encounter is an Evangelical amusement park geared towards reinforcing creationist dogma for adults and indoctrinating children in the myth of Noah’s Ark. Prior generations of Evangelicals had only the Bible as their guide. Today, creationists have the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, both of which give visual life to the first nine chapters of the book of Genesis.

Ham knows that financial ruin awaits him unless he finds new ways to attract and entertain fellow young-earth creationists. This year, Ham plans to admit children free to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. While dutiful Evangelical parents — who know how important it is to indoctrinate children when they are young — will insist that their children go with them to visit both facilities, I am sure they are grateful for Ham adding new attractions to his been-there-done-that amusement park. Children bore easily, so providing new and exciting things for them to see and do will likely help Evangelical parents who have to deal with children who say, “Really, Dad, the Ark Encounter AGAIN? Can’t we go to Cedar Point or King’s Island this year?”

What, you ask, is Ham doing to attract children to the Ark Encounter? In a recent Answers in Genesis news story titled, Bring the Kids and Think Bigger!, Ham wrote:

I believe you’ll be amazed, thrilled, and astounded—and will praise the Lord for what he is doing in this cutting-edge ministry. A hint: think Paddington Bear, giraffes, children, and a bathtub.

….

Over the years, many Christian leaders have told me that the quality of the Creation Museum and its exhibits has set a very high bar for the Christian world. Many reporters have told me that because the museum is a Christian facility, they expected it to be “cheesy”—they recognized that the Christian world is not known for having a Disney-like quality.

We’ve also had dozens of visits from Christian organizations who were (or are) building Christian facilities, and they tell us they hope to attain the same quality.

When the Ark Encounter opened in 2016, people weren’t surprised at the level of excellence they experienced at the Ark, having seen what was done at the Creation Museum.

Many Christians told me it was so refreshing for them to visit Christian facilities of such high quality—particularly because we are so bold about biblical authority, the gospel, and a truly Christian worldview.

….

Now, it’s one thing to build such facilities, but people need to be informed they exist. World-class attractions like Disney and Universal Studios spend hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing and promotion. We, too, recognize that we need to do our best to market the Creation Museum and Ark so that people will know they exist, and then we need them to come and experience the proclamation of the truth of God’s Word and the gospel in an engaging way!

Before the Creation Museum opened, the Lord led us to a marketing agency, Joseph David Advertising (JDA—www.jdaworldwide.com/). Its Christian ownership wanted to work with us to develop marketing ideas that would be equal to or better than what the secular world does.

….

Over the years, their experts have worked tirelessly with us to produce award-winning billboards, television advertisements, and other marketing tools. Many people have commented on how professional this marketing effort has been and how it really captured their attention. Many of you may have seen our ads on the Fox News Channel and many other networks.

We have also conducted a lot of market research through JDA to find out how we can best reach those likely to visit the Creation Museum and Ark. Through the help of JDA’s creativity and resources, we have been able to market our attractions in powerful and effective ways.

A few months ago, we met with JDA’s marketing team and discussed how we were going to market the Ark and Creation Museum for 2020. We also discussed the incredible war against children that is happening in our culture in regard to abortion, forcing the LGBTQ worldview on kids in schools, the war on the family, increasing talk about allowing pedophilia, and so on.

What’s happening is so evil. It motivated us to come up with a plan to help reach more kids by allowing all children 10 years old and under into our attractions for free. Yes, that offer began January 1, 2020. We’ve actually restructured the ticket pricing.

Our marketing agents then came up with an idea that we thought was beyond our reach financially. But they worked out a way for this to happen—so remarkable!

You may have seen the family movie featuring the character Paddington Bear. Now, while this bear is an animated creature, the animation is done so well that it looks real as the bear interacts in the real world with real people!

Then we asked ourselves, “What animal is most associated with the Ark?” And of course, it was the giraffe! That’s because most modern depictions of Noah’s Ark in children’s books (not those from AiG, of course!) have Noah’s Ark pictured as a sort of overloaded bathtub with giraffes sticking their necks out the top!

Put all this together for a 30-second television advertisement with the same quality as the Paddington movie, but with giraffes—four of them: mom, dad, and the two kids—plus a bathtub ark and a visit to our true-to-the-Bible Ark, while promoting that kids go free. Combine that with a quaint story line, and there you have it: an extremely high quality, captivating, and stunning television ad that will market the Ark Encounter and free admission for children in 2020.

What Mickey Mouse and other characters are to Disney, these giraffes (named George, Gloria, Gracie, and Junior) will be to the Ark Encounter. I believe kids will fall in love with the giraffe kids, Gracie and Junior.

When I saw the first draft of this TV ad, I immediately thought of Super Bowl quality. In fact, I think it is better than many Super Bowl ads I’ve seen. Personally, I think the ad would win an award if played during the Super Bowl! But for $5.6 million dollars to run just one 30-second Super Bowl commercial, we certainly couldn’t do that. But this high-quality TV ad will be shown on many channels and across our social media.

….

JDA partnered with several Hollywood studios to create the giraffe characters we’ll all see on TV soon. These specialized studios are the same as those behind the animation in films like The Avengers, Wonder Woman, and Mary Poppins, and also popular TV shows like Star Trek and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In fact, the VFX supervisor hired to produce our characters was the former Pixar supervisor who oversaw the creation of the character Jessie in Toy Story 2.

Since the TV commercial was shot in the same live-action style as Paddington (i.e., “animation over film”), JDA partnered with Whitestone Motion Pictures from Atlanta to build a custom set (see at right) and film the giraffe family in their living room. As complicated as the animation was to create, plus shooting blank frames 18 feet in the air in a custom-built 25-foot-tall living room designed for giraffes, it was nothing short of spectacular.

All in all, the talent JDA was able to bring to the table on our ministry’s behalf was outstanding. I think you’ll agree once you see the spot!

So there ya have it, Ham is producing cute promo spots he hopes will spur children to say to their parents, “Mommy and Daddy, can we go to the Ark Encounter?”

What follows is one of the new Ark Encounter TV ads. It’s 30 seconds long. I hope you will take the time to watch it.

Video Link

Cute TV ad, which is sure to speak to children everywhere. What’s missing, of course, is, to quote Paul Harvey, “the rest of the story.” Ham wants to suck children in with adorable animated animal figures, all the while hiding the fact that the story of Noah’s Flood is really about an angry, vengeful God who drowned millions and millions of men, women, teenagers, children, babies, fetuses, and innocent animals.

Why did the Christian God commit genocide? Why did God drown millions of animals? Genesis 6:1-7 says:

 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

According to the aforementioned text, God drowned everyone because the “wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  In particular, “the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them.” This odd passage of Scripture suggests that fallen angels were having sex with women, producing hybrid devil children. (And yes, I am aware of other interpretations.) Talk about a made for HBO storyline!

Why not make a TV ad that shows God drowning everyone? Maybe put a big lifesaver on the side of the ark, with a message imprinted for those who are drawing their last breaths, “Smile, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” How about an ad more geared towards Evangelical adults? You know, one with a Game of Thrones-like sex twist; one that shows fallen angels seducing women or righteous Noah getting drunk and exposing himself to his son Ham? (Genesis 9) Why not tell the whole story instead of hiding behind cute animated giraffes? Surely, Evangelical children deserve the truth.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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.

Are you on Social Media? Follow Bruce on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Mythical Bible Story Proof Climate Change is a Myth

michele bachmann

I would encourage pastors to start preaching on this issue of climate change and God’s view of climate change. The very covenant was established by God and Noah. And that covenant was that sin was so gross in the world that God had to bring about judgment, and then he had to bring about salvation, and from there came Abraham. God put a rainbow in the sky as a sign of his covenant and he said very clearly to the entire world, ‘Never again will there be judgment, never again will the world be flooded.

“You can take it to the bank, that’s God’s word. And what is it these frauds tells us with climate change? That the world’s going to be flooded. Isn’t it interesting they’re saying it’s going to be another catastrophe, it’s flooding, we’re going to be flooded? God says we will never be flooded.

I want to challenge every pastor listening, would you please give a sermon on climate change and God’s view of climate change?This isn’t being political, this is being biblical, and I am begging the pastors who are listening, be biblical on issue after issue after issue. Be biblical because God’s people are perishing because of lack of knowledge, and the greatest antidote to deception is knowledge. And that’s why we need the pulpits to prepare people with what the Bible says about truth.

-— Michele Bachmann, Right Wing Watch, Climate Change Is a Fraud Because ‘God Says We Will Never Be Flooded’, October 15, 2019

Ark Encounter Asks Twitter Followers What They Learned While Visiting Ken Ham’s Monument to Ignorance

ken ham ark encounter

Ken “Hambo” Ham is the CEO of  Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter — a life-size “replica” of Noah’s Ark.  Last week, whoever handles the Twitter feed for Ark Encounter asked “What is something you learned at Ark Encounter?” Needless to say, many of the responses were hilarious. Enjoy!

  • I’d love to visit the Ark Encounter to see how a gullible fellow Aussie has duped so many gullible Americans with creation myths that are so easily debunked in this enlightened era.
  • That Noah used a lot of new technological gadgets to build it.
  • I’ve learned that as countless religious people leave their faith and while atheism swells in ranks it’s leaving the most gullible and mentally challenged behind. Therefore, the religious are becoming increasingly insane and that explains why they also support grifter Trump.
  • That people who believe this either: 1) haven’t read the right books/attended the right classes 2) aren’t clever enough to have understood them 3) liars. Where Ken Ham is concerned, I’m hesitating between 2 or 3? On balance I’ll go with 3.
  • That someone stole the Epic of Gilgamesh and built it in Kentucky.
  • That Noah must’ve invented the rivet gun.
  • That creationists are very good at not understanding things when their salary depends on them not understanding.
  • The marsupials had one helluva journey home.
  • So I’m supposed to suspend logic and believe that Noah and his family built the ark with only a few days notice but it took you about 4yrs with over 1000 workers something resembling the ark but doesn’t even float? GTFO!
  • That blindly denying observation and reason, and forging ahead with conclusion first, and making up supporting ideas afterwards is a bass-ackwards approach for a world view.
  • That an ark built to the specifications in the bible isn’t seaworthy and can’t house 2 of every creature on Earth.
  • The price of gullibility is $42 per adult plus parking.
  • Yup, the 600 year old floating zoo keeper is at it again. Now he and his 500 year old sons, Mo Larry and Curly, are master ship builders and loggers pulling massive trees out of the DESERT And we wonder why real science gets shelved.
  • Aww… “Noah’s Preformed Laminated Composite Structures,” “Noah’s Tyvek,” and “Noah’s Hydraulic Noah-Lifters” r all pretty cool. But… I was SO hoping to find a pic of Noah’s hard-hat. Sad, now.
  • There is a wealth of tax money that could be going to children’s educations at public schools and also to maintaining national infrastructure, helping people to succeed and be safe, instead of just going into the coffers of groups who don’t actually produce anything.
  • That the Flintstones was a documentary.
  • That instead of hiring a 900-year-old man and his small family, you required cranes, concrete pylons, and at least a 1,000 person workforce, not to mention tax exemptions to build half a boat incapable of carrying a fraction of the world’s species.
  • That willful ignorance is a helluva drug.
  • That what Noah supposedly managed with wood and bronze needed steel rebar, insulation, cranes, and composite to (poorly) replicate.
  • I learned the god you worship is a narcissistic, pathological liar and murderous vindictive thug who committed specicide, and who is responsible for creating Satan, sin, and all other manners of evil but then blames everyone else for it.
  • That koala bears and kangaroos and wallabys had to swim all the way across the Indian Ocean and back.
  • Some ya-hoo spent a bunch of money, including some taxpayer money, to construct a park in an attempt to convince people that dinosaurs and people were on earth during the same time period, and that the planet is less than 10,000 years old. The dumbing down of America in earnest.
  • That the promised economic benefits to the surrounding area were all a sham. That millions of dollars of taxpayer money was stolen to construct a religious idol packed with blatant falsities that are an affront to science passed off as truth. But at least the zoo’s ok, right?
  • That that boat would be super sweet at Burning Man.
  • That god is an idiot who killed every baby, toddler, child on earth in a snit-fit only to have humans repopulate and return to sinning. Couldn’t see that coming, oh omniscient one?!?!
  • That dinosaurs can be domesticated.
  • That religious grifters are the same everywhere. Apply for tax exemption, get local & state taxpayers to help fund the con, privatize profits, socialize debt, max out the credit, file bankruptcy, and fly away with the cash. Typical con, religious version.
  • I learned that the model, which you put together using heavy machinery, modern refined resourced, pneumatic nail guns and screws, and thousands man hours, would have taken 4 primitive men several thousand years to complete using simple stone or bronze tools.
  • That some people still celebrate ignorance and religious delusions. We as humans have moved so much further ahead than this. This entire place is a wasteful, hopeless, and meaningless, struggle against reality.
  • That the only thing more full of shit than a floating zoo after 40 days and nights are the people that bilked the taxpayers out of money for this monstrosity?
  • I learned that some people watched Evan Almighty and took it way too seriously.
  • The irony of the Ark Encounter buses being powered by fossil fuels made from the remains of dead zooplankton and algae millions of yrs older that these dimwits claim the universe is.
  • I learned that we are morally justified by God to make the descendants of Canaan our slaves for all eternity.
  • I learned that the ark couldn’t possibly hold two of every of animal. And had no way to clean, maintain animal health, and maintain a fresh supply of water for the animals. Oh and all the fresh water fish died in salt water.
  • That there were kangaroos in the Middle East.

An Argument Against the Existence of God: The Suffering of Animals

animal suffering

One of the biggest problems Christian apologists face is the fact that there is suffering in the world; that violence, bloodshed, famine, disease and death ravage all living things. The existence of these things suggests, at least to atheists and agnostics, that the Christian God of the Bible either doesn’t exist or he is an absentee creator who have no interest in these things.

When pressed on these issues, apologists usually take one of three approaches:

  • God’s ways are not our ways; his thought are not our thoughts. Humans are finite beings who cannot understand why God does what he does.
  • Humans are sinful, thanks to the fall of Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden. Suffering is the result of mankind’s fallen nature. Want to blame someone, blame man!
  • Suffering is a problem that cannot be totally understood in this life, but its existence does not negate the existence of God. There are other evidences for God which prove his existence.

If you have engaged Evangelical zealots on the issue of suffering, you will always hear one or more of approaches mentioned above. Simply put, God can do whatever he wants to do, and humans are to blame for whatever befalls them, not God. If God is the divine creator, as Evangelicals say he is, then an argument can be made for him doing whatever he wants to do. However, Evangelicals further assert that their God is moral and just, and that his revealed morality and justice is found within the pages of the sixty-six books of the Protestant Bible.

Once appeals are made to the Bible, Evangelicals have a big problem on their hands. According to the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, nothing happens apart from God’s decree, purpose, and plan. Calvinists and Arminians alike believe that God is sovereign and that he alone controls the universe. Thus, if Evangelical theology is taken to its logical conclusion, this means God is ultimately culpable for everything that happens — including sin, suffering, and death. When backed into a theological corner, Evangelicals will use all sorts of arguments in their attempts wiggle out of the obvious: that God, the first cause of all things, is culpable for everything done on planet Earth.

Some Evangelicals will argue that God created humans with free will. This means, then, that humans are responsible for their actions, not God. What a minute. Are Evangelicals saying that human will trumps the will of the Almighty; that humans can subvert what God desires to do; that God is forced to stand by and do nothing while humans exercise their free will? I thought God was omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent? Are Evangelicals saying that God is the biggest bad ass in the universe, yet he is powerless to stop humans from doing whatever it is they want to do?

Other Evangelicals — usually Calvinists — will use various lapsarian (the order of God’s decrees) arguments to extricate God from the vice of culpability.  Here’s a chart that details the various lapsarian views:lapsarian views

Wikipedia

These arguments, of course, are not found in the Bible. They are philosophical arguments used to justify various theological beliefs. Some Calvinists, realizing the huge problem the origin and existence of sin and suffering causes them, will take their theology to its logical conclusion and say that God created sin; that the fall of the human race was decreed by God; that God from before the foundation of the world only purposed to save a remnant of people; that the overwhelming majority of humans will die and go to hell, all because of the sin nature God gave them. Other Calvinists, denying the aforementioned logical conclusions, put their dancing shoes on, and with salsa-like motions attempt to dance around the problems of sin and suffering.

Regardless of the arguments made for humankind’s sinfulness and the subsequent fallout, none of them adequately answers the problem of non-human animal pain and suffering. Animals do not have a will or a soul. Animals have no ability to make moral or ethical choices — at least not in the sense that humans do. Thus, animals, in a Biblical sense, are not sinful. Yet, animals face untold violence, suffering, and death. As anyone who has watched Animal Planet or the National Geographic channel knows, the animal world is violent. Darwin’s theories of adaptation and survival of the fittest are on glorious display as animal species fight to live.

If animals are not sinners and God created them, why did God create animals to be so violent? Why do animals suffer through no fault of their own? Why are billions of animals annually raised and slaughtered using violent, torturous methods by humans who supposedly bear the imprint of God? Why do these same image bearers, hunt down animals for sport, causing untold terror to the hunted? What, if anything, in the animal world says to rational humans that the Christian God of love, mercy, and kindness exists?

In recent weeks, a hawk has been frequenting our back yard. He has developed an appetite for the pigs of the feeder — starlings. Starlings tend to be bullies, forcing other bird species to feed elsewhere. These starlings think they have nothing to fear, so they drop their guard as they voraciously scarf down bird seed. The visiting hawk takes advantage of their carelessness, swooping in and grabbing a starling dinner. One day, I watched him nail two starlings in the space of half an hour.

Now, I am not a big fan of starlings (or grackles). They love to raid our feeders, at the expense of other birds we feed. That said, their death at the hand of this hawk is a reminder of how violent the animal world is. Since sin and free will are not issues, why then did God create animals to be so violent? Why is there so much suffering and death? Billions and billions of animals annually die horrific deaths, sometimes suffering for great lengths before dying. What in this arrangement says to us that the Christian is who and what his followers say he is? From my seat in the atheist pew, it seems to me that there is no God.

Some Evangelicals will agree that animal suffering is problematic; that the violence and death is regrettable and troubling. But, that doesn’t mean the Christian God is a myth. There are OTHER arguments for the existence of God, so no one should reject God without considering these other arguments. God will, in eternity, explain everything to us, but, for now, we must trust that God is working out all things according to his purpose and plan. The problem, of course, is that God’s indifference to animal suffering and death points to the fact that if the Christian deity exists, he is lacking moral character; that he is willing to do nothing while animals suffer; that he has the power to end their suffering, yet he turns a blind eye and says, make my steak rare.

smile god loves you

I can accept, from a theological perspective, that, thanks to sin, humans suffer and die. Their suffering is recompense for their disobedience. However, animals never sinned against God. They’ve done nothing to warrant suffering and death. Thus, a God who created animals knowing they would suffer and die is not a deity worthy of worship. This same God not only killed the entire human race — save eight — by drowning them, he also slaughtered all living things save the few animals gathered up by Noah (and birds capable of continuous flight for a month or longer and sea animals able to live in fresh water). What in the story of Noah says to us that the Christian God is kind, loving, and good? Nothing. God not only killed millions of men, women, and children, he also killed countless innocent unborn babies. He also killed who knows how many animals. Why? Because he could.

Some Christians will ignorantly argue that animals don’t feel pain, so it is impossible for them to, in the classic sense, suffer. Those of us who have spent time around animals, either as pet owners, farmers, or observers in the wild, know differently. Animals can and do feel pain, and they can and do suffer (so much so that we have them euthanized).

Peter Singer writes:

We can never directly experience the pain of another being, whether that being is human or not. When I see my daughter fall and scrape her knee, I know that she feels pain because of the way she behaves – she cries, she tells me her knee hurts, she rubs the sore spot, and so on. I know that I myself behave in a somewhat similar – if more inhibited – way when I feel pain, and so I accept that my daughter feels something like what I feel when I scrape my knee.

The basis of my belief that animals can feel pain is similar to the basis of my belief that my daughter can feel pain. Animals in pain behave in much the same way as humans do, and their behaviour is sufficient justification for the belief that they feel pain. It is true that, with the exception of those apes who have been taught to communicate by sign language, they cannot actually say that they are feeling pain_ but then when my daughter was a little younger she could not talk either. She found other ways to make her inner states apparent, however, so demonstrating that we can be sure that a being is feeling pain even if the being cannot use language.

To back up our inference from animal behaviour, we can point to the fact that the nervous systems of all vertebrates, and especially of birds and mammals, are fundamentally similar. Those parts of the human nervous system that are concerned with feeling pain are relatively old, in evolutionary terms. Unlike the cerebral cortex, which developed only after our ancestors diverged from other mammals, the basic nervous system evolved in more distant ancestors common to ourselves and the other ‘higher’ animals. This anatomical parallel makes it likely that the capacity of animals to feel is similar to our own.

….

Andrea Nolan writes:

The nature of pain is perhaps even more complex in animals. How pain is sensed and the physical processes behind this are remarkably similar and well conserved across mammals and humans. There are also many similarities in pain behaviours across the species, for example they may stop socialising with people and/or other animals, they may eat less, they may vocalise more and their heart rate may rise. The capacity of animals to suffer as sentient creatures is well established and enshrined in law in many countries, however we don’t understand well how they actually experience pain.

Some aspects of the experience and expression of pain are not likely to be the same as in humans. First, animals cannot verbally communicate their pain. Dogs may yelp and you may notice behaviour change but what about your pet rabbit, cat, tortoise or horse? Animals rely on human observers to recognise pain and to evaluate its severity and impact. Without the ability to understand soothing words that explain that following surgery to repair a bone fracture, their pain will be managed (hopefully) and will subside, animals may also suffer more when in pain than we do.

The debate around animals’ capacity to experience pain and suffer raged in the 20th century, but as we developed a greater understanding of pain, and studied its impact on the aspects of animal life that we could measure, we veterinary surgeons, along with many behavioural and animal scientists, recognised the significant impact of untreated pain, and we now believe this experience causes them to suffer.

….

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association established the Global Pain Council and released a document detailing the existence of animal pain and how it should be treated. The document’s introduction states:

The ability to experience pain is universally shared by all mammals, including companion animals, and as members of the veterinary healthcare team it is our moral and ethical duty to mitigate this suffering to the best of our ability. This begins by evaluating for pain at every patient contact. However, and despite advances in the recognition and treatment of pain, there remains a gap between its occurrence and its successful management; the inability to accurately diagnose pain and limitations in, and/or comfort with, the analgesic modalities available remain root causes. Both would benefit from the development, broad dissemination, and adoption of pain assessment and management guidelines.

….

The science is clear on the matter: animals do feel pain and suffer. Only those wanting to protect God’s character and moral virtue deny their existence. Thus, because innocent animals can and do suffer, feel pain, and die violent deaths, I am left to conclude that the Christian God is not loving, kind, or good. He is not, for this reason alone, a God worthy of our fealty, devotion, and worship. Animal suffering, then, is yet another reason I doubt the existence of said God. And since there’s no God that can intervene, it is up to humans to do all they can to lessen animal suffering and pain. How we treat the least of these says much about our character and values. Show me a man who mistreats animals and kills for sport, and I will show you a man who is lacking in character. The path to peace requires love and compassion for all living things, not just those who agree with us or who offer some benefit to us.

Let me conclude this post with several quotes from Gandhi:

Strictly speaking, no activity and no industry is possible without a certain amount of violence, no matter how little. Even the very process of living is impossible without a certain amount of violence. What we have to do is to minimize it to the greatest extent possible.

It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elementary compassion towards our fellow creatures.

There is little that separates humans from other sentient beings — we all feel joy, we all deeply crave to be alive and to live freely, and we all share this planet together.

A good read on the issue of suffering is Bart Ehrman’s book, 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.

Bruce Gerencser