Lie #6: ‘The Bible is out of date, inaccurate and over-rated. People in the 21st century are way too smart for that.’

At first blush this doesn’t seem like an ‘Organized Religion’ thing. The reason I include it here is that many large religious organizations do teach it today.

Let me ask you something: Don’t you think it’s a lot easier for a leader to sneak in his own agenda when there’s no outside authority to compare it to?

Mortimer Adler, one of the greatest literary scholars, spent decades researching a book called ‘The Great Ideas.’ He read every single major piece of literature in Western history, and his book explores the 102 most influential ideas that have defined Western culture.

In the first chapter, he talks about ‘The Twentieth Century Delusion.’ What’s that? It’s the fact modern people *think* that we are more enlightened about all subjects than people were 1000 years ago.

Are we more enlightened about science and technology?

Yes.

Are we more enlightened about morality, philosophy and politics?

Hardly.

In college I took a class called ‘English Authors Before 1800.’ I was amazed at how sharp those writers were. Once you get past the ‘old English’ language, you discover that Shakespeare’s characters are just like the people you talk to every day.

The book of Proverbs in the Bible was written 3000 years ago, but its advice has saved my butt many, many times.

‘A soft answer defuses anger, but harsh words stir up evil.’

‘A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’

‘The fool hates to be corrected by his father, but a wise son listens to advice.’

Are we really wiser in the 21st century than people were thousands of years ago?

Solomon, the author of Proverbs, said ‘There is nothing new under the sun.’ Many people have laughed at that statement. But he wasn’t talking about technology. He was talking about the issues of the human heart. Malcolm Muggeridge said, ‘News is old things happening to new people.’

So is the Bible a translation of a translation of a translation? Could it be reliable? Is it worth taking seriously?

For centuries, the oldest existing copies of the Old Testament were from 1100 AD. Because so many prophesies in the O.T. had come true, many scholars declared that it was written after the fact.

For example, Isaiah described the crucifixion of Jesus with remarkable precision, 700 years before it happened. Daniel predicted the rise and fall of the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires, in sequence, including remarkable details – in 550 BC.

Astonishing stuff.

The skeptics had the upper hand in this debate until a boy threw rocks into a cave in the Qumran valley in 1947 and discovered what are now known as the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls.’

Not only did these scrolls date back to 200BC, proving that these astonishing predictions were written BEFORE the events took place, but the text was virtually identical to the later versions.

Similarly, we have 5,000 ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, some of them dating back to ~60 A.D. The text is unquestionably solid.

There are plenty of people who say that the Bible is flaky and full of holes, but honestly, the facts simply don’t support that conclusion.

Take the ‘Gospels’ — same-generation accounts of Jesus’ life in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There are *no* other events in ancient history that are documented as well as Jesus’ life. If we can’t believe those history books, how can we believe any other ones?

Of course the only reason anybody doubts this stuff is that it talks about miracles. Jesus feeds 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fishes. He heals the blind and the lame. He himself rises from the dead.

Can this be believed? Or was it just a big conspiracy?

Well, that is THE question.

Right?

Chuck Colson, a former US Government official who went to jail for his involvement in the Watergate scandal, tells this story:

“Watergate was a conspiracy to cover up, perpetuated by the closest aides to the President of the United States.

But one of them, John Dean, testified against Nixon, to save his own skin – only two weeks after informing the president about what was really going on. Two weeks!

The real cover-up, the lie, could only be held together for two weeks, and then everybody else jumped ship in order to save themselves. What’s more, nobody’s life was at stake.’

Why do I bring this up? Because conspiracies planned by big groups of people always fall apart. Somebody always narks.

Well in the case of Jesus, eleven disciples were crucified, tortured, stoned to death and burned to the stake because they stuck to their story.

They were all ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that Jesus rose from the dead.

The historical narrative reports that the first witnesses to the resurrection were women. Given the legal standing of women at that time, nobody would have written the story that way had it been made up.

What do you think?

Well, you really can’t make an informed decision until you read the story.

Fortunately there are four versions of that story — Matthew’s, Mark’s, Luke’s and John’s. Read one or all and decide for yourself.

If you don’t read the story, you’re not in any kind of position to decide. Examine the evidence so you can make an educated decision.

Tomorrow, in the last installment, I’m going to take on #7:

‘If God was really good and powerful, he wouldn’t allow so much evil and suffering to go on.’

This is a tough question indeed. Pat answers and platitudes just won’t do. I promise to handle this one with kid gloves.

Respectfully Submitted,

Perry Marshall
www.CoffeehouseTheology.com

271 Responses to “Lie #6: ‘The Bible is out of date, inaccurate and over-rated. People in the 21st century are way too smart for that.’”

  1. Bill Penner says:

    Hi Perry,
    Could you refer me to some books or journal articles that discuss apparent paradoxes inherent in agnosticism or atheism?

    • perrymarshall says:

      Agnosticism: Claims that it’s impossible to know, yet claims that it *knows* that it’s impossible to know. Makes a truth claim that there is no knowable truth. I see a paradox there.

      Atheism: Many more problems than agnosticism. As I see it the problems fall into two categories:

      1) The denial of a Prime Mover, God or First Cause: It claims to know that there is no God but can offer no positive proof of such a claim. It can criticize other belief systems but has no proof or defense of its own. Atheists usually claim to base their views on science and scientific objectivity, but when push comes to shove, science inevitably points to a cause outside its purvue. Let me give you a very specific example:

      As a specialist in digital communication, storage and transmission – (I’m the author of the “Industrial ethernet pocket guide” book which you can look up on Amazon) — naturalistic science, which asserts that all of this life, order, universe, DNA etc. came from empty chaos — There is NO scientific experiment or precedent in which *information* (as defined by informatics theory) has EVER originated from a purely material, stochastic process. Neither biological, nor linguistic, nor computational.

      Information is mathematically at a “right angle” to matter and energy themselves and cannot arise from purely material interactions. Information is communicated and stored via matter and energy, but it is not contained in matter OR energy by themselves. So just as you cannot travel north or south on a road that only runs from east to west, you cannot produce information from matter or energy alone. It has NEVER been shown to happen.

      I make this statement using a rigorous defintion of information, not a casual one. (Fractals and chaos and snowflakes and hurricanes are not ‘information’ the same way language or DNA are.) More information on this at http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/ifyoucanreadthis.htm

      I’m not an astro-physicist or biologist but I have looked into these matters quite a bit. I think that modern information and communication theory demonstrates quite persuasively that the first biological organisms could not have possibly originated by chance. Actually the mathematician Fred Hoyle did an extensive statistical analysis and arrived at the same conclustion. So from that perspective the burden of proof is on the atheists and naturalists.

      Excellent book that discusses this development in great detail: “In the beginning was Information” by Werner Gitt. In this book the author invites skeptics to refute his theorems but to my knowledge no one has come forward – and I have searched very hard for a response to this.

      2) The Moral Argument: One Atheist privately admitted to me that the Moral Argument is probably the most formidable case against Atheism — in other words, the universal human acknowledgement that there is such a thing as objective right and wrong.

      Where does that come from? Whenever humans have a moral disagreement (“you took my chair”; “you cut in line”; “you promised, but you broke your promise” we implicitly refer to a higher moral law that the other person lives under. Rarely is that moral law objected to; if they argue, it’s always about a circumstance or some other excuse. Atheism really offers no objective morality, and really, the Darwinistic viewpoint that is almost always associated with this inherently implies that Might is Right. This is no small problem for Atheists.

      When I have conversations w/ Atheists about these things, usually they retreat to some kind of “Hey, Atheism is just non-belief, we’re not trying to assert anything” or “But wait, most Atheists are very moral people” as a way to avoid getting painted into a corner, but Atheism DOES assert that the world and the universe and life sprang spontaneously out of nothingness. This is something for which they can produce no evidence of any kind. Nor can Atheism lay claim to any higher authority to tell you and I what is right or wrong.

      CS Lewis talks about these problems in two of his books “Surprised by Joy” and “Mere Christianity” which are both excellent. He was an Atheist who became a Christian when he was a professor at Oxford.

      The most common argument that most Atheists make *against* God is that the world is too insanely screwed up and dysfunctional for a rational God to have created it. But… this is a moral argument, and as soon as the Atheist brings this up, he’s back to problem #2 — and the question becomes “OK Mr. Atheist, where do you get the objective moral standard by which you judge the alleged God as being irrational?” The Atheist complains that the line is ‘crooked’ but he must have gotten his sense of a ‘straight line’ from somewhere. Thus Atheism has no scientific proof for its alleged scientific assertions, and its moral judgments are internally contradictory.

      One last thought — I hear this all the time — “Christianity / religion / etc has been the source of a gazillion wars and killings etc etc.” Well I certainly acknowledge that many have been killed in the name of god. But in the case of Christianity – where the most important commandments are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and Love Your neighbor as yourself” — hey, if someone’s killing in the name of Jesus, they’re just lying about the Jesus part. Jesus never endorsed anything like that, ever. It’s an illogical outworking of what they *say* they believe, when we all know it’s really about money or sex or power or all three, and the twisted religion is just a rationalization.

      However… when Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot or any of the Atheist regimes kill people, these actions *are* logically consistent with a darwinistic, secular worldview – that the fittest will survive by whatever means possible. And Atheism certainly has had much blood on its hands in the 20th century. Ravi Zacharias talks about this in his book “A Shattered Visage.” “The Black Book of Communism” documents the genocide of 160 million people in the 20th century alone, mostly by atheist regimes. Atheism has more blood on its hands than any other worldview.

      Thanks – and take care,

      Perry

      • Fajardo Osc says:

        What about the scientologists ? are they like the atheists ?

      • Another Joe says:

        You say Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot of the Atheist regimes kill people. The truth is, they are believers of Communism, a type of ideology spread by Karl Marx. The reason why they killed them were not because they thought the fittest would survive; it’s because they believed who ever opposed Communism, or did not quite follow the proper criteria (e.g. rich peasants) were evil enemies.

        It was not atheism, but Communism that resulted in millions of deaths. They may have been Atheist, but they were deluded by an impossible vision proposed by Communism.

        • perrymarshall says:

          Joe,

          No doubt you are to some degree right – Marx’s ideology was at the core. However I think the real question is – how and why did these men believe that they were justified in killing all their enemies?

          If only one of these countries was atheistic, I could accept the idea that atheism was merely incidental in the bloodiness of these regimes. However the fact that the two bloodiest regimes in world history were both emphatically atheistic is, in my opinion, too large to overlook. These two regimes killed 2X more people than all religious wars in the entire history of the world combined.

          I submit to you that communism cannot take root, much less survive, in a deeply religious culture. The circumstances of history seem to support that. In all regimes where atheism took root, the dominant religion was in a weak, sickly, disorganized state to begin with.

          Nearly every religion teaches that a force much larger than yourself will judge you if you unjustly kill. Even the most ardent religious extremist knows that if his judgments about his enemies happen to be incorrect, he will have the judgment of God to reckon with. Even Buddhism, which doesn’t really believe in “God” as such, teaches Karma and reincarnation. In all religions, actions have consequences beyond the grave.

          Only atheism allows people to think they can kill millions of people and never be judged for their actions. Only atheism allows man to believe that he is, by default, god.

          “Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.“ -Vladimir Lenin. Why did Lenin say this? One wonders.

          • Krishna Dhulipati says:

            That isn’t true. I’m an atheist and the thought of even slapping someone sickens me. On the few occasions I’ve hit someone out of pure anger (we’ve all done it.) I felt sick to the stomach seconds after the blow landed. Atheists do have morals–they just admit that morals vary from person to person, and that people can’t be blamed for differing opinions. I have morals, and I’m sure most atheists have morals. The few atheists without morals are the ones who screw up the world.
            Atheism may allow evil, but most atheists themselves don’t. Think about it: is the Bible more representative of Christianity or are the Christians themselves the representatives?

            • Charity Romano says:

              Krishna,

              There is no such thing as an atheist. The mere fact that you said you felt sick after being violent against another human being signals that you were and are cogniscant that you were created by a Divine, loving and moral being. Where do you think those ‘morals’ you talk of came from? “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So that men are without excuse for not knowing God.” Rom. 1:20-32; Rom. 2:1-5. Krishna, why would you “exchange the truth of God for a lie” and risk it all?

              “For God is not willing that any should perish but ..desires all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth”. 2 Pet.3-9; 1Tim 2:4. That truth will set you free and answer many of life’s questions.

              If atheism allows evil, why do you apply this monniker to yourself? The Word of God says “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” Matt 7:12; “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31; “Love your neighbour as yourself” Gal 5:14. Does this sound like a recipe for disaster?

              The Bible is the manual for life. It is life sized and can handle all of life’s problems and questions. It is the blue print of how each person must, should live,i.e. in love. True, many who call themselves Christians have missed the mark. They impose their own interpretations of the scripture and so mess things up. Many have misrepresented Christ and His message. This and anything or action contrary to the Word of God is not to be encouraged or followed, it will only lead to much pain, heartache, disappointment, disillusionment and destruction as we see within our homes, families, schools, governments and the wider world today.

              The Word says, not everyone who says “Lord Lord” will enter the Kingdom of God.

              I pray that you will find the truth of the Word for yourself and take you eyes of ‘man’ for a while and set it on God, who is for you, your biggest fan. He sent His only son as an example of how we should live. i.e. in love. His son is the express representation of God Himself. He sent His son to die in our place and take the punishment for all our wrongdoing instead of allowing us to perish from it as we deserved. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his Master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you” John 15:15

              Test Him in this Krishna as see if He is not faithful to respond. Be blessed Krishna, may the Spirit of the Lord, The Spirit of Truth, reveal His truth to your heart so you may live in love, an holy and abundant life.

              With the Love of Christ Krishna, God Bless you richly.

            • Jay says:

              An answer to Krishna Dhulipati.. You make the statement The few atheists without morals are the ones who screw up the world. This ‘few’ whether claiming to be Atheist, Christians, Muslims or whatever who bring about evils on earth All must be deterred and all need to live by and support the laws of the higher Authority to preserve and protect the lives and wellfare of the innocent. When people in general have the attitude as long as the selfishness in every individual is being nurtured and all is well for self the world is a wonderful place. What if the tide turned and they found themselves in the place of those living in poverty and terror. There is much cruelty in many diverse situations. There are people with difficulties most do not wish to concern themselves about because they say there is nothing they can do about it. Some may take up the fight against evil in behalf of victims of crime but there is never much anyone can really achieve. That is why all must consider the laws of love and seek to impliment them. We as humans need to recognise where we really come from. We should recognise that if we are safe and secure we are much blessed but that could change. Time and circumstances can change. Look at the recent tsunami’s, and world ecological disasters. Consider the fragility of the world economy, Consider the thinking of people who in this present climate could erupt into civil anarchy and caos when the world economy collapses and they are personally affected by diverse circumstances. No one wants to think doom and gloom but the reality is if we do not have a creator who will come to our rescue we are doomed whether Athiest, Christian, Muslim, Budist or other. We will all have to call on the name of the True God of Creation to be saved. Romans 10:22 But he does not listen to the selfish or the wicked and we need to know God to call on him. If we ignore God he will ignore us. I believe we must study this world and all that goes on in it. How can anyone deny the Supremacy of The Grand Creator when looking at the intricacy of the universe and all creation.

      • Rob McLean says:

        You wrote: “but Atheism DOES assert that the world and the universe and life sprang spontaneously out of nothingness. This is something for which they can produce no evidence of any kind”. Can the belivers offer any more proof than a document articulated by nomadic goat herders in the Bronze age? There’s much more ‘proof’ of the Earth being a whole lot more than 6,000 years old as stated by the old testament. Some creationists claim that fossils and the like were placed by god as a test. Poor attempt at an excuse. Really….

        • Jim Lind says:

          Rob –
          The kind of argument articulated, namely, “nomadic goat herders in the Bronze age” is what is known as ad hominem, i.e. against the person. I point this out because our US culture promotes this as a way of dismissing a person, their credibility and the veracity of what they say without regard to what was said. So, I’m not going to dismiss a perspective simply because it comes from bronze age nomadic goat herders any more than I’m going to dismiss yours because you have an apparent ethnic origin that led to having an Mc at the beginning of your last name. Both are irrelevant to veracity.

          The age of the earth and the universe is, in and of itself, irrelevant to whether God created it or it just “happened”. Any age or no age at all can not definitively decide the matter on its own. It is a byproduct of the investigations and seems to be useful in some of the investgative processes.

          The Old Testament makes no direct statement about the age of the earth or the universe in calendar terms. The age attributed in your post actually came from Bishop Ussher, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625-1656. His dating is not alone and, using the method he used, not as defensible as were others of his 17th century period such as John Lightfoot, (the venerable) Bede, Scaliger, Johannes Kepler and Sir Isaac Newton all of whom determined slightly different ages within a century or two of Usshers.

          The critical point is that the methods all these persons used were very similar and made nearly identical assumptions that few biblical scholars would make about the language in hebrew from which those assumptions were drawn. The creation account is not a scientific journal containing a scientific time line or calendar. It is an account that gives a sequence that, so far, is not seriously scientifically disputed with credibility and is generally supported by fossil and age records and by evolutionist theories.

          More importantly, though, it is focused on the source and intelligent cause of creation and not on the technology of creation. Personally, I find it fascinating that, unlike many other creation accounts, it makes no statements about the technology of creation at all. Today, we (humanity) are building things like the Hubble telescope and hadron colliders to explore the intensely complex technolgy behind how we physically came into being. Yet, the biblical creation account skips over all that so that one does not need to be a quantum partical physicist or astro-physicist to understand the import of creation. Man(kind) being created from the dust is about as close as it gets to giving a technological account. It is just as simple, accurate and reasonable a statement as one that says wheat turns dirt into bread. And it is understandable by anyone regardless of their academic prowess. To me, this is far more profound than any potential scientific interpolation of the biblical creation account that might be accessible only by those with advanced degrees in physics.

          • OSEI-AGYEI Kwasi Snr says:

            How did you come to this conclusion that “The creation account is not a scientific journal containing a scientific time line or calendar. It is an account that gives a sequence that, so far, is not seriously scientifically disputed with credibility and is generally supported by fossil and age records and by evolutionist theories.”
            This is trying to make sense out of nonsense. The biblical account of creation contains a timeline. The fact that it contradicts what you call scientific timeline does not absolve you of the falsity therein. The problem with you is trying to give your own interpretation to the bible so as to make it appealing. I have come to realise that even the concept of God that is common to all christianity and some other religions is not definitive and everyone tries to convince him/herself that he/ she holds is the right one. It is absurd. Is it ok to believe in God for whatever you believe is God? Is the evolutionist correct in saying that lifeforms started evolving from lower ones? What serious scientific dispute do you require about the bible when it is not the work of science. The bible is not making scientific statement to be disputed by science.

        • Caleb Neff says:

          You might want to try the ‘god-and-science’ (dot org) website for information on why the Bible says that the universe MUST be ancient, and why Noah’s flood was a local event. Or, for why the Bible teaches that the Earth is ancient, how about you read Mr. Marshall’s very thoroughly written “A Closer Look At Genesis 1”? He doesn’t go anywhere on Flood Geology, but that’s why I suggested ‘god-and-science’, article “The Genesis Flood: Why the Bible Says It Must be Local”. I think you’ll find this all to be fascinating.

        • Jay says:

          When a person begins to build a house and in time he completes his project he can refer to his house as being newly built but the materials he has used to build his house will be how old? At least 6 thousand years old perhaps millions or billions of years old. The creator knows how, when and where the earths substance came. We as believers in scripture believe according to divine instruction that man, domestic animal,those of the wild and vegetation were created a little over 6,000 years ago.

          • ramsingh says:

            where was god 7000 years ago? man existed in africa over 60 thousand years ago ,where in the bible it says that god created man 60,000 years or 3000 years ?.religions are created by powerfull men so as to surpress and put fear in them and control them .

      • robert taylor says:

        Hitler, Pol Pot and many others have caused much bloodshed in the name of their causes.As also have all the ‘Faiths’ that claim to believe in the God of Moses.They have all claimed ‘Divine Authority’ for their behaviour thru-out history.Such things as the Spanish Inquistion, which lasted for 400 years. It appears that religeous intolerence is inherent with all the faiths that come from belief in the God of the ancient Isrealites.

      • robert taylor says:

        A lot of bad stuff has happened in the name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus, that is true.Most, if not all of the evil things that we see in the history of Christianity,Inquisition, witchhunts etc,happened because of the scriptures that they believed in. The Holy Bible.This was their guide.They where Devoutly Religeous people who believed they were doing Gods Will.They believed themselves to be Divenly Inspired.Never erring from scripture.

      • Chris Walker says:

        You’ve erected two bulwarks, where you only need one. To say that the universe cannot create DNA as a natural process, implies that you know how the universe works. (Please write your thesis on how the universe works, and collect your Nobel prizes.)

        Current science and top physics is pointing to the universe as being a mechanism that explores all possibilities. When we look out the window, using a telescope, it also looks like the universe could be of infinite size, so even if the universe was not a machine designed to explore all physical permutations, then it could still create DNA by raw chance and the power of infinity. Even if not by raw chance, then by adaptive honing. Thus, current physics supplies THREE plausible ways for the universe to create life, and none are speculative.

        Creationists are still intellectually living in the 1800’s, when atoms were deterministic puddings with electrons stuck onto them. The galaxy was all there was until 1930; there was no hint of the universe being infinite, or multiverses. Folks in that era could be excused for thinking that the universe was not powerful enough to create life. Now, there is no excuse.

        By saying that the universe is not powerful enough to create life, you are spitting on creation.

        • Dale Langmade says:

          Chris: Looking at what you say it would seem that in exploring all possibilities the universe should be able to put together a space shuttle or 747 by random chance. But at the same time the universe is obeying the 2nd law of thermodynamics, where in the system of the universe, everything (including our human DNA)is heading toward entropy. Back in the 60’s a mathamatician decided to look into the probabilities of a single primordial cell being assembled by chance. According to the microbiologists there would have to be at least 1,500 discrete steps in assembling such a cell. Not knowing the steps or the probabilities he assigned a generous 50% chance to each event happening. So to get the 1,500 steps to come to fruition it would be like flipping ‘heads’ 1,500 times in a row. off the top of my head i recall that to be one chance in 10 to the 230th power. That number meant very little to me, but later I encountered something t put it in perspective: If you were to take all of the atoms in a universe 20 billion light-years across and perhaps 20 billion years old, having these atoms recombine 1,000 times a second in an attempt to randomly create something you would have a cosmic lottery with about 10 to the 170th power chances. 230 being larger than 170 we see that there are not enough chances in such a universe for one such cell as postulated above to form randomly, hence the probability of getting such a cell is a solid zero. If I were to go on I could give examples as to why one step in the hypothetical 1,500 steps might have a probability far less than one times 10 to the 230th power. According to astor physisits there is a connectivity problem with an infinite universe limiting us to a universe approximatly like that described above. While the above calculations date back a generation ago, calculations have now been done giving a probability for abiogenesis at one chance in 10 to the 10 to the 123rd power, which i really can not comprehend. At any rate, while i might be spitting on the universe (and where else can I spit) you seem to be spitting on mathamatics.

        • http://thepensergiolepore.blogspot.com/2011/03/perpetual-motion.html

          The link should bring you to an entry about your topic. It’s way too quick/short but can be expounded on.

        • Jim Brechtel says:

          Chris, that’s a very strange statement you make. To say that the universe is not powerful enough to create life gives glory to the One who did create life, namely God. You might also want to learn more about the audience you address. We are not so backward thinking as you accuse. There are many well educated people who will read this.

          You sound like you’ve been reading Stephen Hawking’s papers. Well, he’s wrong. The amount of matter in this universe is finite. And even if there exist an infinite number of universes, there is still no proof of this and no proof of infinite variation of physics, types of particles, etc. All matter in every universe (if more than one exists)is bound by a finite number and finite laws of physics. Therefore infinity has nothing to do with creation of physical life. And there is no such thing as raw chance, when it comes to the creation of life.

          Leading geneticists have concluded that Darwinistic evolution is an impossibility. I.e. it is also impossible for life to happen by chance. Instead, the most brilliant geneticist minds have come to agreement that all life was “designed”. It has also been determined mathematically, statistically, etc, that life cannot have happened by chance. You won’t find their papers printed in journals because the ones who have tried to do so have lost their funding, been persecuted out of ignorance, fear, etc.

          How do I know this? Because I personally know people in the field of genetics research. And in this field, there are many who are coming to acknowledge the reality of a Creator, God.

          Regardless, it matters not how you state the physics of things for God created the universe and all physics therein; And physics, in and of itself, cannot create life. Life only comes from God, the Creator of all. If atoms combine to form DNA molecules through a process, then it is a process designed and executed by the Creator, whom we call God.

        • Jun Mahusay says:

          “To say that the universe cannot create DNA as a natural process, implies that you know how the universe works.”

          Seems like it. But it can also mean that he is quoting somebody else who knows.

          “Current science and top physics is pointing to the universe as being a mechanism that explores all possibilities.”

          I am not a scientist but I don’t agree with this. This is very evolutionistic. Evolution theory is an over-extrapolation of the real and observed phenomenon of evolution within species. We can also grant that there is evolution in the non organic part of the universe and this is something that doesn’t need more proving.
          However, to say that the universe is capable of exploring all possibilities is a hypothesis of many scientists that still need to be proven. It still requires a lot of faith to accept this hypothesis as true.

          “When we look out the window, using a telescope, it also looks like the universe could be of infinite”

          I thought Einstein has said that the universe is finite but expanding.

          Chris, with all due respect, the idea that all the opinions of scientists about the physical world can always be taken seriously is just the same as the idea that all the opinions of theologians about God should be taken seriously.

          The cross-evolution from non organic to organic is a hypothesis that is attractive but is still just a hypothesis.

          The hypothesis about multiple universes is still an attempt to explain the genesis of the universe without having recourse to a creator. No more. It’s clever but it cannot stand yet on its own. It’s still a matter of faith. Just like the existence of God. From the positivistic point of view, the existence of God, evolution of the universe and multiverse are all matters of faith.

  2. Aaron P says:

    perry, i appreciate these e-mails very much. me and my best friend have finally started to talk about how we feel and what we believe. i have been to church my whole life, and believed that i was a firm believer. this was until of course, my best friend started to stir up doubt. this is when i came to the internet and found this site. it has been more help to me than any person i’ve talked to recently could offer. there are some questions that these e-mails leave un-answered, and hopefully you can provide some kind of answer, or at least some common ground. my question concerns evangelism, and how much you should strive to express your beliefs, when that person is going to be set in their’s. jesus says that we in the faith, should share the goood news of the gospel with others. so then the question of conviction arises, and how much you should act on it. could you please share your opinion?

    • perrymarshall says:

      Aaron,

      This is a really great question and it could be discussed for hours. First of all I do think that Christianity is true, that Jesus is for real, and the implications of that, for everyone, are big.

      I think that people need to know about Jesus and that’s why I wrote these emails. But I don’t think it’s necessary or appropriate to bang people over the head with this, insult them, or demonize their belief systems. I think the story of Jesus speaks for itself. So it’s not an issue of saying “My god can beat up your god” or having an argument about “I’m right you’re wrong, turn or burn” – it’s letting the true light of Christ shine. You don’t have to defend a lion, you only need to let him out of his cage.

      In other words we SHOULD have a discussion. Religion shouldn’t be taboo. But that doesn’t mean we have to have an argument. There’s a fine art of discerning the difference.

      Sincerely,

      Perry

      • Jay says:

        Dear Perry

        It is difficult for anyone with a sincere belief to be humble and gentle in their defence. We are all inclined to become overzealous. Scripture dictates that you must put the truth of God to the unbeliever that you might help bring him/ her into a relationship with the Father. Scripture also determines that a person must call on God to be saved but how can you call on God if you do not know who he is.

        I would like to be humble and gentle in my responses knowing I become anxious when my God and my Saviour are misrepresented. I am anxious that people know the truth and not the lie. Jesus is our example of how we should make a defence. He was truthful and forthright. I do hope I do not overstep his example. As imperfect humans it is difficult to know when we are right in our coverage and when or if we overstep the mark.

    • Jun Mahusay says:

      Hi Aaron.

      My unsolicited opinion on your concerns below:

      “how much you should strive to express your beliefs, when that person is going to be set in their’s. jesus says that we in the faith, should share the good news of the gospel with others.”

      It is in our human nature, when we have something good or valuable, to want to talk about it with and to others. We want to extol its beauty, merits, features, benefits, etc., unless we fear losing it in the process. It’s also in our human nature to want to hold on to something good and valuable for as long as we consider it valuable. We also want to share it with others i.e. we want others to have it too and enjoy it for as long we will not lose it. We want others to affirm that yes indeed we have something good.

      Our Lord commanded us to “go out into the whole world and make disciples of all men….”

      It is founded on two things, faith that he and what he has brought us is the “pearl of great price.” And our human nature, the natural consequence of it is all those acts which flow naturally from having something good and valuable.

      So the command to evangelize is another form of the command to believe or have faith because if we really believe we would want to evangelize as a matter of course. If you have no desire to evangelize, you will have to reflect, do you really believe?

      “so then the question of conviction arises, ”

      There is nothing wrong with wanting to influence others and with wanting to change their belief for as long as we do it respectfully.

      “and how much you should act on it. could you please share your opinion?”

      In accordance with your situation in life and how much opportunity is afforded you and while observing the norms of propriety which make it more effective. The “opportunities afforded you” may be expanded through deliberate efforts to search and create more opportunities for the Gospel in accordance with your gifts and talents and connections. You have the example of Perry as an illustration of this.

  3. Kevin says:

    Perry, I’ve agreed with you so far but I think now I need some clarification. Have you investigated the claims of the Bahai Faith? While I am not a Bahai, I think they logically prove that there is a way that all religions can possess major elements of the truth. I think Jeremiah was right when he said “You shall seek for me, and shall find me after you have sought for me with all of your heart.”

    If a Muslim truly wants to know God, he will know God. Who cares if the name is wrong? If you were on a first name basis with someone, and then one day you were walking down the street and found that person in a ditch with a car pinned on him, would you wait until he got your name right to help him?

    What if he accidentally mixed you up with someone else and called you “Tim.” Would you refuse to help? How much more does your Father in heaven know how to be good to his children?

    >>” In other words, if Islam is essentially true, then Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity are not. If Buddhism is essentially true, then Islam, Christianity and Hinduism are not. And so on.

    >> How can I say such a thing? Because if you *really* study these religions, it will become clear that each makes bold, fundamental assertions about reality that are not compatible with the others.”

    I think that you should read “The Perennial Philosophy” by Aldous Huxley.

    He deals with these issues and proves logically, by going straight to the source, that all the saints of major religions who have truly sought God have experienced something and that something has been basically the same thing. I used to believe just like you, and I used to think those who disagreed with me were only trying to be “politically correct.”

    Well, I still think some people who take my position are taking it based on political correctness, but that doesn’t invalidate the claim. Watch “Gandhi” and tell me how God could condemn such a man to hell. How could the Africans who were sold into slavery in the American south, who believed in Allah, be held accountable for their rejection of Jesus, the God professed by the white masters?

    >>” C.S. Lewis was talking about this very thing when he said, ‘You don’t need to defend a Lion. You just need to let him out of his cage.”

    Did you also know, that in the Chronicles of Narnia “The Last Battle”, C.S. Lewis’s figure Aslan, who represents Jehovah, is known to have said, “Any good deed done in the name of Tash (a false god) is actually done for me, and any bad deed done in my name is actually done for Tash.”

    Please research this out. I would truly welcome a personal response, not a
    pre-formatted “I’m kind of busy but thanks for the note.”

    -Kevin

    • perrymarshall says:

      Kevin,

      I certainly agree with the intent of what you are saying, and in fact as I was reading your email I thought of the Last Battle by CS Lewis and the very scene you mention, just before you yourself brought it up. Lewis’s analysis of such things is quite interesting, and what’s more he manages to avoid raising red flags among orthodox Christians through his manner of relating these concepts.

      Let’s take Islam, just to name a specific example. Islam specifically denies the NT claims about Christ – resurrection etc. – and Christianity and Islam are logically incompatible in their truth claims. On the other hand if you were reduce both to an irreducible simplistic minumum, they both teach humility and repentance before God. So having said both those things, I don’t feel qualified to attempt to make a precise judgment of where the “fault line” lies or how God judges between Christians and Muslims. To a Muslim I can only tell him what I believe and point to images of Christ in the Koran and invite him to learn more about Jesus.

      I believe that Jesus was the Son of God as he claimed to be and that certainly has logical implications for belief systems that disagree and whatnot. But at the same time I think that God’s grace is much more capable than most “fundies” give it credit for.

      Sincerely,

      Perry

      • Darryl Braund says:

        Dear Perry
        To follow up Kevin’s query, have you investigated the Baha’i Faith ? Specifically the concepts of Progressive Revelation, (or evolution of religion) and the Harmony of Science and Religion ?
        Cheers
        Darryl

        • perrymarshall says:

          Darryl,

          I would LOVE to believe the Baha’i faith. Specifically, to believe that we can put a half dozen religions in a stir-fry and have them all fit together. Or maybe view it all as a buffet and take from each what we like. It’s the sort of idea that just feels great.

          Unfortunately such a proposition doesn’t make logical sense. The various religions in question make completely incompatible truth claims. Either Jesus was the son of God or he wasn’t. Either Jesus was telling the truth when he said “Before Abraham was, I AM” or he was deluded. Either Mohammad was correct when he said that Jesus was only a prophet and NOT the son of God or he wasn’t. Either God is one and the same with creation as the Hindus say, or God is distinct from creation as the monotheists say.

          • Darryl Braund says:

            Thanks Perry
            I agree that there are many incompatible beliefs between the various religions. There is also many contradictions between the various sects of each individual religion. Such sectarian disputes have created much conflict and confusion about God’s One Truth. It is not so much that the Bible (or Quran) are out-of-date/inaccurate as the interpretations are. The Baha’i perspective is that over the millenia God has revealed His Will and Word in installments. Much like chapters of a Book. The readers/followers have repeatedly made the mistake of believing their chapter is actually the whole Book. Even though the preceeding chapters/religions are often acknowledged, whenever the next revelation/chapter occurs it is rejected. Hence the Jews rejected Christ, the Christians rejected Muhammad, and the Muslims rejected Baha’u’llah. This is an historical pattern and all based on human misunderstanding. It is not that the Baha’i Faith doesn’t make logical sense, or stand up to intelligent scrutiny, but more-so it is not truly investigated with an open mind or a pure heart. This same difficulty has plagued the advent of every major religion and corrupted God’s Will for peace, love and unity. The time is now ripe for all the flocks to be gathered together, and the sovereign remedy for the healing of the world is the union of all its people into one universal cause, one common faith. Only then, shall Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. – Cheers.

            • Dalibor Šver says:

              My opinion is this:
              Koran is not word of God because it contradicts the ‘previous’ word of God, as it claims Jesus is not God but prophet. When I read Koran, I have a feeling that somebody was telling the writer some fragments of Bible, some fragments of Gnostic writings and some of his thoughts based on daily moods. (First Injil – Gospel is OK, then it’s not; First Jews are OK then they are not etc.)
              How can anyone be moral yet at the same time do the things that are suggested in Koran (hate and kill enemies, beat women etc.)

              The point is: you will recognize the tree from the fruits. The light will result with the light. (This is my free interpretation of some Bible fragments cause English is not my native language)
              Therefore, true God’s son (God’s follower) is the one you recognize by his deeds, his views and his attitude in general. And I believe Jesus is the path, true and life.

              As for Gandhi, Africans, (I would add Native Americans here also) etc., they would live and be judged by their conscience. Furthermore, my personal belief is that God gave them the same chance; the same knowledge of right and wrong and the consequences. Even Bible tells that nations other than Hebrew knew of Yahweh (take Balaam for example) and that they should do good.

      • Tony Francis says:

        I am not theologically qualified to answer a question that has a lot of depth. But I have dwelt long hours on which faith is true and which are not.
        I have found that most religions do not give all details of everything, and each one adapts or suits itself to the one who practices it, and vice versa. Thus Islam may prescribe a mode of dressing and morals which suits the weather and social conditions in the Middle East deserts.
        The rules extend to all areas of a man’s life – how one should sit, pray, wash their hands, eat , etc. etc. Over and above the laws from Koran, there are Hadiths detailing how to give alms, and how to kill a cow or a sheep. The rules are so numerous, that no muslim knows all of them, and cannot pass a day without breaching of a dozen of them.
        But insisting that all Muslims any where in the world should practice it would be ridiculous. such a religion cannot be from God for all His people. Judaism also is not very different from Islam in this respect.
        Christianity and Hinduism surmounts this problem in two ways.
        In Hinduism, there are a variety of aspects of God you can choose from to worship. This is like reaching God on the peak of a mountain through different paths. You can have a favourite path, and use other paths as situation warrants.
        God is like a Federal Government, with several offices everywhere, and their reach and governance extends to everywhere . You go to one for Postal service, another one for getting a passport, etc. Their God is one, but has many faces, or personalities, which are very human. One Goddess looks after education, another God is approached for money, another for Arts, etc, etc.

        In Christianity, there is One God with 3 persons each one equal, interdependent, and trusting each other, and in total communion with the others like one human being / computer with one Soul (Father, CPU) , one body (Son, casing, power supply, motors, robotic arms , sensors, eyes, ears, mic, output- speakers, monitor, tongue, etc, and one soul/Holy spirit (the programmes, nerves, wires, Blue tooth, wifi, etc).
        Rules in Christianity are reduced to a bare minimum. Everything is allowed as long as you keep God above everything else, and you love your neighbour as you love yourself. This is the best for mature individuals who know to discern good from the bad. It is also good for the ignorant, because then the ignorant can change the rules to suit a new environment instead of wearing middle east dress in the North pole.
        Christians other than the Catholics, approach only GOD directly (the President in the Federal Govt.)for submitting their petitions and prayers.
        Like the Hindu’s, Catholics have saints and angels who are centres of power and principalities who they send their petitions to according to their powers and departments they control. The Hindus and Catholics have also a negative set of powers, each like the positive ones, are identified by a name, and the power or principle they represent- like the Departments in a Federal Government.
        The Jesus of the Gospels lived in a world controlled by a personal Satan and populated
        with angels and demons. The beginning of Luke’s gospel is punctuated with visits from angels.
        Gabriel even bears a name. Indeed, there is no indication in the Gospels that angels of the New
        Testament are any different from the personal spirit-messengers encountered in the Old
        Testament.
        In Luke 4, Jesus endures a vigorous series of temptations at the hand of the devil. One
        malicious spirit even claims ownership over all the kingdoms of the world: “To you I will give
        all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will”.
        (4:6). Christ does not object to Satan’s claim over the nations. Instead, his rebuttal is that only
        YHWH is truly worthy of worship..Another negative power is called Beezelbub.
        Satan and his followers demons, however have a spirit of separation and division (because that is how they became devils- by separating themselves from the rest of God’s creations), he and his gang are divided amongst themselves, and therefore will fall eventually.

        From among all the above religions, all except Islam tolerates others’views, and practices, while Islam believes in killing, snuffing out non-muslims, whenever and whereever possible, and prohibits practices of other religions.
        It seems that Islam has a mode of operation similar to those of Communists, and Nazis, and is more like a cult than a religion of God.

        Only in Christianity is there a God that showcases His humility, preparedness to sacrifice himself for his people, tolerence, forgiving nature as His chief attributes. Gods of other religions are proud, show-offs, and are often cruel to his subjects.

    • OSEI-AGYEI Kwasi Snr says:

      I do not think the question is with the name. It is the concept of God itself. It is like everybody calling different things by the same name and convincing themselves that they are all talking about the same thing. Who has the authority to determine who is right. We should stop deceiving ourselves and others

  4. Fajardo Osc says:

    my reply to Lie #6: ‘The Bible is out of date, inaccurate and over-rated. People in the 21st century are way too smart for that.

    this is a product of misunderstanding of what the bible is all about. Poeple with this comment does not know really what is the bible so there is a need for some clarification:
    1. the bible is not a history book, even though it is full of HIS-TORIES.
    2. the bible is not a science book.
    BUT the bible is a success story of people who in their lives find ( keep finding) God in their daily lives. with this understanding, we can understand why the bible even today in the 21st century has its message heard and observed by millions of people and refuted by people who cannot really understand it.

    • Brittanny Graves says:

      Though I definitely do not classify myself as a Christian, I’ve actually begun to truly understand the Bible. I looked too much from the typical Atheistic side in the past, and have noticed how much it makes sense now, after stripping out the “miracles”. I was surprised how easy it was to find God for myself.

  5. Brandon Bruce says:

    Question #1: How come the book of Enoch (noah’s great grandfather) is not in the bible?

    Question #2: Please define the word angel for me.

    Question #3: Who are the sons of god referred to in genisis 6: 1-4?

    • perrymarshall says:

      Brandon,

      I intend to read it, I think it’s fascinating, and I suspect it’s sort of like the apocrypha – not as reliable as other books but quite informative.

      When books are not found in the Bible some people see this as some kind of conspiracy. I think if you actually read and study you find there are sound reasons why these books are not included. But often are still worth reading.

      Angel: Spiritual being created before the advent of humanity

      #3: I think this is referring to angels.

    • Dalibor Šver says:

      To your question #3, there is interesting explanation here:
      http://www.douglasjacoby.com/view_article.php?ID=2189

      Mostly Bible scholars consider them the sons of Seth (Adam&Eve’s 3rd son) and the author of the text thinks they might be fallen angels.

  6. John Massam says:

    The bible difficulties include:- Words above Jesus on the cross: Four different versions. Last words of Jesus before dying: Three vastly different “last words.”
    Contradictions include the Epistles knowing nothing of a virgin birth, and saying that Christ, who had been raised by God, appeared to the Twelve. The later-written gospels invented the virgin birth, and talked about Jesus appearing to the Eleven.
    Oops!

    • perrymarshall says:

      John,

      Regarding Jesus’ words on the cross, this article may be helpful: http://contenderministries.org/discrepancies/contradictions.php#17

      Romans 5 directly implies that Paul accepted the virgin birth because Jesus was not considered a son of Adam. Note that absence of mention of something is not, by definition, a contradiction, but an omission.

      To the extent that the 4 gospels differ, it is proof that they are independent of each other; that there was no collusion and everything mentioned by more than one of them is doubly validated by the historical narrative.

  7. Dalibor Šver says:

    There is an excellent book I’ve read regarding this topic:
    “Reasons For Belief: A Handbook of Christian Evidence” by John M. Oakes, Ph.D. published by http://www.ipibooks.com .
    It’s a step by step analyze of this subject why Jesus is what He claims He is.

  8. Awe Clement says:

    Exd. 24:10-11 “And they saw the God of Israel…and did eat and drink. If the Bible say nobody can see God and live, how come about this episode?

      • Jim Brechtel says:

        I also used to question how Moses could survive the sight of God. I believe there is another answer to this question and it is found in the spirit of what Jesus Christ taught and in the written Word of God.

        From personal experience, I believe there is no contradiction. I believe that I, myself, have seen God. To explain why I believe this we would have to converse at length. But I have truly seen Him and spoken with Him. Because of this, I no longer have a desire for anything this world has to offer. In fact, I find myself repulsed by the things most people spend their lives in pursuit of. This is neither being judgmental of others nor indulgence of self-elevation above others but an attempt to describe my personal experience.

        Living in this world is much like a great persecution, in and of itself. It’s as though standing with one foot in the Living Waters and one foot in the land of the dead. The land of the dead makes one feel unclean. I long to fully immerse myself in the Living Waters and be fully cleansed but having one foot stuck in the land of the dead prevents me from doing so. There is no longer anything in this world that I desire other than doing God’s will. In other words, because I have seen God, I have died to this world and long for the day when I can be with Him in paradise.

        Truly, no-one can see God and live.

        • Jay says:

          Dear moderator, would it be possible for me to arrange connection with Mr Jim Bretchtel outwith the blog on this through you or Perry if Jim is willing to do so.

          Dear Jim

          I too have been in the presence of God. I was told by a person who I believe was as she claimed a heavenly messenger. I know and understand what you are saying Exodus 33:20 Moses saw God’s back because he could not see his face and live. However Moses Nadab, Abihu, Aaron and seventy other men got to see a vision of God Exodus 24:9

          If God allowed you to see him and not by means of a heavenly intermediator nor his Son Christ Jesus according to scripture you wouldn’t have seen his face and continued living. Also when Moses was in God’s presence his face emmitted rays. Did you have that experience? I do understand what you say about not wanting life after being in God’s presence.

          God would therefore have a purpose for you to fulfil on earth. I have been instructed to contact someone who will carry out God’s Will at this time. There will be two men chosen to do this work which I believe may correspond with the prophecy in Isaiah 28:21 “For Jehovah will rise up just as at Mount Perazim, he will be agitated just in the low plain near Gibeon, that he may do his deed- his deed is strange- and that he may do his work- his work is unusual. And now do not show yourselves scoffers in order that your bands may not grow strong for there is an extermination, even something decided upon, that I have heard of from the Sovereign Lord, Yhaouvah of armies, for all the land. These were the words spoken by Isaiah to the Israelites. Do they have meaning also for us today?

          I was told to take my shoes of as I was entering into a Holy Place in the presence of the True God. I was told His name and His purposes for his servants and for the earth.

          Do you think it would be possible to communicate further outwith the blog on these matters?

        • robert taylor says:

          No-one can see God and live?
          What about the prophet Joseph Smith? He claimed to have actually met Jesus and his father, Almighty God, as well as Moses, Eligah and some other ancient prophets.
          Was he deluded? Is anyone who claims to have seen God deluded?
          There are something like 6 million followers of Joseph Smith in the world today. They all have ‘Faith’.
          whats going on here?

          • Jim Brechtel says:

            Robert Taylor, You did not read my post. I, too, claim to have seen God and bear witness that one cannot see God and live. You might ask how I can say that. The answer is this: Truly, having seen God, there is nothing material in this world that I desire.

            Regarding Joseph Smith, if he did see and communicate with a spirit, it wasn’t God. If he had truly seen God, he would not have placed so much importance in his religion on material wealth. He made many outrageous claims that have no evidence to support them, whatsoever. For instance the ludicrous notion that the promised land was in the Americas. After reading just some of what he wrote, it’s amazing that anyone believed that guy at all. I don’t mean to offend anyone. But after having seen and communicated with the real Jesus Christ, I just don’t believe a stitch of what Joseph Smith said/wrote and believe he is one of the primier con artists of recent history.

            • robert taylor says:

              Jim,
              America seems to be the place for false prophets to appear in. So many tele evangelists driving round in big cars, asking for money from believers.
              But I am not a believer in Joseph Smith because of 1 Nephi 11-20. Its where the spirit speaks to Nephi and says that “God has delivered this non-believer into your hands. Do with him as you will”. So Nephi cuts off the head of the non-believer, who is asleep, on the floor, in a drunken stupor.The non-believer also happens to be his own brother. When people who claim to hear the vioce of God, or spirit, telling them that they are right and good, others are wrong and evil, what chance have we got for real Truth and understanding? After reading the bible, I say the same as you say about the book of Mormon, its amazing that anyone believes any of it.
              If we want to find peace on earth and good will to all men, we need to recognize that all divine revelation is Delusion.

              • Jim Brechtel says:

                Correct. God would not do such a thing described as you say, in 1 Nephi 11-20. That sounds much like what “Allah” instructs muslims to do. Allah is not the God of Abraham nor of Christians, nor a god at all. I believe it’s important to recognize that neither of these religions have roots in divine revelation.

                Just because there are foolish men who take advantage of believers to line their pockets does not invalidate the Truth about God; And not all who preach do so for illegitimate personal gain but because God has sent them. There are ways to discern a false prophet and also to recognize the voice of Truth.

                Robert, I believe you are seeking Truth. I pray you receive it. You already have some of the Truth but there are untruths obstructing your ultimate goal. Although, you do not currently have a basis for understanding these things which you cannot yet see, I believe you will be shown. I encourage you to continue your search. You will find the Truth; And when you find the Truth, you will rejoice in it.

                • Caleb Culberson says:

                  “After reading just some of what he wrote, it’s amazing that anyone believed that guy at all. I don’t mean to offend anyone. But after having seen and communicated with the real Jesus Christ, I just don’t believe a stitch of what Joseph Smith said…”

                  No offense, but wow…

                  Did you know that the most common form of discrimination in the world is religious discrimination? Yea… Everyone just loves to believe that their religion or denomination is the most solid out of the bunch… which is a paradox really!

                  I do agree with you though… Joseph Smiths stories are a little more nutty than most, but not by much…

                  • Jim Brechtel says:

                    Re: “Everyone just loves to believe that their religion or denomination is the most solid out of the bunch… which is a paradox really!”

                    The good news is that I don’t just believe that Christianity is the only solid Truth, I *know* it is. I have been shown the evidence and, for me, the case is closed.

                    Btw – there is really no such thing as a paradox. A paradox is nothing more than a deception created by combining two supposed truths. Doesn’t exist.

                    • Caleb Culberson says:

                      You “know” it is? What a surprise… And what evidence? Personal feelings is not evidence… And the case is still very open to alot of people. Why not show this solid evidence to the world?

                      Ok… Maybe oxymoron is a better suited word. The word denomination itself almost proves Christianity to be wrong. I’ve had this talk with Perry… Why are there so many denominations of Christianity if only 1 interpretation is right? (And I’m sure it just so happens that yours is right…) Why are there so many religions in the world if only 1 is right? I’ve said this before. Other religions feel just as strongly about theirs as you do yours. If you say you are 100% right and they are wrong, while they say that they are just as confident, who is really right? Occam’s Razor says no one!

                    • perrymarshall says:

                      If all Christians believed exactly and precisely the same thing, you would accuse us of being unable to think for ourselves.

                      But that’s not the case. In Christianity it is perfectly acceptable and in fact expected that individuals will think through the questions and come to their own conclusions about all manner of secondary belief issues. 95+ percent of Christians agree on the major beliefs such as espoused in the apostles creed.

                      So pick which of these two things you want to criticize us for – either unity or diversity – but you can’t pick both.

                      BTW Occam’s Razor has nothing to do with the point you’re trying to make here.

                    • Tim Pickering says:

                      Do you genuinly think thats the biggest resaon for diverse Christian denomination – or isn’t it just people playing power and politics with religion?

                    • perrymarshall says:

                      Both are true. That’s what 7 great lies of organized religion is all about.

                    • Jim Brechtel says:

                      The reason for division in Christianity is due to the enemy, satan, who seeks to destroy the Church and ruin souls. After all, it’s going to be chained in the abyss for eternity and misery loves company.

                    • Brianisha says:

                      ALL christians believe in Jesus Christ. What they believe about him after, is irrelevant. let us stick to that before we split more than hairs shall we?

                  • Jun Mahusay says:

                    “Did you know that the most common form of discrimination in the world is religious discrimination?”

                    I didn’t know that and I still don’t. It would be a big help if you could demonstrate the validity of that statement.

                    “Yea… Everyone just loves to believe that their religion or denomination is the most solid out of the bunch… which is a paradox really!”

                    I believe that that’s the most reasonable thing to do. Otherwise, you end up being a skeptic which actually amounts to nothing.

                    First you assume that what you have been told by the people you love and who love you and therefore are worthy of your trust, are true until somebody presents evidences to the contrary that are not possible to controvert.

                    I mean solid and positive evidence that is capable of proving something and not just claims and intrigues that are unproven and only tend to cast a doubt on your existing beliefs.

                    I may be wrong here but I have this belief that many of those who threw away their childhood beliefs threw them away for beliefs that have no convincing proofs.

                    In my case, I retain what I have learned from my parents until someone comes along claiming something that contradicts them and is beyond doubt.

                    • Jun Mahusay says:

                      ‘Why are there so many denominations of Christianity if only 1 interpretation is right? (And I’m sure it just so happens that yours is right…) Why are there so many religions in the world if only 1 is right? I’ve said this before. Other religions feel just as strongly about theirs as you do yours. If you say you are 100% right and they are wrong, while they say that they are just as confident, who is really right?’

                      There are many religions in the world because of the limitations of human knowledge. We know things part by part depending on the standpoint.

                      Our human mind is not capable of grasping reality in its entirety in one act. Depending on from where you are looking at something, you see a part of that thing but not the whole thing.

                      Others who are looking at the same thing see other parts different than what you’re seeing. And when you compare with each other about what you know about the thing you don’t agree because you are seeing different aspects of the same thing.

                      On the question of God, you have experienced the diversity of opinions and you have concluded that there is no God (skepticism).

                      The same diversity has taught me that I must not rest in learning about God until God gives me rest in his eternal kingdom because I now see him face to face.

                      This means being open to different testimonies of different people including atheists like you because each one has one aspect of the question of God that only he can see from where he is situated. That aspect I can use to complete the puzzle as far as possible in this lifetime. This lifetime is not enough.

                      Even the Roman Catholic Church which claims infallibility in matters of faith and morals says that Catholic doctrine though correct are incomplete and therefore is open to development.

                      That’s also why tradition is precious to me. I can never be in the past and have that perspective which the people in the past had.
                      I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I accept the discoveries of Isaac Newton as a matter of faith and don’t trouble myself with the proof just as I have accepted my parents’ testimony that God exists.

                      In a way all human knowledge is incorrect because it is incomplete but given a well-defined range of validity all human knowledge could also be correct.

                      Newton’s 3 laws of motion were correct for a long time until Einstein proved them inadequate. They are wrong in a way but also correct provided that the range of validity is stated: only for motions involving speeds considerably lower than the speed of light.

                      So which religion is correct? You should be able to draw the conclusion from the discussion above.

                    • Caleb Culberson says:

                      The first quote should be easy to understand. Everyone thinks others beliefs are wrong if they differ from their own. Everyone believes in one thing or another. (Except for atheist. But even they fall into the group.) So you should trust your parents religion because they love you and can’t be wrong? I became an atheist around the age of 18, so I didn’t discard my religion for unconvincing proofs, but rather educated assumptions on the truth of the matter.

                      So there are so many religions because…

                      Lack of human knowledge.
                      Lack of clear perspective.
                      Lack of completeness.

                      Agreed. These are definitely things that could lead to so many denominations. Not atheism though…

                      “In a way all human knowledge is incorrect because it is incomplete but given a well-defined range of validity all human knowledge could also be correct.”

                      Incorrectness depends on how incomplete the subject is. All human knowledge is not subjective to 1 persons achievements being improved. Einstein didn’t overturn everything Newton said…

                      All I got from your conclusion is that you should just believe what your parents tell you. Definitely not good enough given the fact that parents are telling their kids all sorts of stuff all over the world.

            • Tim Pickering says:

              in what form, exactly, did this communication take place? Apart from not starting a new cult of christianity, how did it differ from what happened to Joseph Smith?

              • Jim Brechtel says:

                It won’t matter how I describe the communication. It’s not something I really understand and so there is nothing I can say that would adequately describe the experience. When I have seen Him, it has often been in a public place where others could also see. Yet, not everyone sees. I can’t explain this. So, the best I can do is tell you that I have seen Him and communicated. Either you believe me or you do not.

                I don’t know how what happened with Joseph Smith differs, since I was not there. All I can do is speculate. I do know that his writings are false. So, to further the speculation, either he concocted the whole thing or a spirit spoke to him. If it was a spirit, then I surmise that it was not God but a deceiver. This is where we might get into a discussion about discernment. Discernment is not always easy and not something to take lightly.

                btw – I do not condemn Joseph Smith nor judge his followers. I do not know his circumstances and it’s not my place to judge others. Perhaps he was a victim of deception. All I know is that his writings are false and we will likely never know the truth about his source.

  9. Darryl Braund says:

    Greetings Perry
    Can you please explain the rationale for the typically anti-religious stance of Communism ?
    Cheers
    Darryl

    • perrymarshall says:

      I’m sure others could do this better than I can. But here’s my best shot: Communism rests on the premise that private ownership of property is wrong and all property should be commonly controlled and owned. This idea is explicitly contrary to the Judeo-Christian idea of property ownership. Since in the Judeo-Christian worldview God and faith are higher priority than government, Communism is not compatible with Christian culture. I am sure that this is similarly true in Muslim culture. I don’t know about Buddhism or Hinduism.

      • Jim Brechtel says:

        I’m not an expert on communism. However, the notion of communism has taken multiple forms. One being a commune created for so-called Gnostic Christians by the man who started the Oneida (sp?) silverware company. He was investigated in the US for crimes related to “communism” and fled to Canada.

        The separation of religion from communism in the Soviet Union is also highly misleading. Soviet communism, at least in the beginning, is sometimes referred to as “Judaic communism”. Here’s why:

        The Jewish community rightly makes a lot of noise about Hitler’s crimes against humanity in WWII, when he had Jews imprisoned and slaughtered in death camps. The public view is that Jews are the ones who primarily suffered. However, there is another side to history that seems to be conveniently swept under the rug. What most people don’t seem to know is that millions of Christians were slaughtered by the Bolsheviks in the Russian revolution that brought communism. According to some reports, thousands of Christians were even crucified. The Bolsheviks were, apparently, primarily Jews.

        This might be highly controversial but the facts speak for themselves. I am not anti-semetic and do not blame all Jews for what happened to Christians at the hands of the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union. However, the Jewish community would do well to also acknowledge the role of Jews in the holocaust against Christians during the Bolshevik revolution. Here is just one website you can visit to learn more: http://www.revisionisthistory.org/communist.html

        Communism in China, North Korea, Cuba, etc, may have similar roots but I don’t think theirs started with a religious group, as it did the Bolsheviks in Russia.

  10. Bruce Teifer says:

    You forgot to mention that none of the “sources” you quoted were actual eye witnesses, as none of the canonical gospels were either. Why does Paul not speak of the earthly Jesus?
    Virtually all other claims of Jesus come from sources outside of Christian writings. Devastating to the claims of Christians, however, comes from the fact that all of these accounts come from authors who lived after the alleged life of Jesus. Since they did not live during the time of the hypothetical Jesus, none of their accounts serve as eyewitness evidence.

    Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian, lived as the earliest non-Christian who mentions a Jesus. Although many scholars think that Josephus’ short accounts of Jesus (in Antiquities) came from interpolations perpetrated by a later Church father (most likely, Eusebius), Josephus’ birth in 37 C.E., well after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus, puts him out of range of an eyewitness account. Moreover, he wrote Antiquities in 93 C.E., after the first gospels got written! Therefore, even if his accounts about Jesus came from his hand, his information could only serve as hearsay.

    Pliny the Younger (born: 62 C.E.) His letter about the Christians only shows that he got his information from Christian believers themselves. Regardless, his birth date puts him out of range as an eyewitness account.

    Tacitus, the Roman historian’s birth year at 64 C.E., puts him well after the alleged life of Jesus. He gives a brief mention of a “Christus” in his Annals (Book XV, Sec. 44), which he wrote around 109 C.E. He gives no source for his material. Although many have disputed the authenticity of Tacitus’ mention of Jesus, the very fact that his birth happened after the alleged Jesus and wrote the Annals during the formation of Christianity, shows that his writing can only provide us with hearsay accounts.

    Suetonius, a Roman historian, born in 69 C.E. mentions a “Chrestus,” a common name. Apologists assume that “Chrestus” means “Christ” (a disputable claim). But even if Seutonius had meant “Christ,” it still says nothing about an earthly Jesus. Just like all the others, Suetonius’ birth occurred well after the purported Jesus. Again, only hearsay.

    Talmud: Amazingly some Christians use brief portions of the Talmud, (a collection of Jewish civil a religious law, including commentaries on the Torah), as evidence for Jesus. They claim that Yeshu (a common name in Jewish literature) in the Talmud refers to Jesus. However, this Jesus, according to Gerald Massey actually depicts a disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perachia at least a century before the alleged Christian Jesus. [Massey] Regardless of how one interprets this, the Palestinian Talmud got written between the 3rd and 5th century C.E., and the Babylonian Talmud between the 3rd and 6th century C.E., at least two centuries after the alleged crucifixion! At best it can only serve as a controversial Christian and pagan legend; it cannot possibly serve as evidence for a historical Jesus.

    • perrymarshall says:

      So… why aren’t Matthew and John eye witnesses?

      BTW this page addresses this general subject quite well: http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/anne-rice-atheist-christ/

    • Anthony Waters says:

      One other thing to note is that Jesus’ last name was not “Christ”. Referring to Chrestus and linking this to
      Jesus as the complete family name of Jesus Christ is incorrect. Jesus “the” Christ is more correct as Christ is a title. Jesus of Nazareth was more likely the name that people knew him by. Did you know that native North American people used a similar method of identifying others. A name such as Mary Walking Fast could have been an example, or John Iroquoise, meaning he was a person from the Iroquois tribe. The times that Jesus lived in used a similar approach to identify people with the same first name.

    • robert taylor says:

      The early historians qouted above only tell us that the ‘faith’ of Christianity existed at the time of writing. They are not evidence for the actual existence of Jesus.
      Luke 1:1-4, tells us that he was not a witness to the things that he writes about, but that ‘many had had a hand’, in compiling the things already believed in, by those he writes to.He does not tell us who those ‘many who had had an hand’where, or when they had compiled,’that which they already believed in’. It is probable that the other Gospel writers got their information from the same unknown source. The ‘faith’ in Jesus is probably much older than the time ascribed to it.
      Jesus himself comes in the same category as the other Sons of God stories, Mythology.This is probably what the philosophers told Paul at Mars Hill.He tries tell them that the unknown God is the same God that he worships in the form of Jesus.See Acts 17:22-33.

  11. Darryl Braund says:

    Hi Perry

    What is your understanding of this Sacred Prophecy :

    1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

    (King James Bible, Revelation)

    • perrymarshall says:

      It refers to the 2nd coming of Christ.

      • Darryl Braund says:

        Thanks Perry

        More specifically, what if “every eye shall see Him” ….. eventually…… but initially, he shall be obscured “in the clouds” ? This could mean that He has already come ! and only the sharpest eyes of perception have seen Him – so far! Which is why we need to be so Alert and Watchful. And this interpretation would also give added dimension and meaning to Him “coming as a thief in the night” IE while we are asleep in ignorance.

        Yet as His New Teachings become more widespread, more and more seekers of God, with “ears to hear” will awaken to His Greater Manifestation of the “Spirit of Truth” until there shall eventually be the long-awaited World Peace – as promised, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done…”, and there shall be ‘One Shepherd and One Flock’ and it will be then, that “every eye shall see Him”, and not straight away…..(?)

        Cheers

  12. Zach H says:

    Perry,

    I was brought up a good Irish Catholic and I have been boosted by reading through your site (and Cosmic Fingerprints, which I found first), but I have to admit I’m struggling with my faith at the moment. There was one recent event that triggered the doubt in my mind, and another realisation which is keeping it there. I’ll relate them both if I may, and I’d really appreciate your perspective if you have the time.

    Ironically, the event that started this all off was a talk (in office hours, sponsored by my company) given by a local Protestant preacher on what was wrong about Dawkin’s book ‘The God Delusion’. I went along with an open mind – I was quite relaxed about religion and my faith and I really just wanted to see what the fuss was about.

    In the talk, I was struck by the arguments of the preacher. His rebuttal focussed on one of the points in the God Delusion which is where Dawkins says ‘All religions are the same’. The preacher’s whole response to this boiled down to him saying; ‘Aha! This is the flaw in Dawkins argument; he says all religions are the same; they’re not; Christianity is different; why? Because it says so in the Bible.’ I couldn’t help thinking that, say if he had been a local rabbi, or an Imam, or a Buddhist monk, he would probably be saying exactly the same thing. That started me wondering what made Christianity special or different? Why is the Bible ‘better’ than those other Holy Books?

    I was also struck by my fellow attendees at the talk. When the preacher was making a point about how science had explained many things since Jesus’ time, like for example, why the sun rose in the east, and why the rain fell, etc – one lady got very angry and insisted that God still made the sun rise every morning and made the rain fall; all by His will. Another guy told the room how he was converted because he lay in a field of grass when he was 18 and actually heard God whisper a couple of words in his ear. I have to admit I’d never met people who were so vehement and insistent about their religious experiences.

    Now, I studied psychology at college, and I’ve kept up to date on the neuroscience journals as they are still relevant to my job. I know that there have been many repeated experiments done recently where religious feelings, visions and sounds have been produced in people’s minds by artificial means – usually by transcranial electrical stimulation after ‘priming’ the subjects with religious imagery. It had always been my view that ghost stories (and probably many religious experiences) were as a result of these types of brain activity firing off by itself. But continuing my previous thought process – what if these types of experiences by a few key people, magnified over time (like Chinese whispers) were the source of many of the stories in the Holy Books…even the Bible? I’ve read elsewhere here that there are inconsistencies and errors in the Bible so you should only take it as a fuzzy edged story rather than a history or science book; this only seems to reinforce the potential fallibility of It as a document of truth & proof.

    The seeds having been sown, I started to do some comparative analysis on various religions (growing up in a school run by priests, we had over an hour of RE every day but we never got told anything about other religions! – a tragedy!).

    I’m a scientist by trade now, and have an analytical, empirical-based way of looking at things. When I looked into the various religions that are out there, most put great store (and by ‘store’ I mean that they use them as a guide but also as proof) in their Holy Books; the Bible, the Qu’ran, etc. This is what the preacher had done. I had always thought that it would be great if you could run an ‘experiment’ to see whether you could make up a religion based on a very charismatic personality, and see whether it could turn into something big. If you could, then it would show that any of the worlds religions just needed some time and they would grow. If you couldn’t, then it would demonstrate that there was something unique about Christianity….and then I found out about the Church of the Latter Day Saints! What a story! Joseph Smith, a mystic and treasure hunter, is ‘visited’ by an angel who gives him some golden plates that noone else sees, and founds a religion based on this story. This is my ‘experiment’ come to life, and I never knew about it until I did some solid reading. Unfortunately, this wasn’t what I needed to hear as it validated my hypothesis that all it takes is a good story, a good leader and some time to grow the legend.

    So now the issue that’s now keeping the doubt in my mind is; how can we trust that the Bible and the Christian Church is the ‘right’ religion, when the only difference between it and the Church of the Latter Day Saints is about 1800 years? They almost match otherwise. They both had charismatic leaders with many followers; they both have Holy Books written by men (and therefore potentially fallible) discussing miracles and visitations, etc; and they’ve both built up considerable followings around the world over varying periods of time.

    Does “Charismatic Person+Holy Book+Time=Religion”? The Christian church I grew up in fits this formula, as does the Church of the Latter Day Saints. As does the Church of Scientology as far as I can see (although I don’t know a lot about it – I know in the US it’s classified as a religion but it doesn’t have that status in Europe).

    If I ‘run’ an experiment twice today with the same result, what reason do I have to believe that it would be different 1800 years ago? How can I know Christianity is ‘right’ without using the Bible as the main basis?

    Yours, in doubt,
    Zach

    • perrymarshall says:

      Zach,

      From a certain POV answers like “because the bible says so” are good but that only works for some people. That doesn’t necessarily work for me.

      In no particular order, some thoughts and links – btw I would encourage you to read/listen to the links very carefully cuz there’s a lot here:

      1. Christianity is the only religion that 100% endorses another religion – namely Judaism.

      2. The Jewish culture is the only intact culture after 4000 years – same holidays, religion, customs and language. The Christian culture is the 2nd oldest intact culture. All others are in ruins.

      3. Science got started in Rome, Greece, China, Egypt and Islam and stalled in all those cultures. It got started in Christian Europe and became a juggernaut. Why? Because it had a theology to support it. See Why I embrace Christianity as opposed to other views:
      http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/blog/faq/#christian

      4. In the above link you will also find reference to miracles (read and follow every link, there’s a lot there) and the extremely unique claims of Christ.

      5. I often ask people:

      “Name 5 protestant Christian countries that have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses.”

      And:

      “Name 5 Buddhist countries… or 5 Hindu countries… or 5 Muslim countries… or 5 Atheist countries… that do NOT have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses.”

      6. The modern Western idea of equality originated in Christianity and nowhere else. See http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/equality-technology/

      7. There are myriads of theories about Jesus’ resurrection but the only one for which there is any significant consensus – and for which there is any significant historical evidence – is that He actually rose from the dead. See http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/what-we-know-about-jesus-and-the-resurrection/

      8. Anne Rice gives a superb argument for the traditional Christian interpretation of Jesus and the gospels at http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/anne-rice-atheist-christ/

      9. I think that if you take the Bible as only an account of what happened, written down by people who were there or passed down to the writers by oral tradition (which in ancient cultures was much more reliable than modern people with Google-assisted memories would ever assume) – and if you do not assume it’s inerrant, but only reasonably accurate – it loses VERY little. In particular the prophesies in the Old Testament – which we now know were undoubtedly written BEFORE Christ, match Jesus in a most uncanny way. This is an entire rabbit hole worth exploring. http://www.gty.org/Resources/Print/Sermons/1320

      10. Genesis 1: If you make a very modest set of assumptions – “day” is a period of time, vantage point is terrestrial, “animals” = livestock, Genesis 1 matches modern cosmology and the fossil record tit for tat. See http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/audio/newevidence.htm

      11. Archaeology overwhelmingly supports the Bible. It does NOT support the book of Mormon. BTW there is a LOT of similarity between Islam and Mormonism – stop and consider that for a bit.

      12. I believe that one begins with faith but one’s spiritual life grows through EXPERIENCE. Contrary to the modern “enlightenment” notion that the universe is a closed system, people really do have spiritual experiences. Yes I can understand if it seems at first like this is just peoples’ imagination or over-excited neurons. But I think if you look a little closer and spend some time exploring this deeper not only will you find that their experiences are consistent and real, but you will have your own experience with God as well.

      BTW did you see this article? http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/top10/

      I hope this helps. Let me know if there are other things I can help with –

      Perry

      • Sheldon Custer says:

        Perry/Zach,

        First, I would like to thank Perry for making the effort to inform all of us about the existance of God. My reply here centers on the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

        I am a member of the LDS Church. I joined the Church in my 17th year not becuase I had to, but because I finally found something that made sense. You could say that my story was very similar to the prophet Joseph’s.

        Zach, your ‘experiment: holy book + charimatic leader = time = religion’ seems OK, but doesn’t apply here. For one, how long is ‘time’? One year, one decade, one century? This would be very hard to quantify.

        Aslo, you need to realize that many of the members that joined in the early church had never seen or heard the prophet. So the ‘charismatic leader’ doesn’t fit into the equation either.

        Perry, I am studying Islam now. I am in a Muslim country and have many Muslim friends. I will have to disagree with your assertion “BTW there is a LOT of similarity between Islam and Mormonism”. There is very little in common other than the first prophet of each recieved instruction from God.

        The Prophet Mohammed recieved revelation from God and only once. The Prophet Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father and the Son (which makes our religion vastly different than other christian relegions). founding prophet had a vision. He was then visited by other angelic messengers and recieved instruction. In Islam, all is done. In the LDS religion, there is continuing revelation. And one last item. The LDS religion is not a new religion as Zach suggests. It is the Church of the Restored Gospel. Joseph Smith was simply the messenger.

        There are many other tenants and beliefs that are different. I am sure there are other similarities, but these would apply to all chistian religions and not just to the LDS sect.

          • Sheldon Custer says:

            Perry, when I first connected with you it was on your Information Theory and how God ‘spoke’ thorough DNA, thus proving intelligent design. At the time, I was intrigued and thought you had more enlightening information to pass on. However, after following the link that you provided in you reply to my last post, I have serious doubts as to your ability to properly research and therefore comment on any subject.(http://nowscape.com/mormon/mormon_islam_similarities.htm)

            It took me a while to stop laughing when I visited this site. Anyone who has taken the time to actually inveistigate the LDS church or Islam would know that many of these claims are in error or downright false. Besides that, the author can’t even spell correctly. Please, before you offer up any more gems of wisdom or special links, do some proper reseach and vet the sites that you are promoting.

            Peace out, Bro. I am out of here.

            Not that I consider you bad, just that you don’t seem to take the time to correctly investigate a subject before commenting on it.

            • perrymarshall says:

              I spent no more than about 20 seconds finding this link. I’m sure there are better articles which delineate this thesis. Spelling errors notwithstanding, I think the author has accurately pointed out quite a few similarities between Islam and Mormonism: Revelation by an angel to a single special prophet; polygamy; a statement that Judeo-Christianity is nice but tragically incomplete; gross distortion of the person of Jesus Christ. You are welcome to dispute any of these specific statements.

      • Tim Pick says:

        In answer to your question..
        South africa
        Swaziland
        Rwanda
        Papau New guinue
        Jamaica

        Can you tell me 5 countries situated in the tropics that have a high standard of living? Why do you think Japan has a standard of living similar to western countries – might it just be connected with its geographical circumstance? (island nation in the temperate zone with four distinct seasons) – or are Shinto countries also blessed?

        Why are Catholic countries omitted from your test? Is it because many of them are situated in the tropics and thus don’t fit? Or is really due to the vague difference in theology?

        These are questions i often ask fanatics that think christianity is the answer for everything!

        • perrymarshall says:

          Tim,

          To the best of my knowledge, all of the countries you name have had significant human rights abuses and / or extreme poverty in the last 20 years. The Rwandan genocide was only 15 years ago. The South African apartheid crisis was only 25 years ago. I don’t know much about Swaziland. But it doesn’t leave one with so much as 5. Am I missing something?

          You are right, I omitted Catholic countries. There are lots of Catholic countries with significant amounts of poverty. Very few protestant countries where that is the case, and those who are – like some of the ones you mention above – have become more prosperous as they’ve become more Christian.

          Japan is clearly an exception to the general rule. I’m not saying there are no exceptions. I’m just saying there is a general rule and it’s not an accident.

          You are also right in pointing out that countries in the tropics do not do as well. Pure speculation, but I suspect it’s because harsh winters force countries to be technologically ambitious.

          Perry

          • Tim Pick says:

            I don’t really understand your answer, what is the relevance of them having human rights abuses only in the last 20 years? The point I am making is that suggesting countries prosperity and general standard of living is related to their religion is a spurious one – and to use it as an argument in support of being Protestant Christian is highly dubious and surely disingenuous!
            The South African apartheid crisis may have come to a head 25 years ago – but surely you realise it had been going on much longer than that. The vast majority of white South Africans, who were responsible for such an abhorrent system of government, being Protestant Christians.
            Obviously a countries development is heavily related to geographical position, climate, resources and its history. All credible research by geographers, historians and anthropologists points to this – whatever validity your other arguments have for endorsing Christianity, you lose a lot of credibility by making this claim.
            Lets exam this ludicrous claim in more detail.
            Why are the southern states of the USA, the bible belt states, generally much poorer than other states? Why do they have a higher crime rate? Why is corruption higher? You must think this strange when evangelical Protestantism is a more significant part of the culture in these places than in the wealthier states! Or, in this example, is it actually to do with their history, climate and resources?
            The UK, to take another example, today is a secular nation; only 7% go to church outside of marriages / funerals. Although a small majority still maintain a belief in a god, (that’s a general belief there is some notion of god, but not necessarily a Christian or protestant god) it has no relevance to daily life. The proportion of agnostics and atheists has been growing steadily over the past 25 years. This compares sharply with the earlier part of the previous century when a majority attended church regularly and a majority identified strongly with the Anglican (protestant) church. Since this time the nation’s wealth has continued to grow uniformly, and human rights have certainly improved as powerful institutions have become more accountable. How does this fit with your reasoning?
            For every countries wealth, happiness and rate of development, there are clear geographical, social and historical reasons to explain it – which do not include religion (or only as a by product of these significant factors). None of it has to do with some divine preference for a particular version of an archaic antiquated religious text. If you can genuinely think of an example of a protestant country excelling out of proportion to its ‘natural situation’ or a non-protestant country doing visa versa then I would be very interested to hear. Until then, please refrain from ever asking your
            “5 protestant Christian countries that have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses.” test, and the similar ridiculous question about “5 Buddhist countries… or 5 Hindu countries… or 5 Muslim countries… or 5 Atheist countries… that do NOT have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses”. The question in no way validates your chosen religious belief – it does you and your argument no service.

            • perrymarshall says:

              Tim,

              I’m not claiming 100% correlation between protestantism and healthy society. I don’t feel any need to respond to your alleged statistics regarding the southern states. The last time someone brought that up, he was an atheist, and I asked him how the atheist countries are doing. Last I checked they’d killed 100 million people in the 20th century and the 3 worst tyrants in all human history (Lenin, Stalin, Mao) were all rabid atheists.

              “Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.“ -Vladimir Lenin

              Is that just a coincidence? Decide for yourself.

              I’m pointing out the simple fact that nobody can name 5 protestant Christian countries that have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses. I think it’s interesting that nobody can think of 5 Buddhist countries… or 5 Hindu countries… or 5 Muslim countries… or 5 Atheist countries… that do NOT have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses.

              In Rwanda, 800,000 people were killed in 100 days just 15 years ago. Those events are still fresh in the memories of everyone who lives there. I don’t personally think Rwanda does a good job supporting your thesis. If you think Rwanda is a strong candidate for a non-Christian country with lots of respect for human rights, then you’re entitled to your opinion.

              • Tim Pick says:

                Perry,

                Thank you for your reply. I think we have a misunderstanding. The five countries I listed….

                South Africa
                Swaziland
                Rwanda
                Papua New Guinea
                Jamaica

                Were examples of Protestant countries – who suffer from a low standard of living and human rights abuses – not the other way round. Sorry If I wasn’t clear in my original post. In each case the biggest religion is Protestantism, in the case of Jamaica and South Africa it is a very large majority. Again, I apologise if that wasn’t originally clear – it was not my intention. But it certainly begs the question, how does this fit with your ‘5 country’ test question?

                As for your belief that you “don’t feel any need to respond to {my} alleged statistics regarding the southern states” I can only ask why? You admit yourself that you are “not claiming 100% correlation between Protestantism and healthy society” and yet you use the 5 country test question as some sort of validation of Christianities divine right. Either you do, or you don’t. I am sorry, but I personally find such liberal usage of ‘statistical evidence’ to benefit your opinion a bit lame – and also somewhat offensive to the non-Christian nations you have damned!
                You have clearly started this website to encourage honest and intelligent debate. And I admire that. Can you please then acknowledge that your position on the correlation between Protestantism and healthy society is not based on any meaningful statistical evidence and refrain from using it again. Your other points supporting your belief may well be legitimate, I don’t know. But this one is opportunist and highly misleading and you have offered no data to back it up.

                I am interested to hear your reply.

                Regards

                Tim

                • perrymarshall says:

                  Tim, thanks for clarifying.

                  I wish to congratulate you on being the first to name 5 protestant countries with significant poverty and human rights abuses. If you try, yes, can come up with 5. All but South Africa are quite small.

                  Southern states: Let’s suppose the worst of them is Mississippi. Household income is $37,000. How does that compare to most other countries in the world? If you travel abroad, you find that “poverty” in the United States is an entirely different thing than poverty in, say, Brazil.

                  What we see here is essentially the 80/20 rule. The 20% of the world that has 80% of the prosperity is largely Christian and the 80% of the world that has 20% of the prosperity is largely non-Christian. If I added a couple of restrictions to the 5 countries – let’s say minimum population of 20 million – you wouldn’t be able to come up with more than 2 or 3. If you look at the top 10 or 20 or 50 countries in the world and sort by per capita income, the ones at the top a predominately Christian and the ones at the bottom are predominately not. I think I have very meaningful statistical evidence.

                  • Tim Pick says:

                    Perry,
                    Thanks for the reply.
                    Firstly in regard to the point you make about American southern states. Yes, of course I am very well aware that poverty in the USA is on a completely different scale to many developing countries. However, you seem to miss the point I was making. The USA was, if you like, a micro study or case study of the global phenomena you seem to be suggesting. If indeed a predilection to the Protestant faith has some standard of living advantages, then this would surely also be apparent within a country, (especially one as large and diverse as America), as it would in comparisons between countries. So far, you don’t seem interested in addressing this point.
                    Secondly, I find the topic of development very interesting, so following on the points you made in your last reply I did a bit of quick research. I decided to examine the top 10 countries according to the HDI. The Human Development Index (HDI) is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide. The top 10 countries listed are as follows, plus a breakdown of their religious affiliation according to Wikipedia (not perfect I know, but anyway)-

                    1, Norway
                    (Only 20% of Norwegians say that religion occupies an important place in their life making Norway one of the most secular countries of the world)
                    2, Australia
                    (Australia has no state religion, it plays little part in most Australians lives and only around 7% of the population attend church)
                    3, Iceland (protestant with around 20% of the population attending church regularly)
                    4, Canada (a majority of Catholics over protestants – however, it has been recently suggested that Canada has come to enter a post-Christian or secular state, where practice of the religion has “moved to the margins of public life)
                    5, Ireland (catholic)
                    6, Netherlands (The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries in Western Europe, with only 39% being religiously affiliated -Currently, Roman Catholicism is the single largest religion of the Netherlands)
                    7, Sweden (several studies have found Sweden to be one of the least religious countries in the world, with one of the highest levels of atheism. According to different studies, between 46% and 85% of Swedes do not believe in God)
                    8, France
                    (Catholic 66% / non religious 24%)
                    9, Switzerland
                    (The country is historically about evenly balanced between Catholic and Protestant – although marginally more catholic)
                    10, Japan
                    (Number of Buddhists and Shintoists in Japan is 84–96%)

                    I presume from the statistics quoted from your last message, and your earlier reply that you don’t consider Catholicism to be part of Christianity (as far as your test is concerned, anyway). So keeping with that – out of the top 10 most developed countries in the world according to the HDI – only 4 are nominally Christian (Protestant) and three of these Protestant countries are described as being among the most agnostic/atheist countries in the world. Now if I wanted to make a causal link from this data I could easily say that statistically many of the top 10 are very secular, agnostic countries – and maybe this is a key reason why they are so high on the development list. It seems a very striking similarity the countries have. Of course, such a claim would be manipulating statistics for my own agenda. To put it simply, there are far stronger reasons than religion (or lack of it) to explain their development – not least geographical position. Admittedly Switzerland is a land locked country, but a very well positioned and resourced one – and all 10 countries have very advantageous and similar climate. (Do you think Mongolia didn’t make the list because it’s Buddhist, or because it is a landlocked country situated mostly in a desert?).
                    Now I could go on and on giving examples, but what I am really interested in is the reason for the ‘five countries’ test you gave – as it is not clear and I may have missed the point you were actually making. Was it to suggest that Protestant nations are some how more blessed than other nations, or was it that by following the Protestant culture, countries develop at a faster rate? This latter point is of course something Max Webber, in his observations in the ‘Protestant ethic and Capitalism’, would agree with. That, Northern European Christian nations, after the reformation, linked serious and studious hard work as well as solid investment with a devout and godly existence. Where as other cultures, e.g. Catholic nations, put more importance on rest, leisure time, extended family gatherings and so on. Thus, from a strictly capitalist perspective, those northern European countries came through the industrial revolution in a more wealthy position. So yes, I am agreeing with you, religion does play a part in a countries development. It is a factor, although quite a minor one. Religious “culture” that is. But following a particular religion because it’s cultural practices will make you richer is not really any justification for having a set of beliefs about the biggest questions there is (although that hasn’t stopped such a motivation from galvanizing millions in South Korea into becoming Protestant!) – and I am sure you also agree with that – I am presuming from your website that you are interested in the ‘truth’. So then, why mention the 5 country test at all? It must be that you do actually think Protestant nations are some how more blessed? Right?

                    Again, I’m interested in your response.

                    Regards!

                    • perrymarshall says:

                      I agree most of the countries on your list are more secular than the U.S. Yet almost all have a considerable Judeo-Christian tradition that infiltrates the court systems, concepts of justice and human rights, and are strongly influenced by Judeo-Christian ideas and values.

                      Across the entire globe, the correlation between prosperity and Christianity is striking. Within the US alone, there’s too much noise in the data and too little difference between the “good states” and the “bad states” to ascribe the differences to religion. You argue that geography is a major factor in Europe. Could I not make the same argument in the US? I just don’t think this type of argument is very strong one way or the other if you restrict it to the US.

                      I don’t believe people should follow a religion just because they think it’s going to make them rich or whatever. There’s so much more to it than that, and every religion says as much. But one of the promises consistently in the Bible is that if you obey God, you’ll prosper. The data we’re discussing supports this.

                      In my personal opinion, Catholicism is less adaptive than Protestantism and the Catholic church has some serious “quality control” problems. I have considerable respect for the Catholic faith but one cannot deny that a lot of Catholic countries have serious issues.

                      Orthodox has even worse problems. They couldn’t save Russia from the communists.

                      The other religions have still more problems.

                      I think the above observations are significant. And it seems atheism is the worst of all.

                      Why do I talk about this correlation? Because the two most powerful liberators of the last 1000 years – the rise of science and the belief that all humans are created equal – both originated from Christianity. See http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/equality-technology/

              • Zach H says:

                I’ve been reading this post for a while and I’m still trying to get my head around and unpack some of these big statements about atheism and Christianity – the for and against arguments against various branches of Christianity are very interesting here.

                Regarding Tim’s point about the southern states of the US, those ‘alleged’ statistics are actually fairly easy to check so I think his point stands and deserves an answer, rather than just playing the ‘Communism = Atheism = Evil’ card. Here’s what I used: http://www.bea.gov/scb/pdf/2009/06%20June/0609_gdp_state.pdf, but there are other sources which give similar figures.

                In my opinion, I think the answer is that it demonstrates that it is hard to find a direct correlation one way of the other between religious belief and healthy society (and even if there were, correlation does not mean causation).

                In terms of the point about countries, other largely atheist/non-religious countries include Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France…and while they have their problems, they do very well on international tables on literacy, poverty etc. It’s quite disheartening looking through lists of Muslim, Hindu…and Christian countries to answer Perry’s question as for almost all of them you can find stories that show problems with poverty, literacy and human rights (this includes the US – torture in Guantanamo was not a high point for the US in the Bush years). This just seems to demonstrate to me that social problems are common to all countries irrespective – again, implying that religious belief is not linked to a healthy society.

                Without putting words into Tim’s mouth, I think his thesis is that religion is unrelated to a nation’s social progress, and that therefore one can’t use a nation’s predominant religion as an indicator or predictor of social health. Based on what I’ve researched I would agree with this. In statistics, I’d call this a confounding variable – i.e. one that correlates positively and negatively with the test inputs. Whatever all the other arguments for God, religion, Christianity and Protestantism (some of which are much more compelling) I don’t think this one is very solid.

                Perry – what are the 5 Protestant countries that must be in your mind as positive examples of social health, when you ask the inverse question?

                The other part of the “various branches of Christianity” argument that I struggle with is the fact that Protestantism is about 400-500 years old. So within the Christian faith, if it was Catholicism for the first 1600 years, then Catholicism & Protestantism (and the various subsequent splinters) since then, does that mean Christianity had no merit until the Reformation? Or that God was waiting 1600 years for Martin Luther to split away from the established church, so that he could look more favourably on Luther’s followers and the countries they came to dominate? I might be mixing one of Perry’s other arguments about scientific progress in the West with this one here, but I find it interesting to wind the clock back to the birth of Protestantism to test some of these views.

                • perrymarshall says:

                  Zach,

                  I am not arguing 100% correlation. I’m arguing something more like 60 or 70% correlation.

                  I do not consider France and Scandinavia to be atheist countries. From Wiki:

                  Another study by Eurobarometer Poll 2005,[3] 31% of Danish citizens responded that “they believe there is a god”, whereas 49% answered that “they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force” and 19% that “they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force”. Though Christmas is considered to be Denmark’s most celebrated holiday, this is mostly due to cultural, rather than religious, reasons.

                  By the end of 2007, 82.1%[4] of the Danish population were members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church which dropped to 81.5 % in 2008…

                  At most Denmark is 20% atheist. I fully recognize that 80% being members of a church doesn’t necessarily mean that much, but Judeo-Christian thought permeates ALL these cultures. Denmark as arguably at least 30% Christian.

                  Christian countries not characterized by poverty and human rights abuses: Pick any southern state that Tim is criticizing and they’re all good examples. Do they have problems? Of course they do. Are those problems anywhere near as bad as Rwanda, China, Russia or Cambodia? No way. Those other countries are 10X, maybe 100X worse by any objective criteria.

                  Other Christian countries: England, Canada, Australia, Iceland.

                  I think that protestantism has fared well simply because it made the individual responsible for his relationship with God, rather than the institution.

                  I don’t think this is a matter of God waiting for something to happen to he could look more favorably on certain people. I think it’s a matter of returning to the original spirit of Christianity.

                  Christianity had a lot of merit before the reformation. Between 500 and 1500, many of the most prosperous countries in the world were Catholic.

                  And by any objective measurable criteria, atheism has a horribly embarrassing history. Arguably the worst of all. Natural Selection has not been kind to atheists or atheism. It’s nearly unheard of before 1800 and in the 20th century it’s a bloody nightmare. And I’m fighting atheism tooth and nail on my blogs because I believe if the New Atheists get the kind of world they really want, we’re in for a bloody 21st century as well.

                  • Brianisha says:

                    what the? The history books Ive read say that most wars are christian related, not atheist related. Wow, revisionism at its finest! History books should be protected, under lock and key the way some people have defiled history.

    • Anthony Waters says:

      Hah Zach, Your thought patterns and experiences are similar to mine. I came from a Catholic family and the priest’s name was father McAvoy at our school and church. My great great grandfather came from Ireland too, County Cork, an Irish Catholic type of place. I always said that the Irish Catholics are “different” from the others. Do Irish Catholics question the faith more than the others? I think so. Why? Because lurking in the background of any strong Irishman is the other religion. You know, the Gaelic one when the Druid Priests (teachers) ran Irish society. Then, The Romans invaded and murdered all of the Druid teachers they could. The Romans then transplanted Catholicism into Irish society. It worked! Well sort of anyway. You see, the Irish person thinks differently than most other peoples. This is why Ireland has put out so many poets, authors and famous writers, more than any other country, ever. So now, you are questioning your belief in the Holy Bible as you should. You must realize that God did not sanction one church, God did not write one Bible story, nor did God expressly give one man the authority to have power over anyone else. The Bible is only inaccurate because God did not write it! I will give you someting else to think about. There is one pivotal story in the bible which should set you to thinking. Go to John 20:17. What happens when Mary goes to the Gardener and asks where is Jesus? Well you may have missed this because it is so plain to see and to understand. The Gardener said, “Mary”. Then Mary realises this man the Gardener is Jesus! Jesus did not die on the cross as later repeated by religious leaders over and over until most Christians think it is true. Even Jesus said that a man can only die once. Do you remember doubting Thomas? Thomas thought that Jesus was a Ghost until Jesus proved otherwise. Jesus was not a spirit but alive and in the flesh. There are other references that you can read which shows Jesus did not die on the cross. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus is still one of my favorite heroes of all time. I could write a short book on why this is so. But for now, keep on exploring and writing your thoughts, I would like to hear more of them. Best Regards, Tony Waters, CanadaNorth

      • perrymarshall says:

        Tony,

        Do you have documented examples of any other people who survived crucifixion so successfully as to inspire worldwide movements and belief in immortality?

        • Darryl Braund says:

          Hi Tony
          The “crucifixion”/execution/martyrdom of The Bab, 1850 AD, is well documented in the Baha’i Faith. As is the following 40 years of imprisonment/exile/persecution of His immediate Successor, Baha’u’llah. The followers of these two Divine Founders (The Baha’is) are now established in every country and territory in the world. Although relatively small in number, within only 160 years we are now as widespread as Christianity /very close to it ! Some of these Divine Teachings highlight the immortality of our Soul, and the immortality of Christ…… Cheers Darryl

      • Dalibor Šver says:

        Anthony,
        about John 20 – Mary saw Jesus and thought he was a gardener. Remember she didn’t expect to see living Christ!
        All other gospels confirm that he was risen.

        What are other references? Surely, you don’t consider Qu’ran (they thought they crucified Jesus) and some old Jewish scripts that claim that his body was found and dragged through town? So you see that the negative claims are not consisted, they are just speculations.

      • Zach H says:

        Tony,

        I love the way North Americans have investigated their family trees more extensively than anyone else (I couldn’t tell you where my great great grandfather came from!), as if they aren’t happy to be Americans/Canadians, but need to seek a ‘grounding’ in the Old World somewhere. While I’m not sure it’s confirmed that the Romans brought Christianity to Ireland, having grown up here I can assure you there’s no sense of ‘other religion’ that ever comes up or is taught or even is felt in society – it’s Catholicism all the way with no exceptions. In fact you only need to read the recent terrible stories of child abuse in schools and orphanages in Ireland over the past 50 years to see how the Church is respected and bowed to in almost everything – almost above the law. But I digress. However, I do agree that there’s a bit of truth in the ‘nation of poets’ epithet we have, as well as in our (probably equally accurate) stereotype of enjoying our booze. I admit to the latter, but can’t promise to have excelled in the former!

        From the second half of your post, I take it that you’re one who separates the historical Jesus from the theological Jesus (a la Baigent/Leigh), and you suspect he didn’t actually die on the cross, but it was faked or didn’t happen. I’ve read quite a bit about that tonight, with most theories based on the unusual speed of his death (crucifixion typically took days) and the fact that he was not crucified in public (so easy to take him down without anyone noticing). I don’t know if John 20:17 as you describe it shows that though – you would expect him to know Mary’s name if he HAD been resurrected. (Not to mention that John 20:17 in my King James version says: ‘Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”’. Also, according to the Bible, Jesus did only die once – which would be true whether he was resurrected or not.

        In response to Perry’s answer to your post, there are examples of historical figures that fit these criteria, but we in the modern world would consider them mythological. Romulus (one of the legendary founders of Rome) was resurrected, as was Osiris, an Egyptian man/god, as was Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk.

        The question is always how trustworthy is the documentary evidence. St. Patrick is a good example of how a myth can be built up. We were taught in school (in History and Religion classes) that Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland around 400, and he used the shamrock to illustrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Yet, a brief bit of research seems to indicate that Palladius was sent as the first Bishop to Ireland in the early 400s to an established Catholic presence. The historical record is inconsistent and dates for Patrick/Palladius arrival/departure/death vary by up to 50 years, and it’s probable the stories of these men were confused due to the oral tradition and general illiteracy of the times. You can examine one of the key texts (if your Latin or Gaelic are any good!) at http://www.archive.org/details/tripartitepatrick00stokuoft.

        Has St. Patrick inspired worldwide movements and influenced people? Anyone who’s been in Dublin, New York or Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will know the answer is yes. Is his existence documented? Yes. Is it cast iron? No. Did he exist? Probably. Would I bet my house on it? Probably not!

        Now Jesus on the other hand, was thought by his followers to be the Messiah, and his life to have fulfilled a number of prophesies. So there was even more pressure on his Apostles to make the story of his life that they told after his death fit those prophesies. For example, it’s been well documented that the birth story of Jesus has probably been altered to fit the prophesies; Luke points out that Joseph was a descendant of the House of David (as the Old Testament prophesy said the Messiah would be), however Jesus was the Son of God, not Joseph, so isn’t that irrelevant? Another example is the story of how they travelled to Bethlehem for a census as that is where Joseph’s descendants came from. Now, my parents filled in a census in Ireland when I was a kid, and it didn’t say that my father had to travel to where his ancestors lived; that seems like a bit of a stretch (but a necessary one) to make Jesus’ birth story fit the prophesy. There is the temporal inconsistency between Luke and Matthew’s accounts as well, but that’s a separate point.

        One last comment on this line of thought is this: I haven’t done all my homework yet on the links Perry gave me in his reply to my original post, but to his point 9, my immediate response at the moment is that Jesus’ life matches the prophesies so well because the story of his life has been adjusted deliberately to do so.

        I guess all this is to say to Perry that whether there are documented examples or not, the factual accuracy of those examples can’t really be confirmed, as the narrators were either not there so it’s based on hearsay (Luke 1:1-4 seems to say just this), or they were biased reporters, seeking to make sure Jesus life fit the Messiah story of Jewish tradition. History doesn’t give us the tools to properly investigate these claims anyway, due to the nature of the time in which the events happened.

        In terms of historical belief in immortality and resurrection, that’s been a part of many religions over the years, so Jesus didn’t bring belief in immortality to the world. What about Buddha or Osiris, who I mentioned before? Osiris in Egyptian mythology died (was killed) and was resurrected on a spiritual plane – in a very similar way to Jesus.

        I’m still reading up after Perry’s answer to my original post and will respond soon on that. The reading I’m doing to support my thinking on all of this is proving very helpful, so thanks all for listening to my journey and catharsis!

      • Brianisha says:

        This is why Ireland has put out so many poets, authors and famous writers, more than any other country, ever.

        Someone has a lot of Irish pride. Well, as far as I know, Japan has the most poets, and what about anime and manga? no other country gives that kind of attention to detail that Japan does.

  13. Darryl Braund says:

    Dear Perry
    A close look at the Baha’i Faith would render your no. 1 point inaccurate.

    Baha’u’llah has endorsed all religions as having their origins in God. Special acknowledgement is given to the major religions : Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and even the Indigenous religions of the previous cycle. The fact that most sectarian religions have strayed from/unfulfilled their Founders Guidance doesn’t change the endorsement. I would also add that True Islam also recognises the Divine Ordinance of Judaism and Christianity. Some Muslims are even anticipating the return of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
    Cheers.

    • perrymarshall says:

      Darryl,

      Again, I would love to believe that but it doesn’t make logical sense. These belief systems make logically incompatible truth claims, therefore according to the law of non-contradiction they cannot all be true.

      • Darryl Braund says:

        Perry
        Please consider the following : “The ability to distinguish between the eternal spiritual truths and the social instructions specific to a time and place makes it possible to appreciate both the unity of religion and their diversity.” All the major religions teach about oneness, unity, love, developing virtues, omnipresence/omniscience, the after-life, the ‘golden rule’ etc. These fundamental truths do not vary. What does is the relative truths/social teachings for a particular stage of humanity’s evolution. EG Moses Law about an ‘eye for an eye’ was apt for a time without adequate prisons/judicial system. Then it was changed by Christ, (perhaps to encourage more faith and love?) IE ‘vengeance is the Lord’s’ – ‘Love your enemies’ – ‘return good for evil’…. (Notwithstanding that much of religion’s contradictory divergeance is man-made misunderstandings /egoistic power-tripping /satanic corruption of the original Divine Instruction) …cheers

    • Dalibor Šver says:

      ‘Some Muslims are even anticipating the return of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.’
      I highly doubt they are sincere. They consider him to be the prophet, born of Mary without man, performed miracles, but that he wasn’t crucified.
      ‘I would also add that True Islam also recognises the Divine Ordinance of Judaism and Christianity.’
      I agree on this. I read somewhere in Qu’ran that Gospels and Torah are the holy books given to Jews and Christians by God. Muslims should consider that.

      • Jovet says:

        My question:
        1. Have you ever read the Holy Bible? 2. Do you believe in God? 3. If you are a Christian, do you pray before you read the Holy Bible? 4.Do you limit yourself on doing research that is anti-God? 5. Have you ever researched on materials that is pro-God? 6. Have you ever considered reading materials written by individuals who were inspired by God?(the saints) 7. Last question, do you truly believe you are right about all the contents of this website? May God enlighten your heart and your spirit.

  14. Darryl Braund says:

    Hi Perry
    My question is : Where is the ‘new comment’ about the 2nd coming of Christ that I was recently notified of ? (NB I am somewhat unskilled at navigating your site, and internet stuff in general) Keep up the God-Work – Cheers

    • perrymarshall says:

      Go to Google and type site:coffeehousetheology.com followed by a phrase in the message you’re referring to. Like

      site:coffeehousetheology.com 2nd coming of christ

  15. Mbaweni Ngulube. says:

    All said I have learnt that the physical interpretation of religious issues does not worked. I believe in God as a Christian becoz many good things happen to me when I dedicate my life to GOD than when I am leading a secular life. To me that tells that GOD is in control through the blood of Jesus. We have seen glory not with our naked eyes but spiritual ones.

  16. Dear Perry ;

    Very interesting

    You know that the Dog and the Cock are witness for the truth of Islam how ? I advice every one on this web site to make the same experience . Muhammad said that the Cock when he make his special voice he see Angels and Muhammad teach us to said “ God give us the great award” and the Dog when he see angels he make special voice like wolf “ou ou “ and the Dog when he see devils he make his usual voice “how how”. The quran said that Ange are created from light and devils from fire . Muhammad also said that when you hear the bad voice of emule “ said “ God protect us from devils “ Muhammad said because the emule when he make this voice he see devils . by experience I have check that each time of praying the cock said “ kou kou kouko” and the Dog said “ ou ou” , sometimes the cock start his sound before the caller of prying by few seconds . Muhammad said at the time of praying Ange go down to the earth of course near the place of praying (mosque for example). Well perry it is very easy to do this experience if you are really objective. in islam there is 5 praying time . take with you Cock and Dog and go near to some mosque and take note and do the experience ask the leader of the mosque to give you the time of praying each day , I am sure he will give you very accurate time , if he can not just give me where you want to do the experience exactly I give you a very accurate time about this place . we know that if some thing is random he hasn’t a law for that or he has probabilistic law , just to see if there is a correlation between the sound of the cock and the time of praying . another information is that animals has the capacity to see what we can not see . well Ange are ultra violet light the cock can see this range and devils are infra-red light the emule can see in this range . we know that the Ozone block the ultra-violet light so ? just read on this subject you will find what I said is true and try to do the experience mentioned above it is very easy may be this can help you see the truth.

    Best Regards
    Bouneb zine el abidine

  17. Khaled Barakat says:

    good day everybody,
    I think the problem is not in the bible but in the way the religions chamged by people, and i belive that if anybody hardly studied the bible out of any church ideology he will be highly pleased by what he will discover, and i do believe that all reigions have the same problem, we must get rid of the power of the church and mosque, the real knowledge is in the books out of any human intervention specially monks and imams

    • Sophie says:

      Thank you, Aunt Ruthie, for such a baiuteful and inspiring post! I loved your pretty photos and decorations, and was blessed by your music – but was most blessed by your heartfelt testimony. It really is all about Jesus! Thank you for boldly shining His light here!

  18. George Albert says:

    Over-rated ? From what I seen so far in my life that (almost) everything that was claimed over-rated is really that good.

  19. David Buchan says:

    Religion is man made and astrology is rubbish…

    Religion was designed to keep the peasants in their place and provide an income for the ‘church’…Nothing has changed…A little religious brainwashing goes a long way with ignorant people.

    It is now 2010 and time to move on and accept that an unseen transparent God in the sky will not solve the problems we have on earth.

    We have to solve them ourselves…Praying is not of any use to anyone.

  20. Good stuff. The Bible is reliable. I used to find it difficult handling this. So if the Bible history is unreliable then any other book bears a question mark. The only truth is the devil is behind the scheme to hide his tracks.

    • Charity Romano says:

      I agree with you Mafo. But would like to impress upon all here that it’s not about religion, it’s about relationship. God will not ask you what religion you are when you stand before Him. He will ask you what have you done with His Son and why should He let you in to eternity. How did you glorify His name and spread the good news of salvation through Christ. Christianity in itself is also not a religion its a way of life. If I am born in Ukraine, I am Ukrainian, I am born of Christ and therefore am Christian and do as a Christian does.

      The Word says we should lean not on our own understanding. For a mere mortal, a created being will not be able to contain all the knowledge of the Creator. It is simply impossible which is why we must “Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding”; Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;
      The message of the Cross is so simple, that the wise are confounded. We can’t possibly be getting all of this grace and mercy for nothing. there must be more. But there’s not. The price was already paid for us and the payee simply wants a relationship with us. “Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.” The Word continues “do not be wise in your own eyes, reverence the Lord,turn away from evil and lean not on your own understanding.” For our understanding is very limited.

      The Bible is exceptionally relevant today as ever. Without following its precepts our world looks like it does now.. chaotic. But know that God is a God of order and is not an author of chaos or injustice.

      • Brianisha says:

        I agree with you Mafo. But would like to impress upon all here that it’s not about religion, it’s about relationship. God will not ask you what religion you are when you stand before Him. He will ask you what have you done with His Son and why should He let you in to eternity.

        That implies that God is going to ask people if they were christian or not. Honestly, I dont care what YOUR god does or not, because Im sure christians will be shocked when its Anubis and Zeus tapping their feet on the thresholds of Summerland.

    • Wulan says:

      Oh so bufituael….I love Easter because of what it signifies…because of what Christ has done for us! Thank you for sharing such great decorating ideas that don’t take away from the meaning or purpose of this magnificent day! :)Blessings!Kathy C.

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