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Feedback archiveFeedback 2007

Mangling misotheism

After wikipedia.org

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by and Jonathan Sarfati

This week’s feedback is an example of the uninformed misotheistic elephant hurling that we normally don’t publish because it breaks our feedback rules. But we wanted to show the sort of thinking out in cyberspace, and also show that there are good answers to objections to Christianity. The response shows that Christianity has provided the foundation for science, alleviation of poverty and rejection of superstition.

I’ve had a look around your website. I have found it interesting, and worrying.

I’m afraid I can say the same about your comments.

Worrying because you people clearly genuinely believe that the bible is literally true in its entirety, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I wonder if you have taken a serious look at our site at all, because if you had you should be aware that we have stated repeatedly that this is not our position (See Should Genesis be taken literally?). While we say the Bible is entirely true in all that it affirms, that does not mean that every phrase in the Bible must be taken ‘literally’. Rather, we seek to understand the different parts of the Bible as the author intended. That means we take history as history, poetry as poetry, prophecy as prophecy etc. For instance, Psalm 16:5 says “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup.” Are you seriously suggesting that we take this statement ‘literally’ and turn the God of Israel into a drinking utensil? (Can you even name anyone who does?) Hardly. The Psalms were written in the genre of poetry, so this verse uses the metaphor of a cup to describe the psalmist’s relationship with the Lord.

We seek to understand the different parts of the Bible as the author intended. That means we take history as history, poetry as poetry, prophecy as prophecy etc.

The grammar and style of Genesis indicate that it was written as historical narrative intended to convey a record of events that actually occurred, e.g. as we explain to a philosophy/religion professor on biblical exegesis (See also our Genesis Questions and Answers section). Regardless of whether we believe that record, it is still historical narrative (cf. scholars such as James Barr and Marcus Dods). Therefore, where the Bible, such as in Genesis, was intended to be taken as accurate, literal history then we do indeed take it as such. However, to take e.g. Revelation in exactly the same way would be wrong because it’s not historical narrative, but apocalyptic genre, which uses a lot of symbolism.

The bible is a work of fiction, written by men, or women. It is not the word of god, because (in my opinion) there is no god.

The first statement here is a bald assertion with no supporting evidence; the second illustrates an important difference in axioms: you begin with your own opinion; we begin with an infallible, objective standard in the Scriptures, axioms which make rational sense. Your opinion here actually amounts to another bald assertion too because to be substantiated, an assertion needs to be backed up with evidence (such as an attempt to demonstrate the truth of atheism, which is definitely an active disbelief), not opinion. Before you try that though, I advise you take a look at our Bible Questions and Answers section.

I think it is really unhelpful to promulgate stuff like this (although I acknowledge your right to do so) as it takes us back to the time when people thought the earth was flat.

And while poverty, war and disease are great social problems, they are only symptoms of the Curse caused by Adam’s sin.

Firstly, this is merely an ad hominem attack that proves nothing. Secondly, hardly anyone in Western history believed that the earth was flat. Neither the Bible nor the church has ever taught that the earth was flat, and it was common knowledge in ancient and medieval times that the earth was spherical. Moreover, for a time that held such high regard for the writings of Plato and Aristotle, who believed in a spherical earth, it’s ludicrous to even suggest that medieval people would have believed in a flat earth. I invite you to have a look at our section on Does the Bible really teach a flat earth? However, I am glad you acknowledge our right to promulgate our beliefs. Most atheists advocate active suppression of the biblical worldview (see Contemporary suppression of the theistic worldview).

People need genuine education to lift them out of poverty and to prevent war/diease, etc. Not fairy tales ubnsupported by genuine evidence.

We do not dispute the importance of education; that is a great deal of what our website is about. Indeed, we often point out that Christianity has provided the foundation for modern science, and the basis for political and economic freedom which comprise the only real cure for poverty, as objective morality and the rule of law which is essential for the previous advances. We have also showed that superstition thrives where biblical Christianity is weakest (see Antidote to superstition: Nonsense thrives wherever the Bible is weakened and Superstition vs Christianity).

However, as you pointed out, one must question such education that teaches ‘fairy tales unsupported by genuine evidence.’ Some prime examples are an education that promulgates the lie that Christians believed in a flat earth en masse and Haeckel’s forged embryos. Such myths engender irrational scorn at Christians and ancient people, which does not make for a better world.

Moreover, education, while important, is not all that is needed. One needs a fundamental belief that motivates people to do what is good. Atheism cannot provide such a belief because it has no philosophical grounding for even defining what good and evil are (as the misotheist Richard Dawkins admitted), let alone a motivation to carry out what is good. However, the Scriptures provide such a foundation through an all-powerful Creator who sets the rules.

And while poverty, war and disease are great social problems, they are only symptoms of the Curse caused by Adam’s sin. The Bible makes it clear that there is something they need more than even the alleviation of these problems; they need the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Biblical Christianity has done more to change this world for the good than any other worldview precisely because it cares for the oppressed, sick and poor, as well as the other advances that enable the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. See also Christianity’s Real Record and the book Christianity on Trial by Carroll and Shiflett (see also review).1 Christians do this because of the self-sacrificing love of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, while we were His enemies, died for us to reconcile us with God (Romans 5:10).

It’s no wonder that, despite all the liberal bluff and bluster, conservative Christians still give far more support to charities than other people, as noted by a recent book, Who Really Cares, by Prof. Arthur Brooks. Strangely enough, Brooks himself had been raised in a socially liberal environment and was so surprised by the outcome that he had to recheck his data before he would accept it. But the data showed;

‘Religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly nonreligious charities. Religious people give more blood; religious people give more to homeless people on the street.’

One reviewer summarized:

‘The further to the left you are — particularly to the secular left ’ the less likely you are to donate your time or money to charity. Imagine two demographically identical people, except that Joe goes to church regularly and rejects the idea that the government should redistribute wealth to lessen inequality, while Sam never goes to church and favors state-driven income redistribution. Brooks says the data indicate that not only is Joe Churchgoer nearly twice as likely as Sam Secularist to give money to charities in a given year, he will also give 100 times more money per year to charities (and 50 times more to non-religious ones).’

Thus as we pointed out long ago in ‘You should be feeding the hungry’ , the rise of the Christian faith, aided by our defending its biblical foundations, does more to alleviate poverty (see also Reader questions motive of response to tsunami disaster).

I note from your submission rules that you will not publish unsubstantiated allegations: I expect most of my comments will fall in to that catagory from your perspective.

It has nothing to do with our supposed perspective, but by the plain meaning of the phrase ‘unsubstantiated allegations’, since you have failed to substantiate your many allegations! You assert that the Bible is not the Word of God without offering any proof (such as demonstrating a formal contradiction in Scripture). You assert (according to your opinion) that there is no god without offering a reason why theism doesn’t work. You assert that the Bible is a fairy tale unsupported by evidence without even outlining what sort of evidence is required, let alone saying why the Bible doesn’t support the evidence. Therefore, by the evidence within your letter, not merely ‘from our perspective’, you do not provide any substantiated comments.

I’m afraid I regard your assertions about the literal truth of the bible, etc in the same light.

Since we make no such assertion, your claim about the ‘literal’ truth of the Bible is a ‘strawman’ argument.

You may wonder why I have bothered with this submission. The answer is that I find your assertions so bizarre that I cannot help but register my feelings about them.

You may wonder why we bothered to respond. The answer is sometimes it can be helpful to other readers to expose vacuous atheistic dogma and intellectual snobbery for what they are: nonsense.

Gregory E UK
Shaun Doyle and Jonathan Sarfati CMI–Australia
PS why don’t you list those acdemics with a doctorate, etc who don’t believe in a deity, let alone your god?

We list scientists who believe in the God of the Bible because people are told that only ignorant people believe in creation, and all educated scientists, particularly the ones who are clever enough to have made major advances, believe in evolution. Our list is there to show that this accusation is a lie. See also The fallacy of arguing from authority .

Related Articles

References

  1. For more examples of the good that has come about because of Christianity, See Kennedy, D.J. and Newcombe, J., What if Jesus had Never Been Born? Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN,1994. Return to text
Published: 27 January 2007 (GMT+10)

Ken E. wrote: “I just wanted to drop a note to express my gratitude for the kind of information you supply at the CMI web-site. I love science and find it thrilling to see how it may be used to glorify God and build faith in Him.” Glorify God in His creation. Support this site

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