Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Answering Comments from a Pluralist

My series on Chaz the Christ hating anarchist generated a comment from an anonymous religious pluralist. The person's objections were worthy of being answered with a main blog article because they are so common. The objections are in blue; my response follows:

I fail to understand the logic in Christianity.

That's OK. Most people like yourself who are harshly critical of Christianity have either never been exposed to biblical Christianity, or they only have cartoon like ideas about it that have been pieced together from woefully misinformed sources. It may surprise you to know that most Christians fail to understand the logic of Christianity as well, so don't feel too bad.

They claim that "Jesus" is the "only" son of God.

There is a reason for that claim: This is what the Bible teaches. Biblical Christianity begins with the Bible as the source for its claims of authority.

They claim that one must follow him in order to achieve salvation or else go to hell! How absurd!

Actually, this is not what Christianity teaches. Christianity begins with God's purposes to redeem out the whole of sinful humanity a people called by His name (See Ephesians 1). He initiated that plan of redemption which He accomplished by the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross to satisfy His wrath against those sinners He had elected to salvation. The Bible is explicitly clear that no person can "achieve salvation." We are justly condemned by God who is under no obligation to save anyone. He alone applies the merits of Christ's death and Resurrection to the sinner. Good works flow out of that divine act, but they are unable to save anyone.
Are you not familiar with the books of Romans and Ephesians?

If this Christian thinking is true, it makes God an extremely sadistic,unkind, and discriminating Being!

On the contrary, it makes God extremely gracious and merciful. God does not have to save anyone, but does redeem a people called by his name, the number of which is uncountable (Revelation 5:9). This is in spite of man's treasonous rebellion against him. Much of your misinformed thinking about Christianity is born out of a erroneous view of God's righteousness and justice and man's sin. I think if you get your head on straight about those two things, you will begin to see more clearly.

This follows from the fact that "Jesus" came to earth only 2000 years ago. What about all the souls that were present on earth before that? Did God create them just to watch them burn in eternal hell (since "Jesus" was not around to "save" those souls??? This makes no sense whatsoever!

Again, you are assuming all those souls before Christ were innocent and never did anything to violate God's law, so thus it is unfair for God to punish them. This is not true. The history of the world is one of murder and bloodshed and the worship of false gods, all things that violate God's law. See for example Romans 1 and 2. Salvation belongs to all those who put their faith in God's promises. Remember, Jesus is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. The redemption men experience now by putting faith upon what Christ has done was experienced by those people who put their faith in the promises of what Christ was going to do. In a manner of speaking, as Christians look back at what Christ has accomplished, those before Christ looked forward anticipating what Christ would do.

God revealed He was going to send a redeemer primarily through the prophetic messages of His prophets. Though the understanding of that redeemer was veiled in the sense it was not fully understood by God's people what was going to happen, they still put their faith in what God had told them about Christ.

We are all God's children. We are all EQUAL in the eyes of God. How then, could God who is perfection, kindness and love itself, be so cruel and discriminating?

What exactly then does it mean to be God's children? If you mean God's children in the sense that all humanity is created in the image of God, I would agree with you. If you mean God's children in the sense that all people deserve to go to heaven and should never be held accountable for violating God's law, then I disagree with you.

Would he create just a "chosen few" to enjoy all the benefits of heaven and condemn the rest to eternal hell? Even earthly parents wouldn't dream of such blatant discrimination amongst their own children! Let alone God!

That is exactly what he did. But you are of the mindset there is something unfair with God doing this and that those not chosen for heaven even care about their state. It seems like to me you think Christians teach salvation is like attempting to get into an elite, upscale night club on Sunset Street in LA. Everyone wants to go there, but unless your name is on the list at the door, no matter how bad you want to be inside, you can't go. It is invitation only. This a warped view of God's grace, man's salvation, and reality in general.

It also makes no sense that a person who has led a perfectly good and moral life on earth would be subjected to eternal torture in hell just for following a different path and not "surrendering" to Jesus Christ! THIS IS ILLOGICAL!

Well, God has stated in the 10 commandments - in fact it is the first commandment - that you will have no other gods before me. Additionally, the first four commandments specifically detail how God desires to be worshipped and served. He is the only God; there are no others in existence providing alternative ways to have salvation, so He is the one who has set the rules governing how men are to understand Him. If men willfully and rebelliously depart from what He has revealed, then God has every right, in fact, He has every duty, to punish those individuals according to their crimes against Him. To leave sinners unpunished makes God capricious and unjust. I would not wish to serve such a god if that were the case. When terrorists killed 300 plus children in Beslan a couple of years ago, would it have been illogical for the Russian government to leave those terrorist unpunished, just give them a warning not to do the same thing again and play nice? It would have not only been illogical, but a monstrous act of injustice.

The truth is that there are several paths to reach the Almighty (different strokes for different folks!). This should be recognized and respected by all people instead of offending God by misusing His name to impose their biased views on other people! God (including Jesus)is definitely NOT pleased with such disrespectful behaviour. They will have to face the consequences of their actions sooner or later! (This similar absurdity also pervades Islam which claims that only their way is true and everyone else will burn in eternal hell!)

If we are to speak of illogic, this is certainly an illogical claim. Basically, you are saying that God is schizophrenic - that He suffers from multiple personalities. He is one God, but He has told different people in different cultures different ways to be in fellowship with him. All of the Hindu variations on their gods, Islam with its 5 pillars, Shintoism with its ancestor worship, the Druids with their paganism. You believe the logical understanding of all this diversity is that these are different strokes for different folks who are all really following the same God in their own way? I would imagine you would say that as long as they are sincere, then God will honor their efforts? So the Molech worshipper in the ancient Near East who was required to burn alive their first born son in an sanctified oven as long as he was sincere, God would honor such an "act of worship?" Different strokes for different folks I guess? And you think this is logical?


Blogger Peter D. Nelson said...

Nicely said Fred, I love your answers in response to his "logic".

9:12 PM, July 25, 2006  
Blogger the Pilgrim said...

Good job. I have often encountered this type of man made reasoning.

12:11 AM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Gerard Charmley said...

I've often heard the words 'I fail to understand', afterwards followed by a critique. Perhaps if this sort of wallah asked for an explanation of the logic of Christianity first, it might help. Admitting that one does not understand a thing hardly qualifies one to debate it. Doing a litle research might help.

Equally, in making his case for pluralism, this gent is guilty of the same sort of arrogance of which he accuses Christians, but without excuse. Once one makes an absolute truth claim, one is vulnerable to the claim of arrogance. In claiming to know better than the Bible, the Koran, etc, the pluralist is in effect saying that he's had a revelation of the truth that supersedes the Bible.

I fail to see how this is any less 'arrogant' than my Christianity, save for the fact that I have God's revelation, while the pluralist has only his opinion.

4:08 AM, July 27, 2006  

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