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Post #100

Using fiction to explore Christianity and atheismWelcome to post #100! It’s time to see how far this blog has come since I started last August.

Many of you know that this is actually two blogs. Galileo Unchained (“For Those Who Have No Use for Faith”) is the doorway aimed at atheists, and Cross Examined (“Clear Thinking About Christianity”) is aimed at Christians. The content is the same, so hang out wherever you feel more comfortable.

In December, I launched my novel, Cross Examined: An Unconventional Spiritual Journey. My goal with both the book and this blog is primarily to encourage Christians to think. Whether they become atheists or stronger Christians isn’t the issue but rather that they think about the intellectual foundations that support their faith. Too commonly, in my opinion, Christians act out their faith on autopilot, not thinking much about what they claim is life’s most important issue.

And, of course, I hope to have provocative content for atheists as well, both in this blog in the book.

If you haven’t poked around in the toolbar, that’s been gradually updated, with a page listing all the posts, a glossary (with each of the Words of the Day), and a summary of the book with the first couple of chapters.

Here are some of the stats for the blogs:

Alexa ranks web sites by global popularity, and a smaller number is better. It says that 0.00034% of global Internet users visit CrossExaminedBlog.com. (Woo hoo—look out, PZ Myers!)

There’s no easy way to figure out word count, but all the posts add up to roughly 50,000 words.

So what’s next? I’m thinking about podcasting the blogs. That is, the same content, just spoken. I hope that will provide a new audience. I’m also thinking about consolidating the blogs, which would mean focusing on Cross Examined and no longer updating or creating links to Galileo Unchained. (Your thoughts on these changes?)

Here’s where I need your help.

  • Who do you think would find the book useful? Do you know of any thoughtful Christians comfortable enough in their beliefs who would be interested in exploring the foundations of Christianity? Please pass on a link. I’m also looking for blurbs (brief recommendations), so let me know of anyone with interesting credentials—a pastor or professor, perhaps—who might share my goal of encouraging Christians to think and who would like a free review copy.
  • Who would find the blog interesting? Please recommend it to anyone you think would appreciate plain talk on Christianity.
  • What recommendations do you have for the blog? Any changes in format? Topics ideas? Add your thoughts to the comments below or email me.

Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you find this a worthwhile destination on the internet!

Bob Seidensticker

Photo credit: kslavin

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Rick T

    Bob,

    It somehow strikes me as condescending and self serving that you strategically target Christians and your desire to help them to think. Why not simply target the atheists and get them to be more atheistically pure? Your mentoring from the other side of the aisle doesn’t seem like a very high minded calling. Especially when your posts simply attack Christianity with your complaints but you don’t provide evidence for your views. I understand wanting a blog to increase your marketing footprint. That part of your goal is obvious. What is not obvious is that you claim to want to help Christians think better, when all you do is try to undercut without real meat on your side. Those of us who comment from the Christian side do so to defend against your absurdity, and not to train ourselves to think better.

    Maybe beating my head against the wall at the railings on this site is the same thing as thinking more clearly, but it doesn’t feel like it…

    Rick

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Why not simply target the atheists and get them to be more atheistically pure?

      Surely 5 seconds’ thought would give you the answer. (1) There are only so many hours in the day, so I must focus, and (2) I’m interested in the topic of Christian apologetics. Surely you also focus; I’m sure you don’t try to solve all the world’s problems at once (or perhaps I underestimate you …).

      you don’t provide evidence for your views.

      I have a word count limit, so I must abbreviate, but I have no interest in simply listing my opinions without reasons. For any post that is a bold assertion with zero evidence, as you apparently see thick at this blog, I encourage you to point that out.

      I understand wanting a blog to increase your marketing footprint.

      This isn’t a moneymaker, as you can perhaps imagine. My goal is to spread the word. I have an interest instead in an “intellectual footprint,” though perhaps that’s what you meant.

      you claim to want to help Christians think better, when all you do is try to undercut without real meat on your side.

      Have you read the book? I wonder how well you think it does toward its stated goals.

      Those of us who comment from the Christian side do so to defend against your absurdity

      And here is where I need more from you. If you disagree with points in posts, point that out.

  • Paul

    Well said Rick T.
    Satan did the same in the garden of Eden critised God, propounded false ideas and even lies.
    But did he actually offer anything of value????

    No! It’s the same with this site.

    Not only does this site Resist (Satan) the truth, but also Slanders (Devil) God.

    I have tried reasoning, but I’m afraid they don’t listen to reason. So Bob go ahead and follow your master Satan. You deserve each other.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Satan did the same in the garden of Eden critised God, propounded false ideas and even lies.

      In the first place, it was a snake, not Satan. The reading-in of Satan is a later interpretation that would’ve been nonsensical to the original readers of Genesis.

      In the second, it’s not too hard to see a heroic aspect to the snake. After all, he spoke the truth! He said that they would not die … and he was right.

      So Bob go ahead and follow your master Satan. You deserve each other.

      Uh oh–now I’m a Satanist. Ouch!

      • Rick T

        You underestimate the first people in Genesis. They clearly knew that the serpent was the enemy of God, who would later be referred to as Satan or the devil.

        As for your comment, “it’s not too hard to see a heroic aspect to the snake. After all, he spoke the truth! He said that they would not die … and he was right.”

        REALLY? So Adam and Eve didn’t die? What is their address? I’d like to have a chat with them!

        God’s justice doesn’t always kick in immediately. In the first place, “death” in scripture can be sometimes best seen as separation. Death as separation has two components—a physical and a spiritual death. They experienced the first death, separation from God (we say I am dead to someone’s inputs, for instance) by being separated from God and the unity they experienced with Him in the Garden. And of course the second death was physical, when their spirits were separated from their physical bodies. They experienced that one, too, unless you can provide their whereabouts.

        Satan told a half-truth in the Garden in the form of the serpent (it wasn’t a snake, by the way). He has continued telling lies ever since. A half-truth is every bit as much intended to deceive the listener as a more bold-face lie.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          You underestimate the first people in Genesis.

          If you mean that I don’t consider them clairvoyant, that’s right.

          Satan (or the devil or Lucifer or Beelzebub or some other early form of God’s adversary) changes over time. In Job, Satan is God’s handyman or hit man or jester, not the ruler of the dark realm and God’s sworn enemy.

          They clearly knew that the serpent was the enemy of God

          The serpent was an enemy of God.

          So Adam and Eve didn’t die?

          Nope! You stick a fork into a working electrical outlet and (let’s say) that you die. The serpent said, “God told you that? Forget it! That electrical outlet isn’t even wired up. You won’t die.” And sure enough, the serpent was right. They didn’t die (immediately), which was what God meant.

          God said, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” (Gen. 2:17)

          What does “when” mean? The NETBible has this footnote about this word: “in the very day, as soon as.”

          the serpent (it wasn’t a snake, by the way)

          Aren’t serpent and snake synonyms?

        • Rick T

          Reference your comment, “The serpent was AN enemy of God.” Thanks for the correction. You are right. Thanks also for pointing out that there is no point too small for you to quibble over.

          Reference your comment, “Aren’t serpent and snake synonyms?” No. But they may be closer than THE and AN.

          Reference your comment, “What does “when” mean? The NETBible has this footnote about this word: “in the very day, as soon as.” You missed the point that they DID die spiritually immediately. The physical death came later. Just as it will for you and me. We still have the same physical death sentence. I don’t pretend to be a Hebrew scholar, and even if I was, I doubt I could persuade you on this point. But the spiritual death being immediate while the physical death being eventual but assured is a satisfactory understanding for me.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          You suggested that there was an important difference that made serpent and snake not synonyms. What is it?

          Thanks also for pointing out that there is no point too small for you to quibble over.

          That may be, but I don’t see this as an example. I was pointing out that the current Christian cosmology, where one chief bad guy (the devil) and his army of bad spirits are allied against God, isn’t what Genesis is talking about.

          You missed the point that they DID die spiritually immediately.

          I understand that that’s your point. Do you understand mine?

          The serpent story has (1) God saying that if you eat the fruit you will die (as if the fruit were poisoned), (2) the serpent rejecting that, and (3) the serpent being right. Of course, we can rework that in hindsight by saying that the “death” was a spiritual death or that it all meant “you will no longer be immortal,” but that’s not what the account actually says.

  • Bob Calvan

    Rick T is correct ..
    They died spiritually immediately. And that is why they covered themselves ( as man does still to this day covering their sins) as they knew they we naked and what that meant. Also notice the God covered them with skins. God shed the blood of an animal ( the picture of the atonement and redemption of Jesus blood that covers His elect’s sin) to cover Adam’s sin and his spiritual death. And later comes physical death. And we inherit Adams guilt from the fall of Adam. We are all born spiritually dead. ( that is why once must be born again (spiritual birth to be saved). And we all will experience physical death.
    As it is said. The Christian is born twice ( physical, then spiritual) and dies once. And the rest of humanity is born once (physically) and dies twice. ( the physical death, and the second death in the lake of fire.
    Can’t get around the consistency of the Word of God. From Adam’s fall to the book of Rev. We see Jesus Christ and His perfect blood saving His sheep in the OT and the NT.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      I see that this is how the serpent story is interpreted today. But my point is that that’s not what Genesis actually says.

      Can’t get around the consistency of the Word of God. From Adam’s fall to the book of Rev. We see Jesus Christ and His perfect blood saving His sheep in the OT and the NT.

      I guess I’m just old-fashioned, but I’d prefer to interpret a book as the intended audience would have. Jesus, the Trinity, and all that were not in the Old Testament. You can go back and reinterpret things with a new worldview, but that’s not what they said.

      • Paul

        Just to clarify the word “day” in the Bible.

        Hebrew is ‘yohm’. Greek ‘he-me-ra’. This word for day is used in the Bible can be used ‘literally’, ‘figuratively’, even ‘symbolically’. It all depend on the context it is used.

        For example ‘creative days’ are much longer than 24hrs. As we are still in the seventh creative day, which is now over 6 thousand years old. So when the Bible said of Adam, “in the day you eat from it you will positively die.” Looking at the context Adam and Eve did not die in a 24hr period. Eve ate of the fruit first and the Bible said “Afterward she gave some to Adam” giving no time period, but obviously some time elapsed before Adam ate of the fruit. Then it simply says later God spoke to them. Once again no time period mentioned. At this time God said to and Eve, “I shall greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy,…” and to Adam he said, “cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life.”
        So we see now what God meant by in the day you eat. He was no refering to a literal 24hr period. In fact the Bible says that a day to Jehovah is a thousand years to us 2 Peter 3:8. If this is what Jehovah had in mind they certainly died within his day period as Adam was 930 years old swhen he died.
        The Hebrew word for “day” allows for this.
        Even in the english we say “in my Dads day”. We mean a period of time not literally a 24hr period.
        I hope that clarifies that mess for you.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          God said, “when you eat from [the tree] you will surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) The really interesting word is “when,” and I cited the NETBible’s comment that it meant “right away.” Are you trying to say that it doesn’t mean this? I don’t follow your argument. We do want the plain reading, don’t we?

        • Paul

          I have not heard of the NETBible sorry. But there are better recognised versions such as the New World Translation. However there are many more that give a accurate meaning. You have to be careful of paraphrased version as they interpret rather than give literal translation, The “Goodnews” Bible is an example of this.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          You may not agree with their theology, but you can’t quibble with their scholarship. Lots of footnotes. Not a paraphrase.

        • Paul

          Look Bob, it sounds to me you wont accept anything.
          I am suprised you get anything done in your life, forever negative, critic of everything. Even if Christ appeared to you you would not accept it.
          Now don’t tell, “yes I would”, no you wouldn’t. Of the thousands that Jesus taught and demonstrated his credentials by miracles, healing the sick and raising the dead, you know only 120 desciples actually accepted him until after his death.
          You see more is involved than evidence, there is also a degree of faith. It is evident you lack this my friend. No one can give you that sorry.
          Although you do express a faith in scientists with even less evidence. Your a paradox. Well not really, faith in God is not the possesion of all people. Your own life gives evidence of that scripture being true. I think you would worship God if it was on your terms.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          it sounds to me you wont accept anything.

          Am I different from you? Some guy comes up with a religion that’s not yours–you think you’re likely to buy what he’s selling?

          I think we approach religious claims pretty similarly (except for your favorite religion, of course).

          I am suprised you get anything done in your life, forever negative, critic of everything.

          No, just nonsense. (Again, I imagine you’re pretty critical of nonsense, too.)

          Even if Christ appeared to you you would not accept it.

          As part of the Trinity, Jesus is supposed to be really smart. He knows what it would take to convince me.

          And yet he hasn’t shown me. I guess he doesn’t much care whether I rot in hell or not.

          You see more is involved than evidence, there is also a degree of faith.

          Yes, I see this. Do you have faith in Scientology? Jainism? Rastafarianism? If not, why not?

          Although you do express a faith in scientists with even less evidence.

          (said Paul, as he typed on a computer, using the Internet, in a room lit by electricity.)

          Y’know, come to think of it, science really delivers! Wouldn’t it be nice if Christianity did as well?

        • Paul

          Your a funny man Bob!

          No Jesus is not part of a Trinity, he is the son of God.

          Believe it or not I have checked those religions you speak off. Once you accept the Bible as the ‘truth’ you can use it as a measure on all religion. I have actually checked them all and in my humble view only one measures up.

          Scientists are only tapping into what is already their Bob. They did not create it, they discovered how to use it.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          No Jesus is not part of a Trinity, he is the son of God.

          Got it. I forgot the detail of your flavor of Christianity.

          Once you accept the Bible as the ‘truth’ you can use it as a measure on all religion.

          That’s no objective search! You accept any religion as the truth, and you will surely find that all other religions don’t measure up. This isn’t surprising!

          Scientists are only tapping into what is already their Bob. They did not create it, they discovered how to use it.

          I gotta have evidence, not just a bald religious claim.

        • Paul

          Is is objective as most religions accept God’s Word but don’t do or say what it teachers. Trinity is an example, another love ones neighbour as yourself eliminates most so called christian religions as they are prepared to kill their nieghbour in war.

          Ok where di the scientists get the glass for the bulb? From what products did they get the filiment?

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Manufacturers get their products from nature. No reason to imagine that there was a god behind that.

        • Paul

          You might call it nature, I call it God.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          I understand that you call it “God,” but why? If that’s just your custom, that’s fine, but don’t imagine that this is convincing to anyone else, especially when we have decent answers that don’t need to make the huge leap to a supernatural being.

        • Paul

          You have yet to give me your evidence for something other than an intelligent God.

          What is this “nature” that you speak of that I should consider it as an alternative?

        • Bob Seidensticker

          (1) I don’t need to. You’re the one making the bold claim; you have the burden of proof.

          (2) I have made 5 or so posts making a positive argument for atheism. That may answer your question.

          What is this “nature” that you speak of that I should consider it as an alternative?

          The nature that science keeps telling us more and more about–the knowledge by which you and I are using computers, electricity, and the Internet.

  • Bob Calvan

    The NT sheds light on the OT. There are many audiences. And Jesus was seen many times in the OT. The pre-incarnate Christ was seen and known. As Jesus said Abraham rejoiced to see His day. And as John said when Isaiah saw the LORD on His throne what Isaiah saw was Jesus. And Jesus was with God in the beginnin, and Jesus created all things. (John 1:1-3) And As Jesus said he would return to the Father who He ( Jesus) shared His glory with in the beginning. (John 17.)

    • Bob Seidensticker

      The NT sheds light on the OT.

      Does “Huck Finn” also shed light on the OT? Or “Pride and Prejudice”? Or “Hamlet”?

      Reinterpreting the OT with a non-Jewish viewpoint strikes me as meaningless. Shouldn’t we care only about what the books meant to the original audience?

      I can certainly see the temptation. We always want to find justification for our beliefs, and what better justification than something supernatural? But we delude ourselves when we do so.

      Abraham didn’t see Jesus. Isaiah didn’t see Jesus. Imagine someone from another religion playing these kinds of games–imagining justification for his theological views within the OT. You’d reject that, right?

  • Paul

    Good to see you are coming around to Jesus being a separate entity Bob. Well done.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      I didn’t notice coming around to anything, but I’m glad you’re pleased.

      If your point is that Jesus is separate from Yahweh, I get it. It’s that whole Trinity thing that baffles me (they’re the same but not …).

      • Paul

        Sorry about that Bob S. My comment was directed at BobC. Very confusing all these Bobs

        • Bob Seidensticker

          OK, thanks for the clarification.

  • Bob Calvan

    “The NT sheds light on the OT.

    “Does “Huck Finn” also shed light on the OT? Or “Pride and Prejudice”? Or “Hamlet”?”

    The Bible is 66 books composed into one book. Which reveals God’s redemptive plan for fallen man. As Jesus Christ crucifixion was predestined before the foundation of the world. The OT points to a savior who is God almighty ( In Isaiah) . The entire book is God’s revelation of the fall of man, the sacrificial system for forgiveness of sins, and the incarnation where God steps into His creation and becomes the perfect sacrifice the substitute for those the Father gives the Son, and the final day of judgment where the believers are separated from the unbelievers, and the elect are with the Lord forever. You may reject this, but at least do not misrepresent the Christian worldview of the scriptures. THe NT and the OT are in complete agreement with each other. And the NT sheds light and explains the OT. All the first beoievers and authors were Jews.

    Bob saked

    “Reinterpreting the OT with a non-Jewish viewpoint strikes me as meaningless’….”

    No one is reinterpreting anything. “Non-Jewish viewpoint?” huh? Jesus was Jewish and quoted from the OT scriptures. Paul was a Jew of Jews a Pharisee. who wrote the majority of the NT

    Bob said

    “Abraham didn’t see Jesus. Isaiah didn’t see Jesus..”

    How do you know? Were you there? Sounds like an absolute statement. Jesus told the religious leaders that Abraham saw his day..I think I will go with Jesus being He was there, than Bob the atheist saying Abraham didn’t see Jesus. John said Isaiah saw Jesus Bob say Isaiah did not see Jesus. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus. Moses and Elijah saw and talked to Jesus. Psalms phopisied about the Crucifixion of Jesus before crucifixions were invented.

    I understand you do not believe the Bible as the Word of God..But stop miss representing the Christian position.. As you always do. And have been accused of.

    Bob said:

    “. Imagine someone from another religion playing these kinds of games–imagining justification for his theological views within the OT…

    There is your false presupposition thinking we have two religions in antithesis of each other. God from the beginning of the fall has determined to save a people for Himself. From Adam ( not a Jew) to the last person before the day Jesus comes back. The OT saint is saved ( redeemed) the same way as the NT saint. Faith in God. The OT believer looked forward to the savior and the NT saint looks backward to the savior. No difference. Different dispensations with different covenants. But the same salvation in YHWH. You need to learn what the Bible is about before attacking the doctrines of God. If you wish to critique on the social issues of Christianity fine.. But if you are going to argue systematic theology read Gill, Grudem, Calvin, Berkoff. for a start.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      The Bible is 66 books composed into one book.

      And what would the authors of the early books say if they saw what you’d done to their work? Would they approve this reinterpretation?

      As Jesus Christ crucifixion was predestined before the foundation of the world.

      Just an unsubstantiated claim or do you have evidence?

      The OT points to a savior who is God almighty ( In Isaiah) .

      Sounds like the NT is redundant. Unnecessary. It’s all right there in the OT. Right?

      THe NT and the OT are in complete agreement with each other.

      Uh … they’re the holy books of different religions, dude.

      Jesus was Jewish and quoted from the OT scriptures.

      So the NT is little more than a refinement of Judaism? Not a new religion?

      How do you know?

      We can’t conclude these things from the OT books themselves.

      stop miss representing the Christian position

      Is that what this is about? I thought it was about you misrepresenting the OT by claiming that it says stuff that it clearly doesn’t.

      The OT saint is saved ( redeemed) the same way as the NT saint.

      So Moses and Aaron and all the OT people had to have faith in Jesus or else they roast in hell? I guess I’ll have illustrious company when I go there.

      • Paul

        Bob C; The Bible is 66 books composed into one book.
        Bob S; And what would the authors of the early books say if they saw what you’d done to their work? Would they approve this reinterpretation?
        Paul said; Actually I think they would be very happy with it. Jehovah is the author and is still very much alive and has made sure the integrity has been kept.
        Bob C; As Jesus Christ crucifixion was predestined before the foundation of the world.
        Bob S; Just an unsubstantiated claim or do you have evidence?
        Paul said; I wont get into the word “crucifixion” as this is not found in the original scrolls. But yes Jesus death was prophesied, try having a look at Ps 22:16 LXXVg said “They bored (dug through) my hands and my feet.”
        Bob C; THe NT and the OT are in complete agreement with each other.
        Bob S; Uh … they’re the holy books of different religions, dude.
        Paul said; Yes and no actually. Same God, same religion with a structural change.
        Bob C; Jesus was Jewish and quoted from the OT scriptures.
        Bob S; So the NT is little more than a refinement of Judaism? Not a new religion?
        Paul said; You got it Bob 
        Bob S; So Moses and Aaron and all the OT people had to have faith in Jesus or else they roast in hell? I guess I’ll have illustrious company when I go there.
        Paul said; No Fiery Hell Bob, just death. These ones of the OT did look forward to the Messiah as they knew of the prophecies and some of them wrote about him.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Actually I think they would be very happy with it.

          You’re either reinterpreting the OT or not. If you are, then I think the original authors would object to what you’re saying. If you’re not, then you need to show me that the Christian story is plainly stated in the OT (and not just visible only when you put on the Christian glasses).

          “They bored (dug through) my hands and my feet.”

          That’s a prophecy? The all-knowing creator of the universe gives us nothing better than that?

          As for the NT being only a refinement of Judaism, that’s how Jesus is portrayed as seeing it. But that’s not how Paul interpreted things. And not how the church developed. Jesus didn’t want a new religion; what would he think?

  • Bob Calvan

    “The OT saint is saved ( redeemed) the same way as the NT saint.

    So Moses and Aaron and all the OT people had to have faith in Jesus or else they roast in hell? I guess I’ll have illustrious company when I go there.”
    Moses and Aaron were justified by faith in God ( as stated in Romans 4 and 5). And looked forward to the messiah. Just as the NT saint is justified by faith God and we look back to the messiah. The NT gives us more light on the messiah. But same salvation for the elect of God.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Moses and Aaron were justified by faith in God ( as stated in Romans 4 and 5).

      All I’m saying is that this is a very different concept than existed in the OT. Obviously the rewriter (the Christian overlay) agrees with the Christian man. I’m focused on interpreting the OT in the proper context.

  • Bob Calvan

    “And what would the authors of the early books say if they saw what you’d done to their work? Would they approve this reinterpretation?”

    Again you falsley assume this is a reinterpretation. Care to prove this?
    The authors of the early books ( first 5) were Moses. Who knew Jesus. Remeber Jesus spoke to Moses in the NT. So the author Moses knows Jesus, which blows a hole in your wild subjective guess.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      There’s no mention of Jesus in the Pentateuch. Indeed, those books look strangely … Jewish. The Christian story is quite different, and we don’t see that in the OT.

      I see that the NT attempts to pull in the OT, but the reverse is not true.

  • Bob Calvan

    “As Jesus Christ crucifixion was predestined before the foundation of the world.

    “Just an unsubstantiated claim or do you have evidence?”
    My standard of this truth claim is the NT. Where we are told that Christ was predestined before the foundation of the world.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Unconvincing. I could point to the Analects of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but you wouldn’t find that convincing.

      Why should I care about your holy book?

  • Bob Calvan

    “All I’m saying is that this is a very different concept than existed in the OT. Obviously the rewriter (the Christian overlay) agrees with the Christian man. I’m focused on interpreting the OT in the proper context.”

    Read the book of Hebrews! Written to Christian Hebrews. And you will see all the sacrafices of the OT were forrunners of the perfect sacrafice for sin. Jesus Christ. All the preistly acts and functions were fulfilled in the perfect final preist Jesus Christ. All the OT shadows were perfected in Jesus Christ. The book of Hebrews refutes all you subjected false guesses. Scripture interprets scripture. Before you go to bed read the book of Hebrews. One salvation same for the OT saints and NT saints.
    Same God one plan to save His elect. From Adam to the last sheep.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Who cares about Hebrews?? That’s not what I’m talking about.

      Sure, you can write a new book and reinterpret the old one. A Scientologist can write a new book and say, “And look at all the clues in the OT that presage my book! Why, my book is all through the OT!”

      Anyone can do this, but who would believe it?

  • Paul

    Hey Bob for a change how about proving to me that evolution and life by chance is the truth?

    One of the many things that convinces me that we are different from animals is that we appreciate music. Not needed for life, but there we are we have it, what a lovely gift.
    Thank you Jehovah.

    Who do you thank when you see wonderful things Bob?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      I can prove nothing. I can, however, point out that evolution is the scientific consensus (which, again, is how we got the Internet, computers, electricity, no smallpox, and on and on).

      I don’t know what “life by chance” means, but if you are referring to abiogenesis, science doesn’t have an answer for this one yet.

      I thank the same person for music that I thank for malaria. He gave us both, right? But wait a minute–that’s just nuts. I will appreciate music while I hate malaria and not thank anyone for either. I thank people who do good things in my life. Isn’t that enough?

      • Paul

        Once again blaming the wrong guy. Satan and Adam gave you malaria. Results from not wanting our creator sorry, and he too is upset about it and is determined to do something about it. I hope your there to see it.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Satan and Adam gave you malaria.

          No, I’m pretty sure God did it.

          Isaiah 45:7, Amos 3:6, Lamentations 3:38, Jeremiah 18:11, Ezekiel 20:25-26

        • Paul

          yes he will bring calamity (NW Translation) upon those who disobey him, Is 45:7.
          Amos 3:6 he was specifically refering to Israel due once again to disobeidence to him
          Lam 3:38 was also with regard to Israel same reason
          Jer 18:11 Same reason as above
          Ez 20:25-26 Same reason as above.

          What you may not realise is that the Israelites had an agreement or covenant with Jehovah. They not only broke it but chucked their lot in with the enemy. They agreed to the terms including what would happen if they broke the covenant. So that’s what happened even though Jehovah sent his prophets telling them to turn around, what did they do, they killed the prophets. They got what they deserved sorry.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          yes he will bring calamity (NW Translation) upon those who disobey him

          So God gives us plenty of bad stuff. Let’s not put the blame on Satan and Adam then.

        • Paul

          Only when we deserve it. The stuff we don’t deserve is from another source. Sometimes even from ourselves. You heard the saying “you reap what you sow.” We can’t get past that principle.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Sounds like we’ll just have to disagree on this one. That you can look through your Christian glasses to see this, I don’t doubt. But there’s no reason for anyone else whose not within your religion to agree. There’s no objective evidence that points us there.

        • Paul

          That’s the beauty of free will my friend. Another gift from, oh yeah ‘nature’.
          Yep I have my Christian glasses on and never take them off thank goodness. Otherwise I would end up like you, not knowing where we came from and not knowing the future. No wonder you guys are bitter and negative.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          And the followers of Jim Jones and David Koresh happily kept their God Glasses on. Maybe they should’ve stopped to use their (God given?) brain to make sure that their religion wasn’t just another fairy tale like the thousands of others.

          No, I don’t think I’m negative and bitter. I do detest groundless beliefs that steer people wrong, though. Don’t you?

        • Paul

          Yep, I do. That’s why I donate a considerable part of my life to teaching the Bible. 5000 per day are joining us world wide as a result of of preaching work.
          This work focuses on the preaching of the Good News of God’s Kingdom. Improves peoples lives, turns them from drug abuse, homosexuality, stealing, abusive relationships. Makes good citizens contributing to society.
          I believe that is a worth while work and shows the teachings of God’s Word really works. So it can’t be all that bad. It produces happy people with meaningful lives, ceates stability in the family. We are a global family looking forward to better times ahead under God’s Kingdom. As you once put it Christianity through Theocracy.
          Scoff if you like but there are over 7.5 million and growing everyday, Christain Jehovah’s Witnesses that can testify to the validity of God’s Word and how it has enriched their lives and others that listen to them.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Does God exist? If so, he gave you a tremendous gift with that big brain. When you have to answer to him as you stand before the seat of judgment, be sure you have a good accounting of how you used his gift.

          (“I was a good, mindless follower! I didn’t challenge anything within my religion!” is probably the wrong answer.)

          As you once put it Christianity through Theocracy.

          Is this your goal? Theocracy in America?

          how it has enriched their lives and others that listen to them.

          This gives zero support to your theological claims. How many other belief groups around the world and throughout history (that you think are based on superstition) would make the same claim?

        • Paul

          yep wrong answer.
          I investigated every claim made. By the way this is encouraged and followed by all JW. None blindly follow some belief pattern, we all study very hard and are diligent Bible students along with other studies in science. That is why we are prepared if it came to it to die for our beliefs and our brothers.
          No not America, but a Global Theocracy. soon to come.

          Our way of life is not based on superstition Bob. You don’t need superstition you have the truth.

          We died along side the Jews in the holocaust, not because we were Jews (most weren’t), but because we would not support Hiltler. All other religion did, even yours.
          We died for our faith and protecting our fellow man.

          It is on record in Germany if you wish to check. Mock if you like Bob. But it doesn’t suit you.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          None blindly follow some belief pattern, we all study very hard and are diligent Bible students along with other studies in science. That is why we are prepared if it came to it to die for our beliefs and our brothers.

          I’m sure you study the Bible. I doubt, however, that all JWs seriously consider atheists’ views in the same way and to the same amount that they seriously consider the teachings of the JW church.

          No not America, but a Global Theocracy. soon to come.

          Tell me more. What is this Global Theocracy?

          You don’t need superstition [when] you have the truth.

          Agreed, but I wonder when the last time religion gave us any new wisdom about how our world works. Science, by contrast, does it daily. I back the horse with the winning record.

          We died along side the Jews in the holocaust, not because we were Jews (most weren’t), but because we would not support Hiltler. All other religion did, even yours.

          I’m not part of a religion.

          Yes, I’ve heard about the JWs in Germany.

        • Paul

          Actually you will be pleasantly suprised to learn we all examine all beliefs quite exstensively. As we preach from door to door world wide we need to understand other beliefs in order to be open mided enough to discuss peoples concerns. We are unafraid of other view pionts, when you have the truth you are not threatened by keeping an open mind.

          Ah Global Theocracy. Well that’s something you may not want or agree with. I base that on all your previous comments. Basically it means God’s Kingdom will take over rulership of this earth, hence the Lords prayer, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth,….”
          That of course will necessitate removing present governments as they will not want to relingish their authority, this of course will start what the Bible calls Armageddon. Previous to this the Bible talks about a Great Tribulation that the world has not experienced before or will experience again. This will be the total annihilation of the worlds Religions (you will like that bit) at the hands of the world governments, this will of course will be authorised by Jehovah because all religion has misrepresented him with the lies they have spun. Of course this will mean he will protect his people and they will survive right on into paradise on earth ruled by Jesus Christ for a thousand to bring man back to perfection, ressurect all those that have died in the past and give them a second chance at life. Then he will hand the Kingdom back to his father Jehovah in the perfect state we started out to be with Adam.
          Well you did ask!
          That of course is a very brief summary. you may or may not wish to hear more but that’s your choice and right as a free moral agent.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          :-)

          You think this counts?? Yeah, I understand you examine other beliefs extensively, but with an agenda! You study them only so you can cobble together arguments to convince others that your preconception is correct.

          That’s what closed-minded people do. I’m afraid that I’m unimpressed.

          When is Armageddon coming? I’m not asking for a date (unless you have one!) but a rough timeframe.

        • Paul

          Forever the critic and negative. I don’t have time tonight to answer your questions but I will get back to you tomorrow.

          If it comes before then I am sorry.

        • Paul

          Bob said; :-) You think this counts?? Yeah, I understand you examine other beliefs extensively, but with an agenda! You study them only so you can cobble together arguments to convince others that your preconception is correct. That’s what closed-minded people do. I’m afraid that I’m unimpressed. When is Armageddon coming? I’m not asking for a date (unless you have one!) but a rough timeframe.
          Paul said; Think what you like Bob but your wrong. No, no date Bob sorry about that. Bible says we don’t know the hour or the day.
          However prophecy in the Bible is interesting and does shed light of the time we live in and things to watch out for. Would you like to know some of those? :-)

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Paul:

          Isn’t the JW church rather notorious for having repeatedly made embarrassingly wrong predictions about the end of the world? Maybe your comments here shows that they’ve learned their lesson.

          Harold Camping used the “thief in the night” passage in 1 Thess. 5 to argue that true believers can know the end (“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.”) But he, too, made a rather large mistake.

        • Paul

          No not us, we have never put a date on the end. Although we did predict 1914 as a marked time in Bible. Which did come true with the start of world war 1. We predicted this back in 1879.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Paul:

          I haven’t read Bob C’s list of failed JW predictions closely, but I’ve seen lists like it. I think the JW’s track record of accurate prophecy is pretty embarrassing.

          I wonder what the JW prophet said back in 1879. Did he say “a great European war will start in 1914 and last 4 years”? Because that would be a pretty good prophecy. My guess is that it wasn’t even close and “Oh yeah, we predicted World War I and nailed it!” is just spin doctoring. Thoughts?

        • Paul

          Mock if you like.
          I guess that is the answer, No I don’t want to know more.

          All I can say is we will find out in the end who is right. You may wish you had listened then. Then it will be too late I’m afraid.

          Anyway you can never say I havn’t tried and there I will leave it. Been an interesting discussion but if you want to believe lies from apostates and speak profanity against my friend and God, our company must be severed. Bye.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Paul:

          All I can say is we will find out in the end who is right. You may wish you had listened then. Then it will be too late I’m afraid.

          I may indeed, but why would we ever imagine that that will be the case? It’s almost as if you don’t demand evidence yourself for important things in life (though I’m sure you do).

          if you want to believe lies from apostates and speak profanity against my friend and God, our company must be severed. Bye.

          Bye. Don’t forget to use that big brain God gave you. Consider the evidence instead of simply justifying your choice of religion after the fact. Your “No I don’t want to know more” may be thrown back at you when you stand before the Judgment Seat.

      • Retro

        Paul wrote: What you may not realise is that the Israelites had an agreement or covenant with Jehovah. They not only broke it but chucked their lot in with the enemy. They agreed to the terms including what would happen if they broke the covenant.

        And of course, Jehovah being God, KNEW beforehand exactly what was going to happen, but made the covenant anyway. It’s kind of like talking someone into taking a loan that you know that person won’t be able to pay back, and you write the contract so you can screw that person over when they can’t pay.

        • Paul

          You must have had a terrible childhood to consider something like that. I feel very sorry for you. Not everyone is out to screw you least of all God.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Paul:

          We may be talking at cross purposes. Retro is probably one of those guys who wants evidence. Kinda like me.

          And the evidence of God’s personality in the Old Testament makes clear that he’s an SOB. The Flood? Genocide right and left? Let’s be serious.

        • Retro

          The very FIRST thing Hitler did when he gained power was to shut down the Freethinkers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Freethinkers_League

          Did you know that Paul? Hitler outlawed all atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany. The 600,000 or so members of the German Freethinkers at the time did not support Hitler.

          I investigated every claim made. By the way this is encouraged and followed by all JW. None blindly follow some belief pattern, we all study very hard and are diligent Bible students along with other studies in science.

          Great! Then you will understand why people like Bob and I ask the questions we do. Since your denomination has seen and corrected the errors of every other denomination, you can plainly see why atheists have also correctly seen these same errors.

          I believe that is a worth while work and shows the teachings of God’s Word really works. So it can’t be all that bad. It produces happy people with meaningful lives, ceates stability in the family.

          And I’ve also seen God’s Word do nothing, or even make things worse. I’ve seen it divide families and friends. Jesus even said He didn’t bring peace, but a sword.

          Teaching that the world will end soon has devastating consequences as “the end” just never seems to show up. Why go to college, get married, have kids, or start a business… it’s all ending at anytime now, right?

          As a JW Paul, what do you do with friends or family members who don’t follow the JW teachings? How does any of this actually create stability in families?

        • Paul

          I checked out the Free Thinkers info, thanks for that I did not know. However how many of the 500,000 Free Thinkers became martyr’s for their belief? I tried to find out but found none! The reason I say this is, how serious were they about their thinking or was it just another club. Did any of the 500,000 join Hitler? Do you have any proof of that?
          Whereas Jehovahs Witnesses not only stood firm against him but died rather than give up their faith.
          Wkikpedia “An estimated 10,000 were sent to concentration camps where approximately 2,500 of them were killed. Historian Sybil Milton concludes that “their courage and defiance in the face of torture and death punctures the myth of a monolithic Nazi state ruling over docile and submissive subjects.”
          By the way the Nazi’s weren’t the only ones that persecuted us. American, Britain, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and many other contries we were banned and subjected to mob action because of our faith.

        • Paul

          Retro said; Great! Then you will understand why people like Bob and I ask the questions we do. Since your denomination has seen and corrected the errors of every other denomination, you can plainly see why atheists have also correctly seen these same errors.
          Paul said; Yes I do understand Retro, Bob. In fact we like you have been exposing the errors of the ‘church’ for over the last 100 years. But we have been replacing these errors with the ‘Truth’ from God’s Word. Along with exposing the errors we offer positive solutions.
          Yes and I see you see the errors Retro and Bob, but that does not mean the Bible is wrong. It means men have abused their power, wrongly translated the Bible. But don’t judge God on what men do. He is going to sort it out in the near future, in the mean time we have the opportunity of finding the truth.
          It is man that has slandered God, and we aim to set the record straight.

        • Paul

          Retro said; And I’ve also seen God’s Word do nothing, or even make things worse. I’ve seen it divide families and friends. Jesus even said He didn’t bring peace, but a sword. Teaching that the world will end soon has devastating consequences as “the end” just never seems to show up. Why go to college, get married, have kids, or start a business… it’s all ending at anytime now, right? As a JW Paul, what do you do with friends or family members who don’t follow the JW teachings? How does any of this actually create stability in families?
          Good questions Retro. Well it is difficult at times I will admit, I have two sisters who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. But we are always supportive of them. They like me have a right to make a choice, why should I judge them for that? I don’t. However they do understand the outcome of their choice, they don’t believe it but they understand it.
          Jehovah has a time table and sticks to it, in this, he is always reliable. That day will come Retro in his time not ours. I too would have liked it to come sooner, but then I think of all the people we have been able to help while waiting, makes the waiting worthwhile. I believe it is very close and that is why me and my family don’t focus on a lot of material things, but keep life fairly simple to give us more time to help others before it is too late. Jehovah gives everyone an opportunity but will not force us, we take that very seriously and that is why Jehovah’s Witnesses are fully engaged in preaching worldwide. Like our Father we don’t want anyone to be destroyed, but accept the fact not all will listen.

        • Retro

          Paul wrote: You must have had a terrible childhood to consider something like that. I feel very sorry for you.

          And you must have had some kind of wonderful childhood to consider a being that has done what the Old Testament God has done is any kind of good being.

          If you feel sorry for me, feel sorry for me because I had a Christian upbringing.

        • Paul

          Retro said; And you must have had some kind of wonderful childhood to consider a being that has done what the Old Testament God has done is any kind of good being. If you feel sorry for me, feel sorry for me because I had a Christian upbringing.
          Paul said; No I did not have a good childhood as it happens, very violent and abusive. But when I was about 10 my Dad and Mum began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses and things started to change. Although my Dad must have found it difficult, over the years he changed from being violent and abusive to being someone I could respect in later years. I saw the power of God’s Word change someone for the better. I too rebelled for some time but saw how futile it all was and by applying the principles in God’s Word it changed my life for the better. Not saying any of us are perfect, far from it. But I have seen God’s Word when applied correctly really does work, I have had the privilege of helping many with terrible lives change for the better. Not that I am anything special, but it is the power of God’s Word. That is what I would expect from my creator, he knows what is best for us. Like any manufacturer, they know best for their machines because they designed them.
          Once you actually understand the OT more fully and accurately then you will understand Jehovah. After all Jehovah had those books written so we could get to know him. Do you think he for one minute had that written so we could find out he was a mean cruel God? I would expect an enemy to write such a book. But Jehovah had it written, and the Bible says he is a God of Love, so it must be your understanding of it that is wrong, because how can a God of Love do cruel things? Doesn’t add up eh? I don’t know where you live but a Jehovah’s Witness would love to help you understand this if you give them the time of day.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Paul:

          it changed my life for the better.

          You changed your life for the better. When life gets rocky (as it does for each of us), remember that you had the strength to improve your life.

          Do you think he for one minute had that written so we could find out he was a mean cruel God?

          Huh? He is a mean, cruel god. That’s what we say about people who accept slavery and order genocide.

          And why would that be a problem for the authors of the OT? It’s not like God being a jerk calls into question someone painting him that way in a book.

          how can a God of Love do cruel things? Doesn’t add up eh?

          That is a puzzle–but wait a minute … what if we consider that there is no God and people just wrote about him. The ruling class, who had the books written, wanted a tough, kick-ass god to rally the tribe against enemies and knock them into shape when they got out of line.

        • Paul

          Glad you agree that it is inconsistent that a God of love would do such horrible things, so either he did not do them or he must have had extremely good reasons.

        • Retro

          Paul said: Well it is difficult at times I will admit, I have two sisters who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. But we are always supportive of them. They like me have a right to make a choice, why should I judge them for that?

          I personally know JW’s who have shunned family members who have left.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Paul:

          either he did not do them or he must have had extremely good reasons.

          Or maybe he doesn’t exist. Maybe he’s just myth like all the other gods.

  • Bob Calvan

    They profess to have the only true Christian church, to be the only true representatives of God, to have the only correct biblical teaching, and to be the only true announcers of Jehovah’s coming kingdom.
    If they are the only true church and are the only true voice of God’s word, then what they say should prove to be true, especially in prophecy. When it comes to predicting the future, the Watchtower organization fails miserably. Following are some of the false predictions made over the years by the Watchtower organization.

    Remember Deut. 18:22, “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” If someone makes a false prophecy, and they have claimed to be a prophet of God, then they are false prophets and are not to be listened to. Do the Witnesses claim to be the prophet of God? Yes, they do.

    In 1972 the Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower claimed to be the prophet of God.

    IDENTIFYING THE “PROPHET” — “So does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet?…This “prophet” was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses…Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a ‘prophet’ of God. It is another thing to prove it,” (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1972, p. 197). (See Deut. 18:21.)

    Here are false prophecies from the watchtower:

    1897 “Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874,” (Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 4, p. 621).
    1899 “…the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced,” (The Time Is at Hand, 1908 edition, p. 101).
    1916 “The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th Day, the 1000 years of Christ’s Reign, began in 1873,” (The Time Is at Hand, forward, p. ii).
    1918 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection,” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89).
    1922 “The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914,” (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1922, p. 262).
    1923 “Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge,” (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1923, p. 106).
    1925 “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year,” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3).
    1925 “It is to be expected that Satan will try to inject into the minds of the consecrated, the thought that 1925 should see an end to the work,” (Watchtower, Sept., 1925, p. 262).
    1926 “Some anticipated that the work would end in 1925, but the Lord did not state so. The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything,” (Watchtower, p. 232).
    1931 “There was a measure of disappointment on the part of Jehovah’s faithful ones on earth concerning the years 1917, 1918, and 1925, which disappointment lasted for a time…and they also learned to quit fixing dates,” (Vindication, p. 338).
    1941 “Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord’s provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon,” (Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1941, p. 288).
    1968 “True, there have been those in times past who predicted an ‘end to the world’, even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The ‘end’ did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing?.. Missing from such people were God’s truths and evidence that he was using and guiding them,” (Awake, Oct. 8, 1968).
    1968 “Why are you looking forward to 1975?” (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1968, p. 494).

    A true prophet of God won’t err in prophesying. Only a false prophet does. The Jehovah’s Witness organization, that claims to be a prophet of God, is really a false prophet. Jesus warned us by saying, “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect — if that were possible” (Matt. 24:24).

  • Arkenaten

    “Although you do express a faith in scientists with even less evidence.

    (said Paul, as he typed on a computer, using the Internet, in a room lit by electricity.)”
    I had to get myself another cup of tea after this, I spilled the first on my pants!
    I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. I do flit, but each post has something. Your abortion series is a tricky one. Brave of you to tackle it. Hows it go? “You are a stronger man than I, Gunga Din:
    The Bob and Bob show. :)
    To paraphrase Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory)” Bob C is a hoot n’ half!”

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Glad you like it! Tell your friends!


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