Anthony McIntyre ✒ At first glance the title of the Christian podcast might lead the listener to believe that the brace of believers behind Recovering Evangelicals are in fact on the road to recovery from Christian evangelicalism.

At heart, it is something very different.

In the evangelical world, born again Christianity does not always sufficiently distance itself from its burn again variant, as manifested in the persona of the late George Seawright, a northern unionist politician, who once advocated that Catholics be incinerated along with their priests. Beliefs that lurk there, even when they do not amount to Hate Theology, are frequently irrational and obscurantist.

It is this type of fundamentalism that Luke Jeffrey Janssen and Boyd Blundell seek to recover evangelicals from while keeping them within the faith. It is billed as:

A podcast for people who were once very comfortable in their Christian faith . . . until the 21st century intruded and made it very hard to keep on believing.

To that end they explore a wide range of themes. And while coming down firmly on the side of faith, the acumen they bring to their endeavour is something humanists and atheists have lots to learn from.

The series has been running since January 2020 and launched with what was titled its Inaugural Episode, where the stall was set out. By mid-March of 2022 it had completed 74 episodes.

One of the early subjects tackled is Yong Earth Creationism, the bizarre notion that the earth is only 6000 years old. The demolition of YEC is masterful. One of their main points of critique is that Creationists who love to cite the bible as authority in fact don’t read the bible deeply, echoing the sentiment of the Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Kung who observed that he takes the bible seriously but not literally.

Recovering Evangelicals is a project of intellectual enlightenment. Intelligent Design, the soul, evolutionary biology are all discussed. The listener does not have to agree with the conclusions, always tentatively proposed rather than dogmatically imposed, to come away feeling that this was a journey on the Road To Erudition.

⏩ Follow on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre.

Recovering Evangelicals

Anthony McIntyre ✒ At first glance the title of the Christian podcast might lead the listener to believe that the brace of believers behind Recovering Evangelicals are in fact on the road to recovery from Christian evangelicalism.

At heart, it is something very different.

In the evangelical world, born again Christianity does not always sufficiently distance itself from its burn again variant, as manifested in the persona of the late George Seawright, a northern unionist politician, who once advocated that Catholics be incinerated along with their priests. Beliefs that lurk there, even when they do not amount to Hate Theology, are frequently irrational and obscurantist.

It is this type of fundamentalism that Luke Jeffrey Janssen and Boyd Blundell seek to recover evangelicals from while keeping them within the faith. It is billed as:

A podcast for people who were once very comfortable in their Christian faith . . . until the 21st century intruded and made it very hard to keep on believing.

To that end they explore a wide range of themes. And while coming down firmly on the side of faith, the acumen they bring to their endeavour is something humanists and atheists have lots to learn from.

The series has been running since January 2020 and launched with what was titled its Inaugural Episode, where the stall was set out. By mid-March of 2022 it had completed 74 episodes.

One of the early subjects tackled is Yong Earth Creationism, the bizarre notion that the earth is only 6000 years old. The demolition of YEC is masterful. One of their main points of critique is that Creationists who love to cite the bible as authority in fact don’t read the bible deeply, echoing the sentiment of the Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Kung who observed that he takes the bible seriously but not literally.

Recovering Evangelicals is a project of intellectual enlightenment. Intelligent Design, the soul, evolutionary biology are all discussed. The listener does not have to agree with the conclusions, always tentatively proposed rather than dogmatically imposed, to come away feeling that this was a journey on the Road To Erudition.

⏩ Follow on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre.

30 comments:

  1. I have checked his site and can confirm he is NOT an Evangelical. He is not seeking to strip off layers of religious and cultural accretions to the authentic teachings of the Christian faith. Rather, he is stripping off any authentic teachings he can no longer accept.

    He is an agnostic who is reluctant to accept the logic of his unbelief.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that is only sustained by a totalitarian type outlook which fails to allow for nuance and pluralism in belief. The two guys claim to be evangelicals, know their stuff, and evangelicise for their Christian faith while avoiding Hate Theology. Their destruction of YEC is masterful. They are hardly going to find me in concurrence on their conclusions or general outlook, but on their own terms they make a lot of sense rather than defending the indefensible. I think where they fall down is in trying to make that monster from the bible into something loving! But, by this point Ian, there is nothing new to you in my views. Glad you at least went to their podcast.

      Delete
  2. If you examine his statement of beliefs, you will see it is impossible to regard him as a Christian in any meaningful sense. Words do have meaning, even allowing for nuance and pluralism. You have as valid a claim to being a Marxist as he has to being a Christian.

    Here's his statement of belief, as opposed to the historic view on crucial matters:
    ***
    What do I believe
    In these blogs and podcast episodes, I question many of the beliefs I once had, particularly how literally to take the Bible. There are still several loose threads which have the potential to further change my theology. I’m still struggling through those, and it may take a while before I’m done with them.

    For now, in the interest of full disclosure, here’s what I’ve still hung on to:

    I still believe in a Creator God. This is just as much a choice as it is a conviction. I can choose to believe that the universe and all life are a freak cosmic accident with no meaning or purpose. Or I can choose to believe that there is some kind of Creative Force that brought us to the present, and that there was a purpose behind that. We can’t know for sure. Either way, it’s a choice. And so I’ve chosen. And the choice I made really helps diffuse a lot of questions.

    I struggle to call “him” a personal God … “he” is far too big to be put into that kind of a box. For the same reason, I struggle to claim that we have a “personal relationship”. Check out my podcast episode #42 if you want to understand better why I say this. (That having been said, I’ll stop using the quotation marks to refer to him; there’s no point in belaboring this.]

    He is ultimately responsible for the origin of everything in our universe, and possibly many other parallel universes, and does have a twinkle in his eye when it comes to mankind: “made in his own image”. That having been said, though, we humans are not the central point of his attention in a vast universe that stretches out for billions of light years in all directions, .

    He wants us to enjoy each other and his creation, and in that way have a relationship with him. You need to be quiet and still if you want to hear what he’s saying.

    He will point each of us toward creating and enjoying heaven on earth, but will also allow our choice to create our personal hell on earth (which, by the way, impacts those around us in many different ways). If there is an afterlife (I no longer know that there is), I don’t believe he’s in any hurry to be throwing people into hell. I’m OK with there not being any heaven: I’m content just to have decided to play on the team that chooses meaning, purpose, good, life, joy. I really don’t think I’d be happy playing on the other team.
    ***

    That is, at best, Deism. Really, much better being denoted as a hopeful Agnosticism. He abuses the concept of Literalism to present his position as equivalent to many true Christians who deny YEC. He is denying the very essence of Christian doctrine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I regard him as a Christian in every sense of the word. He is a knowledgeable man who forensically thinks about and applies his religious conviction rather than regurgitate verses from the bible. His intellect which he believes is a gift from god prevents him from behaving like an unthinking dullard. He examines the scientific evidence and then tries to weave it into his Christian faith rather than sticking his fingers in his ears because it clashes with some verse from the bible.
      I don't claim to be a Marxist but Marxism is made up of Marxisms just as Christianity is made up of Christianities. So, if I wanted to claim to be a Marxist who does not buy into a lot of Marxist rubbish and dogma, I guess there is noting stopping me. Only the sects think they have the authentic take on their chosen messiah, Marx or Christ.

      He has difficulty accepting the bible as a factual account. Obviously - any intelligent person will have problems with the bible as something other than fishermen's fokelore.

      He believes in a Creator god - nothing wrong with that from a Christian perspective. The world was either created by a creator or it was not.

      He does not believe in a personal god - that too is fine. Given that there is much evidence for one one as there is for a unicorn. Logic, which he has plenty of, suggests all too readily that personal gods are tosh.

      He believes in a loving god and not the fiend of Hate Theology. He addresses gay people as friend not sinner - a very Christian act in my view if we are to view Christianity as love rather than hate. Yet as they say, no hate like Christian love.

      He does not believe that god is laser focused on humans who have only been around for a few hundred thousand years in a universe that has been there for about almost 14 billion years. Again, we find the application of logic and rigour to religious tenets.

      He does not believe his god is in a hurry to throw people into hell. Given that heaven and hell are recent enough concepts, he reads Christ in a different manner from Hate Theology.

      And he is smart enough to know that all the myths of Christianity long predated Christ - from virgin births to resurrection from the dead. So he is gonna ask what the science says about such things and as such applies his Christianity in a way that you can never grasp.

      He is a Christian who carries a science book not a sandwich board.

      Delete
  3. So who do you think has the right to define Marxism? The writings of Marx, or some Marxist who no longer believes in the class struggle, the State ownership of the means of production, etc?

    We might call him a real Marxist who has rejected the bits of Marxism that he doesn't like - but we would be better facing reality. Words have defined meanings or they become meaningless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nobody has the exclusive right to define Marxism. Isn't this the problem when people think they have that right? That is a cult mentality. There is a multiplicity of meaning to be drawn from any text and that should allow for the avoidance of dogma which in turn necessitates a multiplicity of interpretations. The writings of Marx have to be interpreted, discussed, critiqued. Otherwise, we get the cults claiming they have decided what the inerrant word is.
      Marx did write his own work, while Engels completed the task once he had died. Christ didn't write anything - the gospels were written by people many years after his death by people who never met him. That would allow even more
      room for competing interpretations to emerge. There are lots of Marxists just as there are lots of Christians - and they all subscribe to different schools of thought within their respective traditions.
      It is not as simple as words having defined meanings. People tease out a range of possible meanings from the words - often there is a cultural and spatial context that needs explained. More often than not meaning is positional rather than fixed.
      That sounds so funny coming from you - face reality!! And then try to sell as reality the idea of a six thousand year old earth and talking donkeys. You are having a laugh!!!

      Delete
  4. You have a very postmodern concept of truth.

    No, words have a range of meaning, depending on context - but the range is limited. Black is not white. Marxism does not include the Free Market in its range.
    The God of the Bible is a person, not an idea or force.

    No honest understanding of Marxism or Christianity, as defined by their foundation writings, can say otherwise.

    Yes, there are people who use the name, but are dishonest in doing so.

    No, I'm not having a laugh. A recent creation and a talking donkey are supernatural items, perfectly consistent with a world that has both natural and supernatural effects. More to the point, any 'Christian' who denies the supernatural is abusing the term 'Christian'. That ought to be obvious to any honest reader of the Bible, believer or not.

    Christ did not write any Bible passage - but He taught those who did. Matthew and John were part of His immediate disciples, the apostles; Mark and Luke were taught by this apostolic band; and Paul was directly taught by the Christ from His throne in heaven. You can believe that Biblical record or you can reject it. But to remain honest you cannot reject chunks of it as mistaken and still claim to be a follower of the Christ it proclaims.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1/1 Perhaps your understanding of postmodernism is tenuous rather than my having a postmodernist version of the truth. What you say is not much different from Derrida, often looked on as a postmodernist: there is always a range of meaning but the range is not infinite - and there is certainly not only one meaning.

      Black is not white but when we examine the continuum from black to white we can see that there is a long way to go along it before crossing over to the black side. There is always that grey area which is so anathema to the fundamentalist / totalitarian mind.

      Marxism can allow for a market but will impose limitations on its freedom. Just as Christians will not worship the devil.
      But that still allows for a wide range of flexibility. Marxism is a wooden and formulaic if it fails to take account of what is happening today and is set in stone two centuries ago. Same with Christianity.

      Is it not more dishonest to inflict on people the demonstrably false assertion that the earth is 6000 years old? This flies in the face of all scientific consensus across the board from theistic to atheist.

      Talking donkeys - if you are not having a laugh you must know that people laugh at such a claim with very good reason. But I still think you are having a laugh. As believable as the flying spaghetti monster - but feel free to believe whatever you want.

      Christians can deny the supernatural - very few - and follow the Christ of the poor as described in fishermen folklore and not the the one promoted by Hate Theology. I have a tattoo of Christ on my arm - it is the begging Jesus. A straightforward and simple statement of what belief in Jesus for them should be - in a Jesus of the poor and oppressed and not in the fiendish Jesus that labels gay people sinners and wants women to burn in hell forever because they believe in reproductive rights. My tattoo of course is a statement against religion rather than a belief in any supernatural Jesus.

      Karl Rahner referred to Anonymous Christians (which included atheists with no belief in Christ) while Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke of religionless Christianity. Both theologians found ways to weave Christ into something not supernatural. They were not dishonest. They were thinkers rather than sandwich board men who used their brains to tackle the challenges to religious thought.

      Delete
    2. 1/2

      I don't buy that Christ taught those who wrote the gospels I have read and listened to too many biblical scholars who rubbish that notion. None of the Gospel writers put their names to the gospels - they were bylines added a century or so later. Jesus spoke Aramic, the gospels were written in Greek many years after the death of Christ. Paul being told by God is like King Arthur being told by Merlin. Claims of that nature have no place in serious discussion.
      Seems to be well established now that nobody who met Jesus wrote the Gospels - they were written long after he died. And they were the result of oral tradition - how reliable is that? It takes no great stretch of the mind to think of what was lost in the translations. And then of course the gospels that did not make it through but were suppressed.
      In my view the best Christians are those who promote diversity, no harm, tolerance, equality - the worst are those who preach hate theology.

      Those people who believe the bible was written by men subject to the errancy of men, but who yet feel the bible is divinely inspired, have every claim to be authentic Christians. They are deep thinking people who have absolutely no reason to listen to the sandwich board men or be bound by their cretinous proclamations on the bible.

      The inauthenticity belongs to the cults who insist on spreading nonsense about a six thousand year old earth which corresponds with nothing that we know through reason and science about our world. That is where the real dishonesty is to be found.

      The god you worship is an infant slaughtering genocidal maniac. The god many of your fellow Christians worship is one of love, not hate, and is as far removed from the biblical tyrant as the current earth is from the big bang - and that was almost 14 billion years ago.

      Delete
  5. AM said:
    'Is it not more dishonest to inflict on people the demonstrably false assertion that the earth is 6000 years old? This flies in the face of all scientific consensus across the board from theistic to atheist.'

    The scientific consensus can be wrong, which is a scientific principle, and there is scientific arguments to support a recent creation. So I do not regard it in anyway dishonest to adhere to this historic Cyristian interpretation of Ge esus. But denying it is not a heresy that removes one from the faith. They are just being very inconsistent in their interpretation.

    'Talking donkeys - if you are not having a laugh you must know that people laugh at such a claim with very good reason. But I still think you are having a laugh. As believable as the flying spaghetti monster - but feel free to believe whatever you want.'

    The only people who laugh at the idea are those who insist there can be no supernatural event. All theists believe in the supernatural, so should be open to God enabling a donkey to speak.

    Christians can deny the supernatural - very few - and follow the Christ of the poor as described in fishermen folklore and not the the one promoted by Hate Theology. I have a tattoo of Christ on my arm - it is the begging Jesus. A straightforward and simple statement of what belief in Jesus for them should be - in a Jesus of the poor and oppressed and not in the fiendish Jesus that labels gay people sinners and wants women to burn in hell forever because they believe in reproductive rights. My tattoo of course is a statement against religion rather than a belief in any supernatural Jesus.

    Karl Rahner referred to Anonymous Christians (which included atheists with no belief in Christ) while Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke of religionless Christianity. Both theologians found ways to weave Christ into something not supernatural. They were not dishonest. They were thinkers rather than sandwich board men who used their brains to tackle the challenges to religious thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The scientific consensus can be wrong - but there is not the slightest evidence that it is wrong on the age of the earth. Not one science discipline dissents from the age of the universe being billions of years old; not one concurs with the Young or Flat Earth theories. So it is very dishonest to seek to tart up a very non-scientific opinion as science. As a matter of religious faith, it is as okay to believe it as to believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden. But religious opinion is a private matter and people should be free to think what they wish in private.
      There is a vast swathe of religious opinion that laughs at the taking donkey aspect. It is embarrassed by it, feeling that it undermines a belief in God. It is not just physicalists like me who dismiss it.
      You would imagine god would have given Baalam a tape recorder so that the rest of us could hear this donkey. It's all nonsense Ian.

      Delete
  6. AM said:
    'Christians can deny the supernatural - very few - and follow the Christ of the poor as described in fishermen folklore and not the the one promoted by Hate Theology. I have a tattoo of Christ on my arm - it is the begging Jesus. A straightforward and simple statement of what belief in Jesus for them should be - in a Jesus of the poor and oppressed and not in the fiendish Jesus that labels gay people sinners and wants women to burn in hell forever because they believe in reproductive rights. My tattoo of course is a statement against religion rather than a belief in any supernatural Jesus.'

    You could be an Irish Republican who believes in Ireland returning to the UK, when the UK becomes a republic. But it would be dishonest to claim that use of the term is faithful to the original.

    A Christ who did not come from heaven and did not ascend to the throne of God is another Christ, not the authentic one. A Christ who does not warn of the eternal punishment of Hell is not the real Christ. Those who believe in these fake versions are fake Christians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you end up sounding like a member of some mad Calvinist cult with that statement.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have very persuasive evidence based on close textual reading and historical investigation. Many of them continue to remain Christian.
      The early Church carries little weight against such scholarly work. They were not exactly regarded as the most truthful of people.
      Nor is there any reason to accept Scripture as mandatory. It was passed on orally and our experience tells us about the reliability of that. Why didn't Jesus just bring a tape recorder?
      The evidence points to the gospels having been written many years after Jesus died. That inserts an unreliability into them rather than a dishonesty. But wither way, they are not to be regarded as accurate. Just folklore from the time.

      Delete
  8. There are scientific arguments against an old earth. It is futile to keep asserting there are not. If all was offered against an old earth was the Biblical record, then you would be right. But many scientists have developed the scientific case in support of a young earth. It's freely available, though some of the detailed models come via scientific journals that have to be subscribed to. But enough free so you can get the basics.

    Why any theist would limit God in His means of communicating to wicked men is beyond me. Read the account and tell me why He would not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are no scientific arguments against an old earth. There are scientists who argue against it but they are not doing science but religion. Some to their credit are frank enough to admit that. Just identify one science discipline that holds to the view of a young earth - there is not a single example.
      Tell me why your god never provided a tape recorder. Why was he so limited in his means of communication?
      A wicked god communicating to wicked men - it would seem he could have chosen a better method than a donkey.

      Delete
  9. Sorry about an incomplete post. Here is the finished version:
    AM said:
    'I don't buy that Christ taught those who wrote the gospels I have read and listened to too many biblical scholars who rubbish that notion.'

    They have no evidence for their assertions. Just speculations. Against that is the witness of the early church. But the unanimous verdict of the persecuted church. They took things seriously. Of course it is not an article of faith that the names attached to the Gospels are genuine. Only the Scripture itself is mandatory to accept.

    'None of the Gospel writers put their names to the gospels - they were bylines added a century or so later.'

    Correct. But written by those who were His apostles or mandated by them to write the Gospel. From very soon after the ascension of Christ and the birth of the Church Gentiles became a large part of the Church. As Greek was the common language, naturally the Gospels and Letters were written in Greek. That's not to deny that the apostles spoke Aramaic and their oral accounts may have been dictated to the scribe who wrote it in Greek.

    'Paul being told by God is like King Arthur being told by Merlin. Claims of that nature have no place in serious discussion.'

    The discussion is about the Biblical account. If you deny the possibility of the supernatural, then of course most of the Bible must be rejected as fake. I'm showing what Christians have always believed. You can laugh at it if you will, but you should not be claiming that those who deny the historic account and witness are authentic Christians.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But you are not showing us what Christians always believed because Christians are a mixed bag who have always believed different things. The early discussions on the divinity of Christ are very clear about that. The history of early Christianity shows a serious amount of infighting to establish control. I don't know what an authentic Christian is. I do know that there are Christians such as Calvin who was motivated by hate and others such as Helder Camara who are motivated by love. I prefer those who subscribe to a theology of love to those who subscribe to hate theology.

      Delete
  10. AM said:
    'They have very persuasive evidence based on close textual reading and historical investigation. Many of them continue to remain Christian.'

    Nonsense on both counts. They have nothing but their speculations, and their claim to be followers of Christ does not stand with the Christ presented in the NT.

    'The early Church carries little weight against such scholarly work. They were not exactly regarded as the most truthful of people.'

    The early Fathers at least have manuscripts on their side. 21st Century scholars have only their speculations.

    'Nor is there any reason to accept Scripture as mandatory. It was passed on orally and our experience tells us about the reliability of that. Why didn't Jesus just bring a tape recorder?'

    He sent the Holy Spirit to enable the NT message to be given. Tape recorders are only needed by materialists.

    'The evidence points to the gospels having been written many years after Jesus died. That inserts an unreliability into them rather than a dishonesty. But wither way, they are not to be regarded as accurate. Just folklore from the time.'

    There were 11 apostles who were able to contribute their bit to the writers of the Gospels. And at least 2 more who had been with Christfrom the beginning. Then last of all Paul, who was granted a personal audience with the ascended Christ. That's a lot of eye-witnesses able to collate the history for those who would write it years later. Some were executed early on, but most remained for many years.

    If it is just folklore, why would any of these Christians you admire believe in Christ? Do they say it is just folklore? What causes them to claim to be Christian?

    They have just made up a Jesus of their imagination, one who approves their ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Unfortunately, the nonsense lied in the talking donkey camp.

    Because it challenges you in your comfort zone makes it no less true. We know the value of close textual reading and historical investigation . Nor do you get to decide who is a genuine Christian. Most Christians laugh at the cults. Most people laugh at cults. The manuscripts of the early Christians like all manuscripts have been subject to investigation. We don't merely accept something because it is in a book. It has to stand up to scrutiny.
    So a talking donkey is a more reliable source than a tape recorder?
    The gospels are all inconsistent with each other. There are some great Christian scholars working on this all the time, teasing out the inconsistencies and trying to explain them.
    Paul might have had an audience with the risen Christ. He may also have had one with a dalek or cyberman. We can rule nothing out, I suppose.
    They believe in a Christ but have a thorough understanding how he has been explained down the years. They are much too intelligent to swallow the myths of the bible, holding it to be divinely inspired but not dictated. They are also confronted with all the biblical myths having predated Christ. I don't share their view but they are much more formidable defenders of Christianity than the sandwich board men.
    You, rather than them, it seems have made up a Jesus of your imagination because of your inability to read the bible seriously or deeply. You like the old tyrant because he hates the same things you hate.

    ReplyDelete
  12. AM said:
    'But you are not showing us what Christians always believed because Christians are a mixed bag who have always believed different things. The early discussions on the divinity of Christ are very clear about that. The history of early Christianity shows a serious amount of infighting to establish control. I don't know what an authentic Christian is.'

    It is easy to identify what an authentic Christian is not. For example, the Roman Catholic and Reformed Churches both agreed on the NT writings being the word of God, authorised and inspired by God the Holy Spirit. The heretics like Marcion who denied all but Paul's letters and Luke's Gospel were rejected totally. These modern Marcioites are no better.

    'I do know that there are Christians such as Calvin who was motivated by hate and others such as Helder Camara who are motivated by love. I prefer those who subscribe to a theology of love to those who subscribe to hate theology.'

    What you call a theology of hate is the NT gospel that says all who refuse to repent and trust in Christ are condemned eternally. No honest reader of the NT can say it teaches other than that.

    Those who want a Christ who will not judge the world and vindicate His people and condemn the wicked should be honest and admit their Christ is not the NT one.

    Have you really understood the NT to teach the Christ these modern guys are claiming?

    ReplyDelete
  13. AM said:
    'Because it challenges you in your comfort zone makes it no less true. We know the value of close textual reading and historical investigation'

    I have no problems with close textual reading and historical investigation. I just deny they give the fables these guys are claiming.

    'Nor do you get to decide who is a genuine Christian. Most Christians laugh at the cults. Most people laugh at cults.'

    The NT writings get to determine who is an authentic Christian. Even an unbeliever reading them will undoubtedly agree that the Chrust of these modern guys is not the NT Christ.

    'The manuscripts of the early Christians like all manuscripts have been subject to investigation. We don't merely accept something because it is in a book. It has to stand up to scrutiny.'

    Correct. And they stand as authentic. You may say they are all just made stories, but you cannot deny they were the accepted Scriptyres of the early Christians.

    'So a talking donkey is a more reliable source than a tape recorder?

    Yes, when it is God enabling it to speak.

    'The gospels are all inconsistent with each other. There are some great Christian scholars working on this all the time, teasing out the inconsistencies and trying to explain them.'

    The inconsistencies are apparent, and as you say are being worked on by competent scholars. The believing scholars are gradually resolving the difficulties, and some may never be resolved without further information. But we have all we need for living a life pleasing to God and bringing the gospel to the lost so that they may be saved.

    'Paul might have had an audience with the risen Christ. He may also have had one with a dalek or cyberman. We can rule nothing out, I suppose.
    They believe in a Christ but have a thorough understanding how he has been explained down the years. They are much too intelligent to swallow the myths of the bible, holding it to be divinely inspired but not dictated. They are also confronted with all the biblical myths having predated Christ. I don't share their view but they are much more formidable defenders of Christianity than the sandwich board men.
    You, rather than them, it seems have made up a Jesus of your imagination because of your inability to read the bible seriously or deeply. You like the old tyrant because he hates the same things you hate.'

    As I said before, they can invent any Jesus they like, but they are lying if they claim he is the Christ of the NT. If I believed the NT was as faked as they do, I would reject the whole idea of Jesus Christ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is simply so much rigorous work out there calling the bible into question without challenging the divinity of Jesus that is allows us to conclude that the bible is a work of metaphor put together by men with limited knowledge of the world they lived in: a work that tries to capture the essence of something without being literally true.
      The NT does not get to decide what a Christian is for the very reason that the NT is open to so much interpretation. People serious about the NT listen not to the sandwich board men but to scholars. And many scholars cast serious doubt on the veracity of what is said in the bible. The world is well used to bible thumpers by now and knows not to pay them any attention.
      Hate theology is what wallows in hatred - it approves the slavery, rape and mass murder in the bible. It hates same sex relations and women's reproductive rights. What loving act was the OT monster responsible for? Massacre of infants, encouraging the smashing of babies heads off the rocks, taking women as slaves so that they could be raped. The biblical monster was every bit as bad as Hitler, yet you have deluded yourself that he loves you and that when he slaughters children or has women raped or enslaved he does it out of love. All nonsense Ian.
      It is hard to play Pink Floyd on a donkey but feel free to stick with it. I could show you a million tape recorders that will reproduce the sound of a human voice. You cannot produce one talking donkey. You have pinned your hopes on what some spoofer in the blble said.

      Delete
  14. AM said:
    ‘There is simply so much rigorous work out there calling the bible into question without challenging the divinity of Jesus that is allows us to conclude that the bible is a work of metaphor put together by men with limited knowledge of the world they lived in: a work that tries to capture the essence of something without being literally true.’

    Simply nonsense. No sane person could get a divine Jesus out of the NT while at the same time making it mostly metaphor. A metaphorical divine Jesus, yes – but not a literal, real life divine Jesus. That's the problem with those claiming to be Christian but rejecting the plain statements of the Bible. They can't have a real divine Jesus while denying the texts that declare His life and nature.

    ‘The NT does not get to decide what a Christian is for the very reason that the NT is open to so much interpretation.’

    Like any other writing, there is a limit to the possibilities of interpretation of the meaning of the authors. The parameters of the meaning of ‘Christian’ are clear enough to rule out those scholars who deny the teachings about Christ, and the gospel He sent the Church out into the world to preach.

    ‘People serious about the NT listen not to the sandwich board men but to scholars. And many scholars cast serious doubt on the veracity of what is said in the bible. The world is well used to bible thumpers by now and knows not to pay them any attention.’

    There are plenty of scholars who honestly attest to the veracity of the Scriptures. Their liberal/modernist opponents do not own the field of Biblical scholarship.

    ‘Hate theology is what wallows in hatred - it approves the slavery, rape and mass murder in the bible. It hates same sex relations and women's reproductive rights. What loving act was the OT monster responsible for? Massacre of infants, encouraging the smashing of babies heads off the rocks, taking women as slaves so that they could be raped. The biblical monster was every bit as bad as Hitler, yet you have deluded yourself that he loves you and that when he slaughters children or has women raped or enslaved he does it out of love. All nonsense Ian.’

    I never said God punishes the wicked out of love. He punishes them because He is just and holy. His love is for all in this life when He gives them time to repent, and the good things needed to sustain their lives. But His eternal love if solely for those who do repent and trust in Christ as their righteousness.

    ‘It is hard to play Pink Floyd on a donkey but feel free to stick with it. I could show you a million tape recorders that will reproduce the sound of a human voice. You cannot produce one talking donkey. You have pinned your hopes on what some spoofer in the blble said.’

    I have no need to produce a talking donkey to convince you. God has already spoken to you by the magnificence of nature, and in your conscience. The saving message you need is found in the gospel, where the witness of nature and conscience are met with God's call to you to turn from your sinful life and trust in Jesus Christ as your Saviour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your problem is that most sane Christians do get a divine Christ out of the NY while holding it to be metaphor. They seek to extract from the NT a Christ of Love whereas others want a Christ of Hate. Another problem is that those regarded as insane or religiously deranged are the people who believe in talking donkeys. Just look at the widespread ridicule of Poots when he assumed leadership of the DUP. Outside the cults he seemed a universal laughing stock.
      There are biblical scholars who do attest to the veracity of the NT although they diminish in serious acclaim outside their own circle once they buy into the magic. Much as it is difficult for people to take seriously scholars who claim Mohammed split the moon in two, for which there is as much evidence as there are for biblical miracles.
      At least we agree on one thing - your god doesn't punish out of love. From my perspective he is hardly punishing the guilty when he procures and counsels the slaughter of children and the rape of their mothers. That is out of unalloyed hate, which is what seems to attract the cults. There is absolutely nothing just about rape and battering children's heads against the rocks. Even though you think that is a good thing and welcome it, you don't acknowledge it as love and you can hardly describe it as just.
      The last paragraph is just a another flight of fancy and needs no comment from me.

      Delete
  15. I find it totally illogical for anyone to treat the NT as metaphor, yet find a real divine Christ in it. No honest reader would do so - they would either reject it as manmade fables, or accept the record as it stood.

    There is no surprise that most people ridicule the claims made in the NT about Christ - His virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death and glorious resurrection. They did so in NT times and will continue to do so until He returns 'in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ'.

    The gospel is foolishness to the majority, but is the power of God to salvation for all His children.

    As I said before, God is entitled to take back every life when He sees fit. We all should expect the consequences of living in a sinful world. And be glad of the many mercies we receive instead. His justice is perfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get that you will find it totally illogical. With your refusal to think logically but religiously, you will think in line with the cult mentality that everybody outside your cult has it wrong. It is probably the result of having been indoctrinated at an early enough age.
      Many Christians are not self obsessed and concerned only with saving their own souls. Because they take the bible seriously and not literally (as the late Hans Kung proclaimed) they believe that a Christ totally different from the one you hold to can be extracted from the metaphor. Rather than a Christ of hate they find a Christ of love who does not obsessively concern himself with people wanking or shagging or welcomes plagues because they are a blight on whoever the cult despises. They think that demeans Christ. They hope to lead people to God by example and not turn them away from god by judgmental ranting.
      They are intelligent people who have studied all the main religions and see the same stories come up time and again: miracles, resurrection, sons of god, virgin births, apocalyptical preachers wandering the middle east claiming they were the Messiah. They refuse to abandon the cerebral properties they believe their god endowed them with so they reason rather than parrot. They go with the science because the science is the best explanation of the world we have and shows a world vastly different to that supposedly dictated by Pangu, Bumba, Yahweh and the myriad of other gods that are supposed to have created the universe.
      The end result is that they bring out a creator god who society has learned about through metaphor suitable for the times in which it was crafted.
      People don't so much ridicule the claims made in the NT, they ridicule others who take those claims literally and want to shout sinner at everybody else.
      In your case you end up abandoning infants who you are happy to see butchered, women who you are happy to see raped, slaves who you are happy to see enslaved - all because it is written in some book you have opted to believe is inerrant. Yet you don't seem a guy who would go out of your way to do others harm. I think you can be summed up in the phrase of Steven Weinberg which we have talked about before: With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

      Delete
  16. Anthony, just ask yourself could you sit down and read the NT and end up denying the God it plainly declares does exist *whilst at the same time* thinking it declares the god of these 'Christians' you admire?

    What grounds have they for believing such a god exists? An honest person who rejects the NT as man-made would think the writers were imagining it all, rather than being amazing mystics revealing by metaphor a real god.

    The only honest alternatives are to reject it as man-made fable, or accept it at face value.

    Yes, religion is form of ideology, and like some other ideologies has the capacity to promote great evil. But the true religion permits only God to decide who lives and who dies, and demands of man that he loves his neighbour as himself.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wolfie - I haven't glanced at a bible since 1978. It is as a result of a difference of opinion with some evangelical type who came to look at the exotic protestors.
      What I do know is this. Many intelligent and deep thinking Christians believe in the NT but not in any literal sense. They see it as allegorical, meant to reveal a much deeper truth by pressing the intellect they believe their god endowed them with for that very purpose. They do not believe that their god gave them such a capacity to learn only to squander it by parroting and preaching but not thinking.
      I don't admire Christians for their non-physicalist Christianity. Those I admire I do so is because of their desire to find a deeply social Christ in their fellow human beings who suffer poverty, illness and injustice. I admire them for staffing soup kitchens, visiting the poor, and helping the homeless and despairing. I don't admire the sandwich board men who prefer an anti-social Christ who wants to scream sinner rather than say human. I admire them also for their intellectual capacity to identify a problem and rather than chant some biblical verse will actually probe as deeply as their intellect allows the range of possible meanings that might be extracted from that verse.
      Your tendency to refer to honesty has a boomerang effect. This is because it is impossible to believe that those who insist on a 6000 year old earth in defiance of the overwhelming body of evidence to the contrary, are giving an honest assessment. Even Intelligent Design was told to stop lying in court and it doesn't insist on a young earth.
      The cultic insistence on accepting at face value what the bible says gives no depth to the bible. It sees just a face and not a system of thought that reveals more as each layer of metaphor is peeled away,
      When I read somebody like Hans Kung and then read Willie McCrea - there is only one of them I am going to take seriously despite disagreeing with both.
      Talk of the true religion is just that - talk. It is like talk of the true Marxism. That is the problem with every cult that ever existed - they all believe that their own belief is the true one.
      I don't believe in god as you know but I do admire a theology of love and have no time for Hate Theology.

      Delete