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

Monday, June 11, 2007

Thank You Mr. Atheist for Your Loving Concern

From the email in-box,

To: fred@fredsbibletalk.com
From: *****
Subject: RE: [QUAR][Barracuda] Bible inerrant


I accidently ran into your internet site and read your article about an inerrant Bible.I won't go into the area of screwed up translations.I will copy and paste some of your statements and comment on them. Paste from your site: Anything He does will be untainted with error, and because He has breathed out scripture, the scripture is then tied to His purity and holiness and can correctly said to be inerrant.

From me>>To believe your bible in any translation(or original manuscripts) is inerrant & god breathed, here is what you must believe.
#1.A snake can talk(remember the snake was cursed to crawl on it's belly & eat dust.
#2.A donkey can talk.
#3.That man was so stupid back then that he actually thought he could build a tower to heaven.
#4.You have to believe against any logical thinking that all those animals,incl,snakes & all different kinds of insects and enough food to feed all of them(different kinds of food)for almost one year would fit on an ark that size,which is impossible.
#5.You have to believe there was food for them to eat when they came off the ark even though the whole earth was supposedly covered in water.
#6.You have to believe in a flat earth because these supposedly inspired by god people said so back then.
#7.You have to believe the earth is 6 to 10,000 years old despite overwhelming proof it is much,much older,even if not 4.5 billion years old.
#8.You have to believe all those heavenly bodies out there that they are still finding were created in one literal day(morning & evening)that is despite the fact that even now they are finding suns,stars just now beginning to form.
#9.You have to believe god made the sun stand still when it already stands still or believe god stopped the rotation of the earth which anyone should know would be a disaster in many ways for earth.
#10.You have to believe Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt which is unbelievable.
#11.You have to believe Lot had intercourse with 2 of his daughters on 2 different nights and knew it not.
#12.You have to believe Jesus was concieved without human intercourse this despite the fact that at least 20 other dying & resurrecting savior sun gods had this claimed of them long,long before the supposed time of Jesus,you claim them a myth but the same tale about Jesus true.

I could go on about the impossibilities you claim to be inerrant in your bible.The names of authors of the whole Bible is unknown the names claimed to be the writters was guessed at by Hebrews(O.T.) and Christians(N.T.)no one ZERO knows who wrote one word in the bible.Only a brainwashed,mind controlled christian could ever believe the Bible inerrant,it's to obvious that it is not for any thinking person.

Greetings ____,

I want you to know how much I appreciated your email. I was touched by the fact you took the time to express to me your concerns in writing. I am a rather obscure and unknown internet presence with a small time website and a blog that maybe gets 150 visits a day, half of which are people looking for joint pain medication. I am no where in the league of a John Frame, or Steve Hays, or Paul Manata, or the guys at Answers in Genesis, or even that psuedonymous J.P Holding. In the grand scheme of things, I am a guppy in a big, big pond of much larger, more significant fish.

Yet you thought enough of me, some one who is a total stranger to you, to become a mentor of sorts and help straighten me out. Most atheists are not even as considerate as you, but instead lace their correspondence with rude, insulting remarks and scurrilous comments. You far exceed the hacks from the Rational Response Squad. That is what I particularly like about your email. It contained none of the snarky arrogance common place among atheists. You even took the time to list some examples where you believe I have intellectually derailed.

First off, I must confess my overall dismay. Your email really shook me up. I mean, in the entire 2,000 years of church history since apologists have been answering critics with their polemics, I don't believe I have read any biblio-skeptic offer the examples you provide here. You must be praised for originality and freshness with your criticisms. And certainly I haven't read a Christian book attempting to answer them.

Take some of the Bible verses you pointed out. You mean to tell me what I learned in 3rd grade Sunday school class,via a felt board, that the Tower of Babel was just a large temple and the expression "whose top reached to the heavens" a way of saying it was used for unifying humanity around a false religion, is truly mistaken? You mean to tell me it was a mythical story describing a structure designed to take men into heaven itself? Like a giant space elevator or something? Yes, I guess I can see how that is a bit silly.

Oh, and to think I just presupposed the fact that since God is God, then miraculous, one time events like a talking snake, or a talking donkey, or Lot's wife turning into a pillar of salt (assuming the expression is not a way of saying she died in the judgment of sulfur and brimstone) could be expected to happen. Gosh, I had no idea I was suppose to look at all reality only through material naturalistic uniformitarianism as a philosophical filter. Thank you for clarifying that for me.

Then, I also am gladdened your email was devoid of any phony, educated condescending huff and puff. Many atheists I have encountered in the past carry on with their criticisms about the reliability of the biblical text as if they have genuinely studied textual criticism, but in reality, they are ignorantly repeating 3rd, maybe 4th hand sources as they type away in their mother's basement.

But you are different. You seem to draw from a deep well of information and personal experience when you point out any belief in the inerrancy of scripture has zero evidence and no thinking person would adhere to such a belief. Golly, I have only been studying the Bible for nearly 20 years, a good half of that time at a seminary. I learned just two years of Greek and a year and a half of Hebrew. You must have really studied those languages a lot. How long have you been a student of textual critical principles?

I'm guessing now, since reading your email, that I have wasted my time heavily immersing myself in the critical studies of many of the brilliant textual scholars the world has known. Men like Constantine Von Tischendorf, Johann Bengel, Robert Dick Wilson, E.J. Young, D.A. Carson and Daniel Wallace, a man who actually handles and documents the original texts often under consideration when we speak of inerrancy. These guys all claim the historical documents are overwhelmingly trustworthy and reliable and provide for us an almost 100 percent accuracy when it comes to the veracity of the biblical text.

I reckon the same goes for biblical creationism. You really left me scratching my head, because I don't believe I have read any one who has ever addressed the star light problems you raised in your email.

At any rate, I apparently now have to return to evaluating what I have learned thanks to your thoughtful exposure of these non-thinking and brainwashed dolts.

So thank you for your loving concern. I am in your service, for you have saved me much embarrassment.


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Blogger Scott H said...

That was extraordinarily outstanding!


1:52 PM, June 11, 2007  
Blogger Sam said...

I feel compelled to question: Was such sarcasm necessary? Was that the most gracious response, the best testimony to Christ?

3:25 PM, June 11, 2007  
Blogger Ransom said...

Sam: Proverbs does say to answer a fool according to his folly. Sometimes, in other words, godly wisdom dictates that a sarcastic response is exactly what is needed. I would say that answering a retread of crusty old atheist objections to the Bible is one of those times.

7:40 PM, June 11, 2007  
Blogger P.D. Nelson said...

Bravo Fred, bravo!

7:46 PM, June 11, 2007  
Blogger google said...

If you have to display such ungraciousness and pride please don't do it publically where everyone can see. This posting makes me feel sick.

2:04 AM, June 12, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Sam (and google),

I believe you raise a valid point: Sarcasm can be unbecoming of a Christian. I would never be sarcastic to a sincere person who had a question about the faith because he didn't know any better.

But as Ransom mentioned, there is a specific context for some sarcasm at times and it can be quite effective in shutting the mouths of skeptics. Elijah's response to the prophets of Baal is a good example, as is our Lord's response to the religious leaders through out his ministry.

Just a few thoughts:

First off, I never provided the name of the person who sent me this email. He is anonymous and will remain so unless the person chooses to respond by posting here.

Second, There is an appropriate time for such response. Here is an individual who is raising objections that are hundreds of years old. The person carries on as if no one has ever answered these objections before (in great length, mind you). This is foolish. Geesh, do you know how many times I have heard "The resurrection is seen in many pagan religion" nonsense? Even the experts who genuinely study the so-called pagan religion the atheists claim is just like Jesus' resurrection deny the claim. Yet the atheist doesn't relinquish the claim after he or she has been soundly proven wrong.

What you have here is an individual who has chosen not to believe and closed his eyes to the truth. Additionally, he then goes about poisoning the minds of others, mostly folks who are vulnerable to his persuasions. This is a wolf that needs to be exposed and mocked for truth sake.


5:28 AM, June 12, 2007  
Blogger Jeff said...

Fred, you did well. Most of these atheists have no interest in hearing answers to their questions, as they have posted on blog after blog, posing the same questions, receiving some of the same answers. I had one stop by here, he hasn't returned yet.

6:09 AM, June 12, 2007  
Blogger John R. said...


Summary of your emailer's arguments:

"I don't believe the Bible because its unbelievable."

and apparantly...

"I've watched The God Who Isn't There."

So. Whadayathinkabout that!?

Good response to another "yawner."

7:29 AM, June 12, 2007  
Blogger google said...

Oh dear ... I've never commented on a blog before and now I'm being drawn into a dialogue.

I'm Steve in the UK by the way (sorry I'm not sure why I'm coming up as google)

I read this last night and couldn't let it pass because it left such a bad taste in my mouth.

Knowing Jesus brings inexpressible joy. I've been educated way beyond my intelligence, encountering all sorts of objections to the Christian faith along the way, but all of the doubts they raise get swept away when Jesus is real and immediate through the mediation of the Holy Spirit. When that happens everything seems to become insignificant in comparison with the wonder of knowing that Jesus would love me and redeem me and want to spend eternity with me.

This individual knows nothing of that. As you say, his eyes are closed to the truth.

But truth sets people free. It doesn't bang them over the head. You say that some people need to be exposed and mocked for truth's sake. Was your response made entirely out of grace, compassion and concern for fellow brothers and sisters, and not at all because it made you feel good? Do you think your correspondent is now closer to Jesus or further away as a result of this correspondence? Do you think he sees Christians as more of this world or more of a different world?

And who is the truth for whose sake you expose and mock? I accept this is only a turn of phrase, but do remember that truth is a gift of God, not a person. You are either exposing and mocking for Jesus’ sake, or for your own, but not for the personification of an abstract property.

Of course mockery is not without Biblical precedent. But then you wouldn't follow through on Elijah’s precedent by tracking down your correspondent, taking him to the Valley of Kishon and having him slaughtered there. You are right to mock those who God mocks, and to hate those God hates, but how can you be so sure who they are? You aren’t a prophet like Elijah and you aren’t God like Jesus. Maybe one who walks perfectly in step with the Spirit and is completely in tune with the will of God could have information about the heart of a specific man, past present and future. For those of us for whom this is not the case, it is surely safer to err on the side of grace and friendship than the side of judgment and mockery. That seems to me to be more in line with Jesus’ teaching.

Lastly, I have never met anyone who has done anything but grow more abrasive when they are demeaned by their perceived opponents. I just cannot believe that mockery is, as you say, "effective in shutting the mouths of skeptics".

Sorry if I’ve overstepped the mark here ... the tone of this post just seems really at odds with the attitude of our Lord, who - as John says - came full of grace as well as truth. All I can read above is a lot of truth and not a lot of grace.

10:54 AM, June 12, 2007  
Blogger Hiraeth said...

I agree that ridicule is not the best way to respond in an apologetic encounter. However, when a person is puffed up, the judicious application of a pin can work wonders. Just as our Lord applied a pin to the Rich Young Ruler. An arrogant man will always grow more abrasive, whether addressed graciously or not.

And when a person emails a long screed based of 4th hand arguments to be found on any atheist site as if they have thought of them on their own, perhaps a little sarcasm is warranted.

I used to be a schoolteacher. If I had read such a lazy essay as this piece, I would just have failed the student in question and told them to re-write it after doing some reading.

There is a world of difference between an enquirer or honest sceptic and an aggressive attack dog. If you like, the difference between the Pharisees and the publicans.

Lastly, I note that I work with enough people who have no idea what they've done the night before after partaking overmuch of the falling-down water.

9:45 AM, June 15, 2007  

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