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Word of the Day: Burqa, Niqab, Hijab

A novel that tackles Christian apologeticsHijab is the Muslim dress code for women. It is typically interpreted to permit only the hands and face to be visible in public. It also refers to the headscarf that covers the head but not the face.

The niqab is a cloth that covers the face. It can reveal the eyes or have a mesh or veil that covers the eyes. Seeing through the veil is reportedly no more difficult than seeing through sunglasses.

The burqa is a loose-fitting outer garment that covers the body and includes both the niqab face covering and hijab head covering. The hands and face are often treated together, with customs saying either that they may both be visible or must both be covered. In the latter case, women often wear gloves.

The Arab world has many local customs, of course, and there are many variations. For example, the chador is an Iranian cloak without fasteners that is held closed in front.

Demands on men are minimal by comparison, often interpreted to require covering the knees and avoiding jewelry.

France banned “ostentatious religious symbols” like the hijab from public schools in 2004. Nicolas Sarkozy (then a French minister) justified it this way: “When I enter a mosque, I remove my shoes. When a Muslim girl enters school, she must remove her veil.” Turkey also prohibits the hijab in schools and universities. The French law was extended in 2010 to ban face covering in public, including the niqab.

A Muslim-American woman is the second-best saber fencer in the U.S. and is hoping to represent the U.S. in the 2012 Olympics, even though it will fall in Ramadan, the month when she will be prohibited from eating or drinking during the day. She conforms to hijab and was attracted to the sport because the uniform (inadvertently) also conforms to hijab.

From a Western standpoint, it’s easy to see the hijab requirement as oppressive, though from the inside it can be seen as a matter of cultural identity. A cultural demand doesn’t always vanish when that demand is lifted. During the Qing dynasty (1644–1912), Manchu rulers imposed queues (long ponytail with an otherwise shaved head) on Chinese men. Not wearing one was considered disloyal and a capital crime, but when the dynasty ended, many men still wore the queue as a custom.

A fascinating example of unexpected consequences came when wearing the veil became mandatory in Iran after the 1979 revolution. Protest came from an unexpected quarter—women who had been wearing the veil. Before, they could publicly say, “God is great” by wearing the veil in public. After, they were simply obeying the law.

Imagine a Christian theocracy in the West that made wearing crosses mandatory. The same thing would happen to the cross as happened to the Iranian veil—the cross would no longer be a religious statement but a political one.

I wonder if there’s something of this kind of unexpected consequence with Christian morality. Do Christians do good things just because they’re the right thing to do? That is, do they do good things for the same reasons that atheists do them? Or do they do them because God is watching? Whether God is tallying up good and bad actions that will confront the Christian in heaven or the Christian is simply trying to put a smile on God’s face, I wonder if the Christian moral motivation is shallower than that of the atheist.

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About Bob Seidensticker
  • Rick Townsend

    This is a new low. You use the excesses and legalism of Islam to take a cheap shot at Christianity. You imagine a new legalism (wearing crosses) and hypothesize what might happen. Quite a stretch.

    Concerning why Christians do good things, the Christian belief is that God does not keep score of good and bad actions and give us a batting average to determine the entry requirements for Heaven. None of us are qualified, so we all need the substituted payment of Christ (who needed no payment because he did not sin) to make our own personal payment, also the substituted fulfillment of all of the Old Testament Law. “For by grace you have been saved through faith … not the result, so that no one can boast.” (Paul, writing to the Ephesians)

    Christians don’t do good works because they have any ability to improve our standing with God. They do them out of gratitude for what God has already done. This is the ideal, and surely some do it out of false motives. There is an element of maturity and personal growth as we come to this full understanding, but what I summarized here is the scriptural approach to doing good works.

    As for Atheists, I’m still waiting for that listing of Darwin, Gould, Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et al, wings of the local hospitals, African AIDS clinics or orphanages. I know they must be out there. The government and UN sponsored ones you listed previously don’t count, because they use Christian tax dollars as well as yours. I want the ones that are specifically motivated by all of the atheists who get together to do something simply because it is the right thing to do.

    Maybe you could start a new blog addressing the excesses of other religions, rather than simply attacking Christianity. They are all wrong according to the atheist perspective, so there is lots of room for targeting falsehood in all directions. You could really clean up the world. Why limit yourself to only attacking one God—why not all of them at once? Think of the possibilities. No need to limit your anger to only one God.

    • Rick Townsend

      The quote from Paul left out a phrase, and should have been, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. ” Editing error. Sorry!

      • Bob Seidensticker

        And then you have the parable of the sheep and goats (Matt. 25), which makes clear that you get into the Kingdom through works, not faith.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      You use the excesses and legalism of Islam to take a cheap shot at Christianity.

      Sorry–I’m missing the cheap shot. The last paragraph is just my musings, obviously, but I think the second-to-last one is well-supported speculation.

      As for Atheists, I’m still waiting for that listing of Darwin, Gould, Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et al, wings of the local hospitals, African AIDS clinics or orphanages. I know they must be out there.

      If you didn’t like my answer when I gave it last time, I’m sure you won’t be impressed when I repeat it here. Secular organizations include CARE, Oxfam, Kiva, and so on. I’m sure you can list them as well as I can. If you’re looking for not secular but atheist organizations, there’s Foundation Beyond Belief.

      And here is an article about atheist giving at the Richard Dawkins Foundation.

      The government and UN sponsored ones you listed previously don’t count, because they use Christian tax dollars as well as yours.

      Ah, but they do count. Atheists want society to address problems. They’re often the ones who are pushing for more government money put toward social problems, both here and abroad. Teamwork, right?

      Maybe you could start a new blog addressing the excesses of other religions, rather than simply attacking Christianity.

      Not a bad idea, but I want to focus on the biggest issue from a U.S. perspective, Christianity.

  • http://www.hongkongudy.com Karl Udy

    It is interesting that you can see ulterior (or ultimate) motives for religious people doing good things, and also that you think that this cheapens their motives.

    Firstly, does doing something good for your children because it pleases them, make the good that you do less? And so on, with any good things we do, does the mere fact that doing the good is not an end make doing the good less?

    Secondly, do atheists really have no other reasons or rationale for the good that they do, other than it is good or right? Could they not also be trying to please someone? Or do they enjoy the feeling they have after they do something good?

    Actually I had no issue with your entire post up until the last paragraph, which I thought was an unfair jibe, hence my response.

  • Bob Calvan

    When one becomes a Christian by the Grace of God. He becomes a new creation zealous for good works. This is a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit. When Christ becomes the substitute for that sinner , Christ’s righteousness is imputed to that sinner. Which enables Him do good works. Not to earn salvation but to glorify the God who saved them. The Christians good works is the evidence that He is a born again true believer.

    The atheist can do nothing good. For all the good that an atheist does is for his own selfish reasons. ( Idolatry) Not for the glory of God. The Bible tells us that all the Good that the unbeliever does is like filthy rags ( menstrual cloths) in God’s eyes.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      The atheist can do nothing good. For all the good that an atheist does is for his own selfish reasons. ( Idolatry) Not for the glory of God.

      Following your conscience to do good is selfish? I’m missing that. I can’t imagine why God is so sensitive that he would even care about someone praising him–makes him sound like a petty king. And if you want to argue that the atheist ignores God as the true cause of the good in the world, you need to give us a reason to imagine that he exists. Despite all your writing, nothing so far.

      The Bible tells us that all the Good that the unbeliever does is like filthy rags ( menstrual cloths) in God’s eyes.

      Then thank God for the filthy rags of atheist philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett! They do philanthropy at a scale that I could never approach, both in absolute dollars but also percentage dollars.

      • Rick Townsend

        What conscience? That (according to atheists) is simply evolutionary leftover baggage and sentimentality. The only real motivation under evolutionary naturalism is to increase the survivability of the best fit organism. So good must somehow increase survivability of the individual to pass along his or her genes in order to be truly good in that world view.

        As for Buffett and Gates, I suspect they have some altruism that can’t be accounted for in whole by the above motivations. How do you explain that? They also support lots of third world relief efforts that end up using abortion as a tool, which of course is problematic for Christians and makes it hard to get on that bandwagon. Killing viable babies versus doing good? Not so much. But that’s just that silly Christian sentimentality.

        • Bob Seidensticker

          What conscience? That (according to atheists) is simply evolutionary leftover baggage and sentimentality.

          So because we can explain the origin of humans’ moral instinct, it’s irrelevant or nonexistent or unimportant? This sounds like Bob Calvan’s famous genetic fallacy (though actually applicable this time).

          The only real motivation under evolutionary naturalism is to increase the survivability of the best fit organism.

          Sometimes being ruthless can improve your odds of surviving; sometimes it’s cooperation.

          As for Buffett and Gates, I suspect they have some altruism that can’t be accounted for in whole by the above motivations. How do you explain that?

          Explain what? You haven’t shown me anything that’s unaccounted for by moral instinct + cultural morality.

          They also support lots of third world relief efforts that end up using abortion as a tool, which of course is problematic for Christians and makes it hard to get on that bandwagon. Killing viable babies versus doing good?

          Oh? What fraction of their philanthropic efforts is focused on killing babies? 60%? 80%? I tend to doubt it.

          And when you say “killing babies,” I’m imagining ripping babies from mothers’ arms. Is this what those guys fund? Golly, I never knew that.

          I guess that makes them very biblical. “Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished” (Isaiah 13:16).

        • Retro

          What conscience? That (according to atheists) is simply evolutionary leftover baggage and sentimentality.

          What atheist ever said that the conscience is leftover evolutionary baggage? Do you have any names and quotes?

          So good must somehow increase survivability of the individual to pass along his or her genes in order to be truly good in that world view.

          Who says it has to do with the survivability of the INDIVIDUAL? Read anything scientific about evolution, and you’ll find that individuals will often suffer personally for the good of a larger group.

          They also support lots of third world relief efforts that end up using abortion as a tool, which of course is problematic for Christians and makes it hard to get on that bandwagon.

          Don’t get on the abortion bandwagon then, no one expects you to. Many atheists are not on the abortion bandwagon either.

          What I do expect is that people like you will get on the education and contraceptive bandwagon so that unwanted pregnancies might actually be reduced.

  • Rick Townsend

    The sheep and goats parable has nothing to do with good works…

    • Bob Seidensticker

      “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”

      Sure sounds like good works to me.

      • Rick T

        It does indeed, if you take this passage in isolation and don’t look at the context of the chapter, the book the teachings of Jesus at a whole, etc. There are principles for interpreting passages that when you take verses in isolation you totally miss. But you don’t really want the explanation, you just want to cherry pick verses to support your contention. Lots of folks make this error, including the Phelps and Campings. So you are in good company!

        • Bob Seidensticker

          Is it me who’s putting the passage in a flawed context … or you? I understand the concern, and I agree it’s a valid one.

          What rings alarm bells in my mind is someone saying about one passage, “C’mon–it’s in plain English here. Don’t try to shanghai the meaning.” John 3:16, say. But then about some other passage (that, curiously, doesn’t have a literal reading that fits with their own theology), they’ll say, “Whoa, big fella. Let’s take this slow and see what it really means.”

          Educate me. When (besides when it suits you) do you read things literally and when do you need a wider context (including, apparently, the entire NT)? Is there a simple bias-free rule that even a God hater like me can use?

          My understanding is that you need to beat your own theology against the anvil of the Bible, not beat the Bible to take the shape of your theology. Is this correct?

  • Rick T

    Reference Retro’s comment: “Who says it has to do with the survivability of the INDIVIDUAL? Read anything scientific about evolution, and you’ll find that individuals will often suffer personally for the good of a larger group.”

    REALLY? Thanks–my bad. I thought the idea was that individual mutations allegedly assisted in magically creating some capability that helped an individual survive, then it might get naturally selected and eventually infect the whole group with the new characteristic. But now I find out it’s a group project! So now, the new reality of the evolution whiz-bang game is that SIMULTANEOUSLY a group ALL gets the same random undirected mutation to help ALL of them survive better! Shazam!

    Perhaps they had some sort of WiFi or OnStar network to coordinate these mutations. Did I miss that detail somewhere? And all along, I thought it was individual mutations. How could I have been so wrong?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      REALLY? Thanks–my bad. I thought the idea was that individual mutations allegedly assisted in magically creating some capability that helped an individual survive, then it might get naturally selected and eventually infect the whole group with the new characteristic. But now I find out it’s a group project!

      Yes, really. It’s called group selection. Some prefer the related idea of group sorting.

      Did I miss that detail somewhere? And all along, I thought it was individual mutations. How could I have been so wrong?

      Hey, don’t beat yourself up. If you immerse yourself in an evolution-denying environment, this kind of omission is inevitable.

      Hope this helps.

      • Rick Townsend

        But the group selection still has to start with the WiFi coordination, right? I’m just having such a hard time with this. Must be the stupidity in the denial factor. But I still thought the mutation had to start with a single mutation. You know, the one with the magic wand that makes a new beneficial characteristic? Sorry to be so dense.

  • Bob Calvan

    If everyone can see it is bad that makes it absolute. And refutes your relativism.

    Bob said:

    “….You have a rather childlike view of the word. If everyone agrees, that makes it universal. Maybe we all have a common moral instinct and that explains the universality. To make the additional leap to conclude that it’s absolute, you need, y’know, evidence….”

    You have stated many times that people have different moral view depending on their culture, and situations. You have agreed that morals are relitive. Then you make a statement …”

    ” Some people see abortion as the greater of two evils and others see it as the lesser of two evils, but everyone sees it as a bad thing…”

    That is an absolute moral statement. That it is universal that everyone’s sees it as a bad thing! So when did mankind have a convention to universally agree that abortion is a bad thing? And how do you know everyone sees it as a bad thing? Did you interview the entire planet and ask them? You fell in the tar pit and make an absolute moral truth statement that “everyone sees it as a bad thing”.

    God’s nature is pure good and perfect. God can not ( is incapable of) do anything bad.

    Bob said:

    ” Another dictionary problem, I’m afraid. Please show me in the dictionary definition of “bad” where it says, “… except if God does it….

    So the dictionary is your standard of truth? OK! The Dictionary defines God as the ” supreme or ultimate reality: The Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe. So Merriam Webster proves the existence of God..Looks like you ( tar baby) are the one with a “DICTIONARY PROBLEM”..

    The Dictionary says “Bad” means …”Failing to reach an acceptable standard” . Of course the Atheist has no standard of truth is is all relative to him. And God can not go against His nature. So God is incapable to ever lie or do wrong. It is impossible of God to do evil.

    Bob Said:
    ” You don’t get to just say that whatever God does is good by definition…”

    The Bible and Webster’s dictionary said God is perfect in GOODNESS… Is that good enough? Just can’t get out of the tar pit with your relivisim..You keep coming up with these absolute truths and morality. Whether you like it or not it can not be avoided by any relativist. So you can shut down your blog now..As Webster and the Bible defined God for you.. And you are always using the dictionary for your source. And you always say you are consistent so you can not be arbitrary of the absolute truth that all bachelors are single men. That is an absolute truth.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      If everyone can see it is bad that makes it absolute. And refutes your relativism.

      Try again. If everyone can see it’s bad, that makes it universal!

      If your whole argument had been that we share moral instincts, I agree. (High five!) But I think you’re going for something else.

      You fell in the tar pit and make an absolute moral truth statement that “everyone sees it as a bad thing”.

      Bob Calvan’s up to his old tricks! Gotta love it!

      (Bob C, since this is a foreign concept to you, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The way English works is that native speakers often make statements of the form, “X is true” or “Y is bad” or something like this. What they mean is “It is my opinion that X is true” and so on. The qualifier would be so tedious to include on every relevant statement that we native speakers just drop it. It’s understood. Until you can move past the training wheels phase, you’ll have to try to remember that implied qualifier.)

      God’s nature is pure good and perfect. God can not ( is incapable of) do anything bad.

      And yet when we read the OT we find lots of counterexamples. Ouch! There goes your good and perfect god, I’m afraid. My recommendation is to avoid judging God with labels like good/bad, perfect/imperfect, and so on to avoid this problem.

      So the dictionary is your standard of truth?

      You’re not familiar with a dictionary? No, a dictionary isn’t the standard of truth; it simply lets us use common definitions for words. Only with common definitions can we communicate.

      So Merriam Webster proves the existence of God.

      … or not.

      Looks like you ( tar baby) are the one with a “DICTIONARY PROBLEM”.

      Curses! When will I learn not to match wits with you?

      Of course the Atheist has no standard of truth is is all relative to him.

      Your concern is touching. Thanks for that.

      Actually, there’s no problem here. We’re all Homo sapiens, so we have a common moral instinct. And we share (more or less) the morality of our culture. So when someone (atheist or Christian, it doesn’t matter) says, “X is good/bad,” other people of that culture are already pretty much up to speed with what he’s trying to say.

      The Bible and Webster’s dictionary said God is perfect in GOODNESS… Is that good enough?

      Nope. The nagging ball and chain on your foot is the Old Testament. No one who ordered genocide, condoned slavery, and killed everyone with a flood is good.

      There’s that dictionary again. Curses!

  • Rick Townsend

    Reference Bob S.’s comment above, “Educate me. When (besides when it suits you) do you read things literally and when do you need a wider context (including, apparently, the entire NT)? Is there a simple bias-free rule that even a God hater like me can use?” No, you have to have the secret handshake. But even Wikipedia gets that there is an alternate understanding to the parable. That one is the one most Christians would go with. Maybe they can help you more than I usually can.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      This doesn’t answer my question for a bias-free rule that lets you decide how to interpret Bible passages. You can sympathize with my concern, I imagine. We must have a single, agreed-to standard.

      I read Wikipedia’s second interpretation but I’m afraid it made no sense to me.

      The disadvantaged men spoken of [in the parable] are actually fellow Christians. Instead of the division between blessed and cursed being based on good works, it is based on one’s response to the people and message of Christ’s Church.

      Can you help me out?

  • Bob Calvan

    God gives life and takes life as the perfect right of the creator.

    Bob asked:

    “So it’s impossible for God to do wrong? He can do whatever he wants, and it’s by definition “good”?

    Yup, your catching on. God by His nature and character is the definition of Good .

    Bob asked:

    :Imagine this: you’re standing at the gates of heaven with your ticket in hand. God cracks open the door and say, “Nope, you don’t get in,” and down to hell you go. You’re totally comfortable with God doing that if he so chooses? That would be a “good” act?….”

    Well that is not the Christian view on Soteriology. ( But when have you ever defined what Christians truly believe? All you do is misrepresent Christianity) We are not justified by what we do. We are Justified by the blood of Jesus Christ. And we are justified by God’s grace. God looks at the Christian and see the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to that person Jesus was the substitute for. So your “ticket in the hand” analogy fails.

    God said Jacob I love and Esau I hate.( Rom.9) God has mercy on whom He will and Hardens whom He will…God raised Pharaoh to show His power.(Rom 9)

    Bob said:

    “Yeah, I see what you mean. The God as imagined by the Bible is a nasty piece of work…”

    Not if you understand the depravity of man and the love of God. Your statement is similar to the objector Paul is talking about in Romans 9. Interesting.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      God gives life and takes life as the perfect right of the creator.

      Suppose we created a race of beings–biological, robotic, whatever. As creators, would we have zero moral obligation to avoid torturing or killing our new creatures?

      God by His nature and character is the definition of Good .

      Then you’ll have to tell me how this “good god” can then go on a rampage through the Old Testament, killing with abandon. This wouldn’t be good if you were a king and ordered it; why make a special case for God? The dictionary doesn’t.

      Well that is not the Christian view on Soteriology.

      So whatever God does is right … except in the case of salvation. And in that case God is bound by standards?

      Curiouser and curiouser …

      We are Justified by the blood of Jesus Christ.

      Sweet! Heaven, here I come!

      God looks at the Christian and see the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to that person Jesus was the substitute for. So your “ticket in the hand” analogy fails.

      Since that’s not the whole story (don’t forget the obligatory faith requirement), your “Jesus saved mankind” analogy fails.

      Not if you understand the depravity of man and the love of God.

      Ah, if only he a god who loved all of mankind! That’d be a nice story. But the OT shows the lie in that.

  • Bob Calvan

    Interesting I just read this:

    All forms of skepticism [relativism] are self-contradictory.. They all amount to saying that it is true that there is no truth, or we can know that we cannot know, or we can be certain that we cannot be certain, or it is a universal truth that there are no universal truths, or you can be quite dogmatic about the fact that you can’t be dogmatic, or it is an absolute that there are no absolutes, or it is an objective truth that there is no objective truth.”2

    Obviously, absolute truth does exist, because, among other issues, it logically cannot not exist. Rather than possessing the counter-intuitive disbelief, some people simply don’t want to believe absolute truth exists, because once they acknowledge its existence, they must contend with its origin. Since absolute truth must be immutable, individuals or society at large cannot be the source. Only an eternal, immutable, un-created, infallible, omniscient, transcendent, self-aware, rational, willful, personal being could be the source of absolute truth.

    This being is none other than the God of biblical Christianity. He is the righteous, just and loving being to whom we are accountable for the absolute truth He has revealed to us through His creation, our conscience, the Bible and God the Son (the crucified and physically resurrected, ascended and coming-again Savior). This accountability is an anathema to the postmodern mind. Fear of and rebellion against ultimate accountability is the real barrier to acknowledged belief in absolute truth and a practical manifestation of that belief.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      They all amount to saying that it is true that there is no truth

      Nope. They say, “Absolute moral truth? Show me the evidence. Given that I see none, I will provisionally conclude that there is none. But, of course, I’m open to new evidence.”

      Obviously, absolute truth does exist, because, among other issues, it logically cannot not exist.

      Yet another bold claim unsupported by evidence. Can you elaborate on this claim and turn it into an evidence-based argument?

      This accountability is an anathema to the postmodern mind. Fear of and rebellion against ultimate accountability is the real barrier to acknowledged belief in absolute truth and a practical manifestation of that belief.

      Ah–the atheist actually isn’t an atheist. He knows good and well that God exists but he’s just in rebellion.

      That … or Christianity is just one more of the thousands of made-up religions.

      Gotta have that evidence!

    • Retro

      Bob C wrote: All forms of skepticism [relativism] are self-contradictory.. They all amount to saying that it is true that there is no truth, or we can know that we cannot know, or we can be certain that we cannot be certain, or it is a universal truth that there are no universal truths, or you can be quite dogmatic about the fact that you can’t be dogmatic, or it is an absolute that there are no absolutes, or it is an objective truth that there is no objective truth.”2

      Do you realize that you’re switching back and forth between definitions of the word “truth”, often within the same sentence?

      Who is claiming there is no truth? No one here is doing that.

      Can I be certain that I cannot be certain without contradicting myself? YES! It is not a logical fallacy to realize that you don’t know what you don’t know. I’m certain that I don’t know everything.

      Obviously, absolute truth does exist, because, among other issues, it logically cannot not exist.

      Absolute truth about what? There may be some things that might be said to be the absolute truth, like water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but this doesn’t mean that everything can be answered absolutely.

      Do you realize that you’re simply taking the absolute truth ABOUT SOMETHING, and turning it into A SOMEBODY?

      Since absolute truth must be immutable, individuals or society at large cannot be the source. Only an eternal, immutable, un-created, infallible, omniscient, transcendent, self-aware, rational, willful, personal being could be the source of absolute truth.

      How does the God of the Bible fulfill this? The God of the Bible changes His mind, so He is not immutable. How can one have a will and be immutable too?

      Where does the Old Testament God come anywhere close to being rational?

      All the farther these logical arguments will get you is to Deism.

  • Bob Calvan

    God looks at the Christian and see the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to that person Jesus was the substitute for. So your “ticket in the hand” analogy fails.

    Bob said:

    “Since that’s not the whole story (don’t forget the obligatory faith requirement), your “Jesus saved mankind” analogy fails…”

    Jesus did not save mankind. Jesus saved His sheep. Jesus was the substitute for His sheep. ( John) Jesus only saved those the Father gave Him ( John 6 37-44). The faith requirement you spoke of is a gift of God.. As Rick T quoted …. ” For by GRACE you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph 2:8) ( Capitals added by me)

    When God gives GRACE to those He gives to Christ . It is a gift. And those individuals now have “saving faith” ( part of God’s gift to ) to repent and believe. So my “Jesus saved mankind ” analogy is one I never mentioned. But one you made up. But being all truth is relative to your subjective opinion, I would expect nothing less from you. You are a good little relativist.

    Just like way back when I refuted your Matt 25 interpretation of a works salvation. You just ignore the entire orthodox position of God’s doctrine of soteriology and put your foot in your mouth. The Triune God has a perfect plan of how He saves His elect. The Father chooses, the Son redeems, and the Spirit regenerates and indwells that person the Father chose. Has nothing to do with men’s works. The proof and evidence that one is a born again Christian is that person becomes a new creation zealous for good works. All his good works are for the glory of God. Not to earn a ticket to heaven.

    There are many warning passages in the NT that are a reminder that if one says he is a Christian , but never show the fruits of a Christian then that person has deceived himself. As John mentioned many time . Of those that walked with him eventually fell away. They were never truly saved. They were never Jesus sheep. Jesus knows His sheep and they Know Him and follow Him ( John10)

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Just like way back when I refuted your Matt 25 interpretation of a works salvation.

      You tried to refute the glaring problems with Matt. 25. Didn’t work on me, I’m afraid. Yes, I understand that most Christians don’t see a problem there. That doesn’t mean they’re not deluding themselves.

      Maybe you can answer the challenge I posed to Rick T: give me a straightforward rule for interpreting the Bible that anyone can use that leads me to your view of theology. That is, you’re not allowed to make a special case of this or that passage because the rule doesn’t fit your preconception.

      Obviously, “Interpret the Bible the way I do” is not the objective, bias-free rule that I’m looking for.

      You didn’t respond to my concerns about a “good” god rampaging through the Old Testament and whether God has the right to kill things for arbitrary reasons. Are we agreed then?

      Or do you want to have a go at justifying your bold claim of objective moral truths?

  • Bob Calvan

    Bob said:

    ” You respond to my concerns about a “good” god rampaging through the Old Testament and whether God has the right to kill things for arbitrary reasons….”

    Here is your problem. You say what God does in the old testament is wrong. In your worldview there is no God and there is no higher authority.. So where do you get off calling anyone immoral? You have no rational right to use morality. All you have is what you have told me that morals are a process through the evolution system. From biological and cultural evolution. So all you can say about God’s morality is ” That the God of the bible is acting inconsistent with human evolution” And we have also seen this human evolution is completely relative to the cultures of the people . Because we can have one group who thinks it is fine to eat hearts, cut off body parts of their enemies, and others they are fighting against think it is wrong to eat hearts and cut off body parts. So their morals are not even the same. It is relative to their groups. . So why should the God of the bible act in a way that is consistent with human evolution? That is what you are demanding. That’s it! That is all you can say! And I am sure even you can see the bankruptcy of that position.

    So you are imposing your evolutionary standard of your 21 century culture to judge God.. So you have no right to judge OT cultures because they are nothing like 21 century cultures. Being you say morals are relative what happened in the OT was the morals of those cultures. So your 21 century morals are irrelevant to theirs. The only way you can judge OT cultures is with a transcendent standard.. What we Christians have.

    Atheist who object to the moral conduct of God in the Bible are speaking out of both sides of their mouths.. They are saying there is no transcendent morality because there is no grounding for it because there is no God. But what the people did in the OT culture is bad. And the God of the OT is acting in a way inconsistent with 21 century human evolution.. What an absurdity. As The late Dr . Bahnsen said the Atheist worldview leads to absurdity.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      You say what God does in the old testament is wrong.

      Well, yeah. If any person did what God did, we’d call him “wrong.” Pretty simple analysis.

      So where do you get off calling anyone immoral? You have no rational right to use morality.

      Don’t like to crack open that dictionary? Mine says that “morality” means “a doctrine or system of moral conduct” or “particular moral principles or rules of conduct.” Why would an atheist have any difficulty being moral or using morality?

      Is there something absolute in the definition that I missed?

      All you have is what you have told me that morals are a process through the evolution system.

      There’s what morality is and where it came from. Who cares where it came from? I fear that you’re confusing yourself.

      all you can say about God’s morality is ” That the God of the bible is acting inconsistent with human evolution”

      Huh? What does evolution have to do with the topic at hand?

      The God of the OT acts like a homicidal maniac. And y’know what? Anyone who could see the stories objectively would agree. (Imagine, for example, a story equivalent to the Flood or the Canaanite genocide being told about Shiva or Quetzalcoatl. The Christian would have no difficulty identifying those actions as bad.)

      And we have also seen this human evolution is completely relative to the cultures of the people .

      Again, what does evolution have to do with anything?

      If you’re saying that different cultures have different moral customs, I agree. It’s still the case that you adopt a baby from culture A and raise it in culture B, it’ll easily take on culture B’s mores (while still maintaining the moral instinct common to all of us).

      So you are imposing your evolutionary standard of your 21 century culture to judge God.

      Let’s drop the “evolutionary” red herring.

      You tell me: is slavery moral? Or were we right to reject it? And before you handwave about OT slavery being A-OK, tell me if you’d be fine with it being in practice here in America in 2012.

      Slavery is either moral or it’s not, right? You’re the one with the idea of absolute morality–so which is it? Since the OT had slavery and we don’t, one of us is wrong. Or … are morals relative after all?

      The only way you can judge OT cultures is with a transcendent standard.. What we Christians have.

      Then do so! Either slavery is acceptable or it’s not. Pick (and by so doing, condemn either our society for not having it or OT society for having it).

      • Retro

        Bob S wrote: Well, yeah. If any person did what God did, we’d call him “wrong.” Pretty simple analysis.

        I know that Bob C has made this point in the past. If a human purposely gives a baby a fatal disease it’d be homicide, but it’s no problem if God does it.

        IMO, The problem with this kind of morality is that it turns morality on it’s head.

        Who is more accountable, a two-year-old baby, or an adult?

        Who should be more accountable, a human, or an infinite God?

        Why would an infinite God ever need to kill a human?

        Why would an infinite God ever need to command a human to kill another human? God being all-powerful and all-knowing, by definition, could always find another option, right?

        • Bob Seidensticker

          It’s bizarre, like a Dali painting. They have two opposite ideas that cohabitate their brains. Reminds me of the White Queen: “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

          They imagine an all-good God but are stuck with God’s murderous rampages in the Old Testament. (Maybe if they’d listened to the Marcionites and dropped the OT, this problem would’ve gone away!)

          With two opposite gods they solve the problem by removing God’s accountability. In human society, doesn’t the nobler person feel more bound to live by the best of society’s norms? And then these insane justifications like, “If you build a sand castle, no one would fault you for destroying it.” Why does God get a pass? Why would you want a god who would need a pass??

  • Bob Calvan

    So where do you get off calling anyone immoral? You have no rational right to use morality.

    Bob Said:

    “…Don’t like to crack open that dictionary? Mine says that “morality” means “a doctrine or system of moral conduct” or “particular moral principles or rules of conduct.” Why would an atheist have any difficulty being moral or using morality?….”

    I never said Atheist are not moral or do not use morality. You sound like a moral person who I would trust. I said you account your morality to evolution and cultural customs. Which you agree..That is why I brought up evolution. So answer me this? the dictionary definition you gave me mentions particular moral principles or “RULES” of conduct. What are these moral rules? And who made these moral rules? How can moral rules be relative?

    Bob said:

    all you can say about God’s morality is ” That the God of the bible is acting inconsistent with human evolution”

    “Huh? What does evolution have to do with the topic at hand?..”

    What I meant was according to you ( which is fine) Morals are a product of the evolutionary process of man. Morals come from instincts from evolution and from customs in our culture. So like I said the best you can say about the morality of God ( in your worldview) is that the God of the Bible is acting inconsistent with human morality. But morality in your worldview is relative, so you have no standard to judge God’s morality. All you can say is God morals are not relevant to your 21 century morality..That is the best you got,.

    Bob said:

    “..The God of the OT acts like a homicidal maniac. And y’know what? Anyone who could see the stories objectively would agree. (Imagine, for example, a story equivalent to the Flood or the Canaanite genocide being told about Shiva or Quetzalcoatl. The Christian would have no difficulty identifying those actions as bad.)…”

    Well that may be true for you in the 21 century culture you live in. But that is irrelevant to the culture of 4,000 years ago. Unless you think Homicide is an absolute moral wrong, transcendent of time, place or cultures.? ( Which is the Christian worldview) Otherwise all you can say is God of the Bible is acting inconsistent with your morality of this 21 century culture. But that is irrelevant since you are judging a an event 4,000 years ago.

    Bob said:

    “If you’re saying that different cultures have different moral customs, I agree…..” Yes, that is your position ( not mine). So be consistent with your worldview. You are judging God with your moral customs of the 21 century in the United State of America. What does that have to do with the moral customs of Israel 4,000 years ago? What your moral instincts and customs tell you today are irrelevant to those 4,000 years ago. Unless there are transcendent right and wrongs that are the same today as it was then? But , you reject that ( which is fine) . So all you can say is The God of the Bible is acting inconsistent with your human relative morality. That is the power of your argument, ( pretty sad)and shallow) What you really mean is even though I do not believe in this God. I hate Him and I hate His morality, He is a homicidal maniac.( a subjective personal irrelevant opinion) Your problem is not morality. It is you hate this God that does not exist. Does me hating the giant pink unicorn make sense? And creating a website spending 100′s of hours telling you this pink unicorn does not exist, then complain about this unicorn’s immorality? LOL.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      I never said Atheist are not moral or do not use morality.

      I think you did. You said, “So where do you get off calling anyone immoral? You have no rational right to use morality.”

      What are these moral rules? And who made these moral rules? How can moral rules be relative?

      Haven’t we been over this?

      These are to some extent instinctive rules. We have them in our programming. Evolution “made” them. They’re relative because we don’t share a hive mind but have our own different minds, shaped by our own unique life experiences.

      But morality in your worldview is relative, so you have no standard to judge God’s morality.

      When I say, “God acts like a rampaging madman,” I say this from my own standpoint. It’s obvious, right? What other platform of authority would I be speaking from? You act like this is surprising or (more important) that you do it any differently.

      Well that may be true for you in the 21 century culture you live in. But that is irrelevant to the culture of 4,000 years ago.

      Oh, so morals are relative then? We might very well say, “Slavery is wrong,” but that’s just society’s consensus opinion. There’s nothing absolute about that. A society 3000 years ago might well say, “Slavery is right” and we would have no absolute standard with which to judge them. All we can say is that their stand on slavery differs from ours, and we would change other societies to conform to our view if we could.

      Yup, that’s the way it works!

      Unless you think Homicide is an absolute moral wrong, transcendent of time, place or cultures.?

      I don’t. But you do, right?!

      I’m in no bind here, but looks like you’re stuck to your beloved tar baby.

      You are judging God with your moral customs of the 21 century in the United State of America.

      Yup! And God comes up short, I’m afraid.

      What does that have to do with the moral customs of Israel 4,000 years ago?

      Who cares? Not me. I look on that culture and I judge them to be immoral. Case closed.

      all you can say is The God of the Bible is acting inconsistent with your human relative morality. That is the power of your argument, ( pretty sad)and shallow)

      OK–it’s sad and shallow. Such is mankind’s lot. Show me something better. (And handwaving a Super Friend into existence doesn’t count. Gotta have evidence, remember? I’m funny that way.)

      Does me hating the giant pink unicorn make sense?

      That depends.

      In the first place, I don’t hate God or unicorns. I hate what this nutty religion causes people to do to my society. See the difference?

      Now, back to your analogy: if unicorn-religion was causing people to act in anti-social ways in the U.S., that would cause you heartburn. That’s why you would get agitated.

    • Retro

      Bob C wrote: So all you can say is The God of the Bible is acting inconsistent with your human relative morality.

      Actually, we can say that the God of the Bible is acting inconsistently with His own morality.

      Can you not see this? God says killing is bad, but then orders his followers to kill. God says that the Egyptian slavery of the Israelites was wrong, but then gives the newly freed Israelites His blessing to enslave foreigners for life. God says to turn the other cheek, to forgive others, and talks about “an eye for an eye”, but then promises to torture His own enemies for ever and ever for an infinity for a finite transgression. (Do I need to remind you that God is infinite and cannot be harmed, so harming humans who cannot harm Him cannot be justified.)

      What you really mean is even though I do not believe in this God. I hate Him and I hate His morality, He is a homicidal maniac.( a subjective personal irrelevant opinion) Your problem is not morality. It is you hate this God that does not exist.

      As a Christian, you are to love God more than anyone and anything else. As atheists, we simply don’t even try to pretend that we can possibly do this.

      If not being able to love an invisible, immaterial, infinite God more than I love my own child translates to me “hating God”, then so be it.

  • Bob Calvan

    Retro said
    Bob C wrote: So all you can say is The God of the Bible is acting inconsistent with your human relative morality.

    “..Actually, we can say that the God of the Bible is acting inconsistently with His own morality..”

    God is the standard of Truth, Goodness, rationality, and logic. It is not in God’s nature to be Untruthful, Bad, Irrational, and Immoral..If one assumes he see’s God in this way, the problem is with the assumer. Not God. Being God is perfect and the unbeliever is a fallen sinner. Blind to the truth.

    Retro said:

    “…Can you not see this? God says killing is bad, but then orders his followers to kill…”

    Actually God said Murder is wrong. Killing people who break God’s laws is Justified. Even in our culture.

    Retro said:

    ‘… God says to turn the other cheek, to forgive others, and talks about “an eye for an eye”, but then promises to torture His own enemies for ever and ever for an infinity for a finite transgression…..”

    Context, context, context! Jesus was not teaching pacifism. There are times to take insults and just be quite and turn away. And Christians are to always forgive and not hold enmity against his fellow man. And there is capital punishment for law breakers. As for eternal punishment in hell, it seems you are assuming man does not continue to sin in hell. Or man does not continue to hate God in hell. Man will continue in his sin shaking his fist at God. And will also continue to experience God’s judgment against those sins for eternity.

    Retro asked

    What you really mean is even though I do not believe in this God. I hate Him and I hate His morality, He is a homicidal maniac.( a subjective personal irrelevant opinion) Your problem is not morality. It is you hate this God that does not exist.

    As a Christian, you are to love God more than anyone and anything else. As atheists, we simply don’t even try to pretend that we can possibly do this.

    If not being able to love an invisible, immaterial, infinite God more than I love my own child translates to me “hating God”, then so be it.

    Yup, that is what it translates to.. Good Job! you finally got one “Right” And that is an ABSOLUTE RIGHT. You hate God

    • Retro

      Actually God said Murder is wrong. Killing people who break God’s laws is Justified. Even in our culture.

      What? When was the last person executed in our culture for breaking the Sabbath, worshipping an idol, for using God’s name in vain, or for coveting their neighbors ass?

      People in our culture get killed only for harming other people, not for insulting God. Do you disagree with this?

      Bob C wrote: As for eternal punishment in hell, it seems you are assuming man does not continue to sin in hell. Or man does not continue to hate God in hell. Man will continue in his sin shaking his fist at God. And will also continue to experience God’s judgment against those sins for eternity.

      And you’re assuming that God can be harmed.

      Unless you can demonstrate how humans in Hell are harming God in some way, then there is no justification for harming these humans for an eternity.

      You can’t have it both ways Bob C. So which is it, your God is finite and Hell is justified, or your God is infinite and Hell is not justified?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      If one assumes he see’s God in this way, the problem is with the assumer. Not God. Being God is perfect and the unbeliever is a fallen sinner.

      And how do you deal with God’s obvious moral lapses when he orders genocide, condones slavery, or kills everyone with a flood? You simply redefine the words “good” and “evil” so they have exceptions for God! If God is good only when you define him so, that doesn’t say much about this guy!

      [Man] will also continue to experience God’s judgment against those sins for eternity.

      Infinite punishment for finite crimes–a sick interpretation of justice, but I suppose that’s what you’d expect from the Iron Age culture that invented God.

  • Bob Calvan

    ↓ Bo Said
    I never said Atheist are not moral or do not use morality.

    “…I think you did. You said, “So where do you get off calling anyone immoral? You have no rational right to use morality….

    What I am saying is you have no right to import your 21 century relative opinions on morality. The best you got is something may be true for you but may not be true for others. So all you are giving is your autobiography. But ( you can not truly live that way) your lifestyle shows you do hold to moral absolutes that exist outside yourself.. That is what I meant you have morals because God has written them on your heart. Which you deny and that is fine with me.

    Bob said:

    What are these moral rules? And who made these moral rules? How can moral rules be relative?

    “..Haven’t we been over this? ”

    “…These are to some extent instinctive rules. We have them in our programming. Evolution “made” them. They’re relative because we don’t share a hive mind but have our own different minds, shaped by our own unique life experiences….”

    Wow! “Evolution ‘made” them????? ( the evolution gap) . If there are rules to morality.. There must be a list of these rules? How many are there Hmmm? Maybe 10? Evolution has never been observed but you say evolution made moral rules? Where is your “Evidence” of these rules evolution made? Talk about blind faith ” evolution made moral rules” WOW!

    Bob said:

    But morality in your worldview is relative, so you have no standard to judge God’s morality.

    “…When I say, “God acts like a rampaging madman,” I say this from my own standpoint. It’s obvious, right? What other platform of authority would I be speaking from? You act like this is surprising or (more important) that you do it any differently….”

    Yes I understand you judge God from your 21 century relative standard of morality. That you acquired from evolution and living in the culture you come from.But as I said the best you can say is God is acting inconsistent with your understanding of 21 century morals . And you really have no “right” to judge God. Because that was 4,000 years ago. Different cultures and morals. ( in your worldview) that do nor apply to 21 century morals and cultures. The only way you could judge what happened 4,000 years ago is if you had a transcendent standard of morality. Which you do not hold to.

    Bob said:

    Well that may be true for you in the 21 century culture you live in. But that is irrelevant to the culture of 4,000 years ago.

    “…Oh, so morals are relative then? We might very well say, “Slavery is wrong,” but that’s just society’s consensus opinion. There’s nothing absolute about that. A society 3000 years ago might well say, “Slavery is right” and we would have no absolute standard with which to judge them. All we can say is that their stand on slavery differs from ours, and we would change other societies to conform to our view if we could….”

    Exactly that is your position ( not mine) . You stated it very well! Yup different cultural slavery. Just like you said. That would be your worldview..

    Bob said:

    “..Unless you think Homicide is an absolute moral wrong, transcendent of time, place or cultures.? ”

    “..I don’t. But you do, right?!…”

    Yes, we know my position.. Taking the life of humans beings without justification is absolutely wrong. transcendent of time. Thou shalt not Murder. But we are not discussing me.

    Bob said:

    You are judging God with your moral customs of the 21 century in the United State of America.

    “…Yup! And God comes up short, I’m afraid…

    What does that have to do with the moral customs of Israel 4,000 years ago?

    Who cares? Not me. I look on that culture and I judge them to be immoral. Case closed….

    Ok good! Of course we know that culture was doing what was the moral acceptable of that time..What the consensus agreed on. And if you like the way it was, or do not like the way it was is irrelevant. So case closed.. No need to bring it up anymore.

    Bob said:

    Does me hating the giant pink unicorn make sense?

    That depends.

    In the first place, I don’t hate God or unicorns. I hate what this nutty religion causes people to do to my society. See the difference?

    No. In your worldview this is what evolution “HAS MADE” ( quite a blind faith statement). According to you this is what our 21 century culture of morality has produced..We are just products of our moral instincts and cultures..so why get upset? Some people in your society think religion is good, and some do not. It is all relative. That is what evolution made. People with different moral opinions. No one is more valuable then anyone else’s . ( kinda sounds deterministic?). Kinda makes evolution you hold to personal? Like evolution made moral rules? hmm?

    I will be waiting for this list of rules that evolution made.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      What I am saying is you have no right to import your 21 century relative opinions on morality.

      Why would I give someone else a pass? When someone else enslaves, do I just say, “Ah, well–not right for me, but that must be right for them”? Nope–if I disagree morally, case closed. That’s wrong in my book.

      The best you got is something may be true for you but may not be true for others.

      Not reading my responses must be a nice time saver. Makes you look closed minded though–repeating the same arguments over and over without change or without consideration of what I’ve offered to the conversation.

      I’ve corrected you on this half a dozen times.

      If there are rules to morality.. There must be a list of these rules?

      This is meaningless–I can’t parse this.

      The only way you could judge what happened 4,000 years ago is if you had a transcendent standard of morality. Which you do not hold to.

      If it doesn’t comport with my sense of morality, I think it’s wrong. God’s murderous actions are immoral. Where’s the problem?

      Do you care to respond to any of my challenges to you? How you must juggle today’s abhorrence of slavery with the OT’s support of it, for example?

      Or would you prefer to just ignore my challenges because that’s easier than responding to them?

  • Bob Calvan

    “…………Infinite punishment for finite crimes–a sick interpretation of justice, but I suppose that’s what you’d expect from the Iron Age culture that invented God….”

    No man will infinitely be sinning and shaking his fist at God in hell. And will be infinitely punished..

    • Bob Seidensticker

      That’ll teach me! Until then, I guess I’ve got nothing. You’re certainly not helping to justify God’s actions or even supporting his existence.

  • Bob Calvan

    Retro asked:

    Actually God said Murder is wrong. Killing people who break God’s laws is Justified. Even in our culture.

    “…What? When was the last person executed in our culture for breaking the Sabbath, worshipping an idol, for using God’s name in vain, or for coveting their neighbors ass?

    “…People in our culture get killed only for harming other people, not for insulting God. Do you disagree with this?…”

    Sorry , what I was trying to say is people are killed for justified wrongs. ( even in our culture). Like we ( America) does using the death penalty. I was comparing how God kills those who break His laws .

    Retro asked:

    Bob C wrote: As for eternal punishment in hell, it seems you are assuming man does not continue to sin in hell. Or man does not continue to hate God in hell. Man will continue in his sin shaking his fist at God. And will also continue to experience God’s judgment against those sins for eternity.

    “…And you’re assuming that God can be harmed…”

    No nothing can harm God? Your point is?

    Retro asked:

    “…Unless you can demonstrate how humans in Hell are harming God in some way, then there is no justification for harming these humans for an eternity….”

    Well your whole premise is false. People do not go to hell for harming God? Where in the world did you come up with this?

    Retro asked:

    “…You can’t have it both ways Bob C. So which is it, your God is finite and Hell is justified, or your God is infinite and Hell is not justified?…”

    I have no Idea what you are talking about? This is no the Christian worldview?

    God is eternal, sovereign , holy, just, and merciful. Man has broken God’s laws. And God being just has the right to put all men in Hell. But God was so loving he gave His Son to substitute for those who repent of there sins. So Jesus can pay for your sins, or if you wish you can pay for your sins. No one receives injustice.

    • Retro

      Bob C wrote: Sorry , what I was trying to say is people are killed for justified wrongs. ( even in our culture). Like we ( America) does using the death penalty. I was comparing how God kills those who break His laws .

      In our culture, people are only executed if they have actually harmed another person. This is the morality of our culture. Our culture does not execute anyone for simply breaking God’s law.

      No nothing can harm God? Your point is?

      My point is that if God is not harmed, then what’s the punishment for? Is it for making God mad? Is it for making God sad? Is it for offending God’s feelings?

      Well your whole premise is false. People do not go to hell for harming God? Where in the world did you come up with this?

      Enlighten me, what is it EXACTLY that people go to Hell for?

      Man has broken God’s laws. And God being just has the right to put all men in Hell.

      You can’t simply state that God is just by definition. How do you know that God is just? What evidence do you have that God is just? Has God made an appearance to you and told you this personally?

      So according to you, picking up sticks for five minutes on the Sabbath is justification for being stoned to death and spending all of eternity being tortured in Hell?

      But God was so loving he gave His Son to substitute for those who repent of there sins.

      How does this work exactly? If my child breaks my rule, I can’t forgive my child unless I slap my wife?

      Seriously, punishing an innocent person like Jesus is wrong, so how EXACTLY do two wrongs make a right? How does Jesus’ death on the cross fix it so that Jeffrey Dahmer could be forgiven?

      Just in case anyone’s interested, here’s a blurb from Dahmer’s wikipedia page:

      Dahmer served his time at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, where he ultimately declared himself a born-again Christian. This conversion occurred after viewing evangelical material sent to him by his father. Roy Ratcliff, a local preacher from the Churches of Christ, met with Dahmer and agreed to baptize him.

  • Bob Calvan

    Or would you prefer to just ignore my challenges because that’s easier than responding to them?

    Sure! As sooon as you send me the List of moral rules that “EVOLUTION MADE..” The dictionary says there are moral “RULES” . What are they?

  • Bob Calvan

    Retro said:

    No nothing can harm God? Your point is?

    “…My point is that if God is not harmed, then what’s the punishment for? Is it for making God mad? Is it for making God sad? Is it for offending God’s feelings?

    Well your whole premise is false. People do not go to hell for harming God? Where in the world did you come up with this?

    “…Enlighten me, what is it EXACTLY that people go to Hell for?…”

    For breaking God’s law. For rejecting their creator and worshiping false gods. ( Idolatry)..False gods such as unbelief, humanism, secularism, relativism, self gratification. You name it!

    Retro asked:

    Man has broken God’s laws. And God being just has the right to put all men in Hell…”

    “…You can’t simply state that God is just by definition. How do you know that God is just? What evidence do you have that God is just? Has God made an appearance to you and told you this personally?…”

    God has revealed His truth in the OT and the NT..All Scripture is inspired by God. ( do you accept this? No, but that is irrelevant). God’s perfect nature is absolute truth, goodness, logic, and morality. So my standard of absolute truth , goodness , reason, and morality is from the nature of God. Your is from relativism.

    Retro asked:

    “…So according to you, picking up sticks for five minutes on the Sabbath is justification for being stoned to death and spending all of eternity being tortured in Hell?…”

    Again you have no idea what you are talking about. The man who picked up sticks did not go to hell for picking up sticks..He went to hell for blatantly disobeying God’s commands. That is why people go to hell. For breaking God’s commands..( The ten commandments God’s moral law written on the hearts of all men). Whether you like it or not.

    Retro asked:

    But God was so loving he gave His Son to substitute for those who repent of there sins.

    “…How does this work exactly? If my child breaks my rule, I can’t forgive my child unless I slap my wife?…”

    “…Seriously, punishing an innocent person like Jesus is wrong, so how EXACTLY do two wrongs make a right?….”

    God is infinite, holy, and just. Man has rebelled against God and man’s sins must be accounted for. God does not wink at sin and just let it go..It is wonderful to know that people like Hitler will not go unpunished for the atrocities he committed. It is wonderful that their is a perfect judge that every thought and every word that every man has ever said will be judged by a holy and just God. No man will ever get injustice. As I have said man can pay for his sins or Jesus Christ can pay for your sins. God has given us a way we can be forgiven for our sins against Him..Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God. There was never a time when the Son did not exist. And the Son stepped into His creation to take on the form of a man..To live a perfect sinless life on earth for 30 some years. And make Himself a perfect sacrifice for those who believe in Him..So God punished His son in place of theses who believe and repent of their sins.. Now God see’s the righteousness of Jesus Christ in those He died for.. Only a perfect sinless being could wash away the sins against a holy perfect God. And the rest of mankind who reject Jesus Christ will pay for their sins in hell. That is why Jesus died for His sheep and only His sheep.

    • Retro

      Bob C wrote: For breaking God’s law. For rejecting their creator and worshiping false gods. ( Idolatry)..False gods such as unbelief, humanism, secularism, relativism, self gratification. You name it!

      So people go to Hell for breaking God’s law, right? Right.

      Again you have no idea what you are talking about. The man who picked up sticks did not go to hell for picking up sticks

      Not working on the Sabbath was God’s law, correct? How many sins does it take to damn you to Hell, only one, right? So then, working on the Sabbath is the only reason needed for this guy to deserve Hell.

      God has revealed His truth in the OT and the NT..All Scripture is inspired by God. ( do you accept this? No, but that is irrelevant).

      How do you know this? The Bible claims to be inspired, but so do many other holy books.

      It is wonderful to know that people like Hitler will not go unpunished for the atrocities he committed.

      And it is also wonderful to know that Hitler could be in Heaven if he repented and prayed Jesus into his heart before his death.

      It is also wonderful to know that Andrea Yates, David Berkowitz, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Karla Faye Tucker had the chance to repent and pray Jesus into their hearts and will be in Heaven. (And this is wonderful, even if their victims didn’t have the same opportunity to get saved before their deaths.)

      Only a perfect sinless being could wash away the sins against a holy perfect God.

      You have yet to explain how this works.

      Isn’t punishing an innocent person wrong? How do two wrongs make a right?

  • Bob Calvan

    Bob Said:

    “…….. You’re certainly not helping to justify God’s actions or even supporting his existence….”

    I do not need to justify God’s perfect actions..God is the potter we are the pots. As Paul says: Who are you oh man to talk back to God? And I do not need to support His existence, all men know this God in their hearts. As Paul also says God’s invisible attributes are everywhere. And their is no man without excuse. That would include you and Retro..you are without excuse. In fact Hell will be worse for both of you as you both continue to harden your hearts from what me and Rick T have told you. The more light you are given and the more you harden your heart the worst will be your torment. you both need to bow the knee to Jesus and beg Jesus to save you …And if God is pleased He will grant you repentance to eternal life.

    • Retro

      As Paul says: Who are you oh man to talk back to God?

      As Abraham says: Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

      OMG, did Abraham just question God! Aw SNAP!

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Not only did Abraham question God, he demanded that God hold himself accountable to external morals. It’s not that everything God does is good by definition; Abraham makes clear that God is good only when he follows the same morals that we must follow.

        God is hoist by his own petard. Or maybe Bob Calvan is.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Suppose hell holds just Retro and me. Not the billions that God “justifiably” puts there, but just the two of us. You’ve never even met us, but even so, how will heaven be bliss for you, knowing that we’re in agony continually, forever? You’ll be cool with that? You’ll feel bliss in heaven knowing of our torment?

  • Bob Calvan

    “…….Suppose hell holds just Retro and me. Not the billions that God “justifiably” puts there, but just the two of us. You’ve never even met us, but even so, how will heaven be bliss for you, knowing that we’re in agony continually, forever? You’ll be cool with that? You’ll feel bliss in heaven knowing of our torment?….”

    Can not answer that hypothetical? But my guess is that I will be worshiping my Lord and Savior. And knowing there is no worrying , sadness, and will experience perfect peace. That I will be unaware of hell and torment.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      You’ll be unaware of the torment in hell? So you can only enjoy heaven if God blinds you to that aspect of reality?

      Doesn’t say much for God’s plan that you need to be shielded from aspects that you would now consider hideous and would continue to do so in heaven.

      Sounds like a dinner at Count Dracula’s castle. Everyone’s dressed in evening clothes, and the table, wine, and conversation are all sparkling. But throughout the meal you hear faint screams occasionally. Your host tells you to just ignore that. Not a big deal–just some people that he’s torturing. When they become too injured, they’re nursed back to health and then tortured again. But he assures you that they deserve it.

      You OK with that? You’d ignore the pain of your fellow human beings and get on with your dinner, delighting in the sophisticated conversation and rich food?

  • Bob Calvan

    Only a perfect sinless being could wash away the sins against a holy perfect God.

    “……..Isn’t punishing an innocent person wrong?…”

    No Jesus became sin for those He substituted His life for….What great love for His elect.

    “………You have yet to explain how this works.

    Sure I explained it..It is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ that makes “It Work.”

    God’s wrath for sin must be satisfied by the sinner paying for his sins, or a substitute. ( the whole OT was a picture of blood sacrifice for sins, all pointing to a perfect sacrifice. The messiah).

    Jesus on the cross became sin ( Jesus being pure without sin the sinless lamb as spoke of in the OT) for those He purchased with His blood..So those He died for sins are imputed to Christ. And God poured His wrath out on His sinless son for the sake of those who Jesus was the substitute for. And at the same time the righteousness of Jesus Christ was imputed to those He was the substitute for. So God now has no wrath on those justified by the blood of Christ. God’s see them as righteous. And the unbelievers God pours His wrath on and they will be punished . That is how it works.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      What great love for His elect.

      Jesus was out of action for a weekend. What’s the big deal?

      God’s wrath for sin must be satisfied by the sinner paying for his sins, or a substitute.

      God’s a pretty inflexible guy.

      I used to demand a human sacrifice to atone for wrongs done against me, but I’ve grown a bit since then. Now, I just forgive. I think that makes me a better person.

      (Most of your comment was not an explanation but a justification. That is, it was simply a statement of how your theology works. This doesn’t make for a convincing case that your position makes sense.)

  • Bob Calvan

    “………You’ll be unaware of the torment in hell? So you can only enjoy heaven if God blinds you to that aspect of reality?

    Doesn’t say much for God’s plan that you need to be shielded from aspects that you would now consider hideous and would continue to do so in heaven.

    Sounds like a dinner at Count Dracula’s castle. Everyone’s dressed in evening clothes, and the table, wine, and conversation are all sparkling. But throughout the meal you hear faint screams occasionally. Your host tells you to just ignore that. Not a big deal–just some people that he’s torturing. When they become too injured, they’re nursed back to health and then tortured again. But he assures you that they deserve it.

    You OK with that? You’d ignore the pain of your fellow human beings and get on with your dinner, delighting in the sophisticated conversation and rich food?…”

    No need to comment on such hypothetical foolishness. As proverbs tell the believer ” Do not answer a fool according to his folly or you will become like him….”

    If you wish to discuss God’s sovereignty seriously I am ok with that, but not interested in foolishness.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Foolishness? OK, if you have no response, I guess that’s what I’d expect you’d call it. But the way you portray heaven makes it sound pretty hellish. Maybe something to think about.

  • Bob Calvan

    Bob while you are typing your list of moral rules from the ones evolution made. I am sure one rule will include the reason for this quote you made:

    “……….. God’s murderous actions are immoral……..”

    So is one of the “moral rules” evolution made is murder is wrong? For murder to be wrong it must always be wrong. But you said murder is ok if the murder of a person is small in size and in a certain location ( the womb) SLED. If you were a relativist then that argument would work. But if you have a moral rule that evolution made that says God’s murderous actions are immoral, then the mothers actions would also be immoral. If evolution made the “rule” that murder is immoral, how is it that other people around you would disagree?

    Don’t they have the same moral rule as you do? Did evolution give other fellow Americans different moral rules of evolution? I am confused ? Can you help me out here? Also are you having trouble finding the list of “moral rules” that evolution made? Maybe it is in your top desk drawer..But you would think it would be in your brain (made of matter from evolution). So you should have no problem writing down these moral rules that evolution made.

    If someone asked me to write down the rules on driving in the city , I think I could do that. Like stop at red lights. Use your blinkers to make turns. Obey the “rules” of posted speed limits. Etc.

    So tell me the rule that evolution made that says “.. murderous actions are immoral.” And tell me if evolution made that moral rule for all American’s?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      The Golden Rule would be a good summary of moral instinct IMO.

      For murder to be wrong it must always be wrong.

      It is always wrong–it’s wrong by definition.

      But you said murder is ok if the murder of a person is small in size and in a certain location ( the womb)

      No, I did not. A fetus isn’t a person as I made clear in the relevant post. If you’d prefer to see it as one, that’s your choice.

      If evolution made the “rule” that murder is immoral, how is it that other people around you would disagree?

      Evolution doesn’t make us into clones. There’s much variability. In fact, explaining sloppy things like this is quite easy with evolution because it’s simply a sloppy process.

      The real question is on you: if God wrote morality on our hearts, how do you explain the wide range of moral attitudes in people? Is God just inept? Or would a natural explanation do a better job here?

    • Retro

      Bob C wrote: And God poured His wrath out on His sinless son for the sake of those who Jesus was the substitute for. And at the same time the righteousness of Jesus Christ was imputed to those He was the substitute for.

      You keep making these claims, but you still haven’t explained how it’s moral or just that an innocent person is punished.

      For murder to be wrong it must always be wrong.

      Was it wrong for Jesus to be murdered? If no, then murder is not always wrong. If yes, then please explain how two wrongs cancel out to make it right.

      If evolution made the “rule” that murder is immoral, how is it that other people around you would disagree?

      If God made the rule that murder is immoral, how is it that other people around you would disagree? Don’t they have the same moral rule as you do?

      But if you have a moral rule that evolution made that says God’s murderous actions are immoral, then the mothers actions would also be immoral.

      I’m fine with calling abortion immoral if you are also fine with calling God’s murderous actions immoral.

      So then, which is more immoral? People are limited and can make mistakes because they feel that there is no other choice. God, however, is all-powerful and all-knowing… what possible excuse is there for God?

      Any true morality should hold those with the greatest authority and abilities to be most accountable.

      Also are you having trouble finding the list of “moral rules” that evolution made?

      Why not ask a police officer or a lawyer? The laws in the USA were developed from historical experience, and it was designed so these laws could be changed and adapted as needed.

  • Bob Calvan

    Bob said:

    “….The Golden Rule would be a good summary of moral instinct IMO…”

    Ok. I am gald you put IMO..” Because many would disagree with you.. And that you believe the Golden rule is a good summary of your moral instincts is only true for you and is relative only to you and subject only to you..Ok I am fine with that. Which again brings us to the point that all you can say about God’s morality is In your opinion God’s morality is inconsistent with your relivitve subjective morality.

    Bob said;

    ‘….For murder to be wrong it must always be wrong.

    “….It is always wrong–it’s wrong by definition….” Buy your personal subjective opinion.. Again many other people would say that would be true for you Bob, But not true for them.

    Bob said:

    But you said murder is ok if the murder of a person is small in size and in a certain location ( the womb)

    “….No, I did not. A fetus isn’t a person as I made clear in the relevant post. If you’d prefer to see it as one, that’s your choice. ..”

    Ok I understand you feel a fetus is not a Human person so it would not be murder. So being it is not a human person murder would not apply to that situation.

    Well, you just fell into the Atheist baby tar pit again. Being consistent that would mean God is not a human person ( either) so what you call murder would not apply to God either.

    Bob said:

    If evolution made the “rule” that murder is immoral, how is it that other people around you would disagree?

    “….Evolution doesn’t make us into clones. There’s much variability. In fact, explaining sloppy things like this is quite easy with evolution because it’s simply a sloppy process….”

    Yes, that is your worldview and is consistent why you hold to relivitivism.. Now try to live that way. Being you feel evolution does not make clones and there is much variability then you would expect different moral subjective views. And your view has no more weight than anyone else’s view. And you must be tolerant of other views..

    Bob asked:

    “…….The real question is on you: if God wrote morality on our hearts, how do you explain the wide range of moral attitudes in people? Is God just inept? Or would a natural explanation do a better job here?

    Nope a natural explanation is post modern relativism, which just give us subjective opinions which may be true for some and not true for others.

    God’s absolute moral laws are written on the hearts of all men. And they can not escape them..They will reject these truths in unrighteousness.( Rom 1) But as the scriptures tell us “let God be true and all men liars..” If God says it is true , what some men may say they disagree are liars. When God says thou shalt not murder it is an absolute, transcendent, universal, truth. That is outside of our inner thoughts and outside of our minds. When you and I die the absolute truths will still exist outside of us. Do not confuse murder with killing people for justification of their actions.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      all you can say about God’s morality is In your opinion God’s morality is inconsistent with your relivitve subjective morality.

      What else can anyone say? (And unsupported claims like “Brahma gives me transcendent morality” or similar don’t advance your case.)

      “….It is always wrong–it’s wrong by definition….” Buy your personal subjective opinion..

      Huh? You’re challenging my claim that murder is wrong by definition? Look it up in the dictionary!! I’m afraid you’re bound by the definitions in English, too.

      Being consistent that would mean God is not a human person ( either) so what you call murder would not apply to God either.

      Who’s talking about killing God?? Or are you saying that fetuses are murdering people?

      Let’s keep things straight. (Kinda hard as you wrestle with your tar baby, I imagine.)

      Now try to live that way.

      Show me any problem I have with consistency. You enjoy talking about imaginary people’s problems but have given me nothing but empty charges. You’re shooting blanks, I’m afraid.

      And you must be tolerant of other views.

      And, for the bazillionth time, no I don’t. If I don’t like your opinion, I’m certainly not going to be bound by it. (Who could imagine anything else?)

      God’s absolute moral laws are written on the hearts of all men. And they can not escape them.

      More Pablum. Now answer my question: how do you explain the variability of this moral knowledge across people? God’s just incompetent in putting it reliably in people’s hearts, I’m guessing?

      If God says it is true

      God’s always right by definition? Or is there some reason to justify this bold claim?

      When God says thou shalt not murder it is an absolute, transcendent, universal, truth.

      And when Webster says it, it’s true by definition! Dude–”murder” is simply unjustified killing! It’s immoral by definition.

  • Bob Calvan

    Retro asked:

    “…….Was it wrong for Jesus to be murdered? If no, then murder is not always wrong. If yes, then please explain how two wrongs cancel out to make it right….”

    Well was it wrong for Herod, Pilate, the Jews and the Romans to murder Jesus . Yes! Taking an innocent life without justification is absolutely wrong. But God used that sin of mankind for good and through Jesus murder came the vehicle of salvation for Jesus sheep. What man meant for evil God made for good..As only God can do good. And is the Author of Good.

    And do not confuse murder ( taking an innocent life with out justification) with killing taking the life of a person with justification.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      You’ve ineptly tried to avoid answering a reasonable question.

      Try again.

      • Retro

        Yeah, I’d like to know if God could forgive and save mankind if Jesus wasn’t murdered.

  • Bob Calvan

    When God says thou shalt not murder it is an absolute, transcendent, universal, truth.

    Bob said:

    “…..Huh? You’re challenging my claim that murder is wrong by definition? Look it up in the dictionary!! I’m afraid you’re bound by the definitions in English, too….”

    “……..And when Webster says it, it’s true by definition! Dude–”murder” is simply unjustified killing! It’s immoral by definition…..”

    Oh, so the reason “murder” is wrong because of Webster? Before Webster’s dictionary there was no definition for “murder” and know one knew it was wrong? Wow! Well I think God’s ten commandments came before Webster’s dictionary. So God defined thou shalt not Murder . Webster just repeated God’s definition..In fact before God “WROTE” the moral laws, it was already on mans hearts..The “First” murder was Cain killing his brother..And when God asked Cain where His brother was ….We know what happened.. I wonder how Cain knew Murder was wrong before One word was ever written? So you are right in the fact that Murder is absolutely wrong by definition. But the definer is not Webster it is God.

    Bob said:

    Being consistent that would mean God is not a human person ( either) so what you call murder would not apply to God either.

    “…..Who’s talking about killing God?? Or are you saying that fetuses are murdering people?….”

    I think you misunderstood my point. You said murder is not immoral because the fetus is not a human person. So by that logic you must be a human person to judge morality and immorality. Ergo God is not a human person so morality or immorality does not apply to God. In your worldview

    Bob said:

    And you must be tolerant of other views.

    “………..And, for the bazillions time, no I don’t. If I don’t like your opinion, I’m certainly not going to be bound by it. (Who could imagine anything else?)…….”

    The Christian worldview does not have to be tolerant as we hold to absolute truth..But the relativist to be consistent must (BY DEFINITON) tolerate all views. So any time you show intolerance you fall in the tar pit. And you become inconsistent , which reduces your arguments to absurdity.

    Look again at the definition of Tolerance:

    “Accepting different views: accepting the differing views of other people, e.g. in religious or political matters, and treating the people who hold these different views fairly.

    Don’t forget your views are only true for you. They have no more weight then someone’s who’s views are different than yours. So by definition you must be “tolerant” of all peoples views. you can never hold

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Oh, so the reason “murder” is wrong because of Webster? Before Webster’s dictionary there was no definition for “murder” and know one knew it was wrong? Wow! Well I think God’s ten commandments came before Webster’s dictionary.

      Instead of blustering and standing your ground, maybe if you considered what I’m saying we’ll all make more progress.

      Murder is defined as wrongful death. “Thou shalt not murder” doesn’t help us any. Is killing in wartime murder? Euthenasia? Abortion? Self defense?

      See how this works? “Thou shalt not murder” tells us nothing useful.

      You said murder is not immoral because the fetus is not a human person. So by that logic you must be a human person to judge morality and immorality.

      Go back and read this (like I encouraged you to do the first time) to see your error.

      But the relativist to be consistent must (BY DEFINITON) tolerate all views.

      If that’s the definition, I’m not a relativist. Wow–why is this hard?

      Give some consideration to what the other guy is saying once in a while and I think you’ll save yourself some embarrassment.

  • Bob Calvan

    Don’t forget your views are only true for you. They have no more weight then someone’s who’s views are different than yours. So by definition you must be “tolerant” of all peoples views. you can never hold to a standard outside of your self.. ( as you deny there existence) So let’s be consistent an tolerate all peoples view..As there are no Absolutes in your worldview. Try to keep the “Tar baby” off yourself.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Don’t forget your views are only true for you.

      Yup.

      They have no more weight then someone’s who’s views are different than yours.

      They have no a priori weight to a third party (but that third party might weigh the two of us arguing based on how sensible we are).

      And (as you obviously know by now since you’ve been paying attention), if someone differs from me, I think that my opinion is better. That’s how everyone does it, I imagine.

      Whoever encouraged you to flog this “atheists must be tolerant of everyone” view is making you look like a fool. Get better advisors!

  • Bob Calvan

    Retro said:
    Yeah, I’d like to know if God could forgive and save mankind if Jesus wasn’t murdered.

    NO!

    There is more than just salvation that applies to Jesus death on the cross. That is just one thing I mentioned.

    Also Jesus death was necessary for many reason: To fulfill the priesthood, to end sacrifices, to be a intercessor for His sheep, to allow the Holy Spirit to indwell His sheep, to concur death and put away death, and many others.

    Also this from Romans 6:

    “…. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,

    knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;

    “…Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life…”

    • Retro

      Bob C wrote: NO!

      So God can’t forgive man unless Jesus was murdered? I can forgive without murder, why can’t God? Doesn’t sound all-powerful to me.

      Also Jesus death was necessary for many reason: To fulfill the priesthood, to end sacrifices, to be a intercessor for His sheep, to allow the Holy Spirit to indwell His sheep, to concur death and put away death, and many others.

      So God needs an immoral act to occur before He can fulfill His plan? Sounds like a weak rationalization to me.

      • Bob Seidensticker

        I can forgive without murder, why can’t God? Doesn’t sound all-powerful to me.

        As a member in good standing in the United Federation of Gods, Yahweh has to follow the union rules. His hands are tied. You make an exception once or twice and who knows what chaos will break out.

  • Bob Calvan

    “..So God can’t forgive man unless Jesus was murdered? I can forgive without murder, why can’t God? Doesn’t sound all-powerful to me…”
    Well, Retro on judgement day you tell God about your objections on how He did things. Lotsa luck with that one! LOL

    • Bob Seidensticker

      That’s big talk from someone who will stand in front of Brahma and answer for his sins. I wouldn’t want to be you, my friend.

  • Retro

    Well, Retro on judgement day you tell God about your objections on how He did things. Lotsa luck with that one! LOL

    LOL!!! Threats of eternal torture are so funny!!! ROLF!!!

    If you don’t believe in Evolution, does anyone threaten you with violence?

    If you disagree with an atheist, does anyone threathen you with torture?

    I guess I shouldn’t expect anything different from a follower of a god that routinely used violence…

  • Bob Calvan

    Retro,
    Just seems to me that all your agruments are complaints on how God does things. So you need to take them up with Him on judgement day. Before you question how you do not like how God does things, you may first want to listen to Nebuchadnezzar’s reply about God first:

    “…For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
    35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
    But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
    And among the inhabitants of earth;
    And no one can ward off His hand
    Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’

    • Retro

      Bob C wrote: Just seems to me that all your agruments are complaints on how God does things.

      Actually, my problem is that your claims about God do not make much logical sense.

      So you need to take them up with Him on judgement day.

      Nice suggestion. Now tell me, if there is a God and a day of judgement, what will be the point of being given any explanations as your God will simply send me to Hell no matter what?

      If you are going to claim that your God is just and moral, then you should be able to back it up with something better than a threat of eternal torment in Hell.

  • Bob Calvan

    “….Whoever encouraged you to flog this “atheists must be tolerant of everyone” view is making you look like a fool. Get better advisors!..”

    Post modernism, and political correctness of the 21 century..And our school systems are teaching that we all must be “tolerant”. Are you not teaching your children “tolerance?” Are you not teaching them to respect when two men get married? Tolerance applies to relativism they are married. They go hand in hand..Without absolute truths and absolute morality, we need tolerance and we must respect other peoples views..Sorry Bob but you are raising little atheist post modern tolerant children..And I am raising absolute intolerant private school children and grandchildren. So my kids play in the sandbox of absolute truths and morality and your kids play in the tar pits of post modern relativism. Relativist have there feet firmly planted in mid air.

    • Rick Townsend

      With all due respect, we are mixing definitions of “tolerant.” The old kind means we are willing to allow you to freely go on about your business and hold whatever views you want. The more politically correct view is that we must value all ideas (however wacky) of equal validity to any other.

      As a Christian who believes in absolute values, I teach my kids the former, not the latter form of tolerance. I suspect Bob S. and Bo C. do the same.

      I think you guys are beating a dead horse, here, which you are free to do, but it raises the emotional pitch to an unnecessary level! Before long, someone will be invoking Godwin’s law. Oh, wait. Bob S. already did that in regard to David Barton. (Go figure!)

      • Bob Seidensticker

        we must value all ideas (however wacky) of equal validity to any other.

        I’ve never met such a person. You, me, and Bob Calvan agree that this is ridiculous. I agree–it’d be nice to move on.

        I think you guys are beating a dead horse, here, which you are free to do, but it raises the emotional pitch to an unnecessary level!

        A valid point; thanks for raising it. If Bob Calvan would try to bring up arguments against what I actually believe, that’d be great.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      I do agree that sometimes political correctness goes off the rails.

      Without absolute truths and absolute morality

      If absolute moral truth were accessible that would indeed be a helpful way out of some of our social problems. But you’ve given me zero reason to believe that they exist. So why continue to point to them?

    • Retro

      Bob C wrote: And I am raising absolute intolerant private school children and grandchildren.

      You’re not tolerant, in fact you’re “absolutely intolerant”.

      Why should you demand atheists to be tolerant of you when you and your religion are not tolerant towards anyone?

      Fortunately, this is a secular country…

  • Bob Calvan

    Rick Townsend on February 13, 2012 at 9:08 am said:
    “…With all due respect, we are mixing definitions of “tolerant.” The old kind means we are willing to allow you to freely go on about your business and hold whatever views you want. The more politically correct view is that we must value all ideas (however wacky) of equal validity to any other. ..”

    Rick T

    That is why I defined Post modern “PC” Tolerance that is taught today. Which is Relativism.

    And when Bob continues to fall into Alvin Plantinga’s philosophical tar baby. I will point it out, to show his continuous inconsistency.

    “Virtually all relativists fall prey to what Alvin Plantinga of the University of Notre Dame calls a ‘philosophical tar baby.’ If relativists try to use certain objections against moralists, they get stuck on their own objections..”

    Philosophical postmodernism (also known as relativism) is the successor to “modernism”. Spreading from liberal academia to many spheres of general society in the late twentieth century, it is an over-arching philosophy (worldview) that claims truth and reality do not exist in an absolute/objective/universal sense. Today, this worldview is thoroughly entrenched, especially among the post-baby boom generations. An ever-increasing number of people subscribe to and live by this philosophy, and seek to impose it on others, to varying degrees, without necessarily being able to name or describe it.

    As I just read this;

    Few evangelical Christians seem to understand the challenge and threat of the postmodern mindset, a worldview that is insidiously pervasive in every facet of American society, including religion. But what is the challenge and the threat?
    First, the challenge is to traditional Christian evangelism. Once upon a time, if two people held conflicting assertions, they would disagree as to who is correct, while both agreeing that someone is right and someone is wrong, because contradicting assertions cannot be equally valid. This assumption about the existence of absolute truth made rational and persuasive discourse possible. In particular, witnessing held the possibility of convincing someone that biblical Christianity is objectively true and that it supersedes conflicting truth claims.

    Today, the truth landscape is far different. Belief in absolute truth is seen as a sign of unenlightened intolerance. Two contradicting assertions are embraced as equally valid. All truth is relative to the individual and to the reality he or she constructs to suit personal preferences. You have your truth and I have mine. It’s ok if they contradict each other, because absolutes are an unacceptable bias anyway. To avoid being labeled biased, you must accept everyone’s version of truth as equally valid. Morality, as a subset of truth, is merely a social construct that can be molded to accommodate the transient convenience of the individual

    • Bob Seidensticker

      I will point it out, to show his continuous inconsistency.

      Since you’ve yet to do so, I’m sleeping quite soundly, with no fear that you’ll overturn my position. If you want to attack my position, go ahead. Until now, it’s been straw men.

  • Bob Calvan

    “..Since you’ve yet to do so, I’m sleeping quite soundly, with no fear that you’ll overturn my position. If you want to attack my position, go ahead. Until now, it’s been straw men…”
    Of course your statement is true for you ,but not true for me. All we seem to get from you is your autobiography.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Meaningless.

  • Bob Calvan

    “..Meaningless…”
    Amen to that! And that is all you get from “Relitivism” meaningless personal subjective opinions that evolution made your mind say. Ones autobiography is all relitivism produces…Only the Christian worldview can account for absolute truth and morality.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Oh? Show me.

      (You might stop making claims that you can’t back up with evidence. Just a thought.)

  • Bob Calvan

    What kind of evidence ?

    • Bob Seidensticker

      What have you got? At this point, I’ll take just about anything (except simply your stating it)!

      Your response to date has been that the person who’s talked into faith by evidence is also talked out of it by evidence. OK–maybe you’re right. But right now you’re trying to talk the readers into faith with nothing! You think that they’ll respond: “Well, Bob Calvan says it, so that settles it”? Why listen to you instead of the next Jim Jones?

  • Bob Calvan

    Bob said:

    “…….Your response to date has been that the person who’s talked into faith by evidence is also talked out of it by evidence. OK–maybe you’re right. But right now you’re trying to talk the readers into faith with nothing! You think that they’ll respond: “Well, Bob Calvan says it, so that settles it”? Why listen to you instead of the next Jim Jones?”

    I am sure Bob you have heard all the evidences for the existence of God. Just as I have. So by you hearing these evidences your presuppositions reject these evidences. Which I have no problem with. So as you can see “Evidences” does not “save” anyone. Two people can hear the same argument for ..say, “the resurrection” . Both hear the same argument one believes and one does not? Why?

    Was one more sensitive then the other? Was one smarter then the other? Was one more spiritual then the other?

    The answer to all is No! Salvation is of the Lord..Not man’s arguments of evidence.

    All I need to tell you ( as I have told all the readers) is you are a sinner. God gave His Son to save sinners. Either you can pay for your sins or Jesus can pay for your sins. God in His Grace has given you a redeemer and a savior .. And all you need to do is recognize your sins against a Holy, Just, Sovereign God, and repent of these sins by faith in Jesus Christ as your savior.

    That is all I need to tell you. That is the Gospel…No tricks, no cosmological arguments. No arguments for the resurrection of Christ. Etc.

    If God is pleased He will grant you repentance. I just need to tell the sinner the Gospel, I do not know who are God’s elect. ( they do not glow in the dark). So I tell everyone the good news.. The salvation part is of God, not me. But when I give the Gospel message God gets the glory whether they believe or continue in their sins. Salvation is of the Lord.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      I am sure Bob you have heard all the evidences for the existence of God.

      Perhaps. I keep thinking that some apologist will surprise me with something new that’s actually compelling, but I keep being disappointed.

      So by you hearing these evidences your presuppositions reject these evidences.

      Is that the only explanation? Is it not possible that I’m reasonably fair and unbiased but that the Christian arguments simply don’t hold up? After all, most humans don’t buy the Christian argument.

      Salvation is of the Lord..Not man’s arguments of evidence.

      Then why bother? Why hang out at an atheist blog? And what about the Great Commission? IMO, the Great Commission was given to disciples, not the ordinary Christian, but let’s forget that for the moment–most Christians say that it compels them to get out and argue for the faith, like Paul on Mars Hill.

      And all you need to do is recognize your sins against a Holy, Just, Sovereign God, and repent of these sins by faith in Jesus Christ as your savior.

      Not possible. I can’t “just believe” in God, just like you can’t just believe in leprechauns.

      That is the Gospel…No tricks, no cosmological arguments. No arguments for the resurrection of Christ. Etc.

      Certainly makes it easy, but I’m afraid that makes for no argument at all. Why should I believe Bob Calvan instead of the Mormon guy or the JW guy or the Hari Krishna guy?

  • Bob Calvan

    All good questions Bob.

    Salvation is of the Lord..Not man’s arguments of evidence.

    “…Then why bother? Why hang out at an atheist blog? And what about the Great Commission? IMO, the Great Commission was given to disciples, not the ordinary Christian, but let’s forget that for the moment–most Christians say that it compels them to get out and argue for the faith, like Paul on Mars Hill….. ”

    Well, I do think the Great commission is for ordinary Christians. But we can forget that for the moment. Like I said I talk to all people as you know as I have said anyone who is not a Christian is an unbeliever and needs to hear the Gospel..I am not worried about winning an argument. And I know I can save no one. And I know only if God regenerates them they will believe. And I present the Gospel (like said) to give God the glory. If the message is rejected God gets the Glory, If my message leads to a sinner repenting God gets the glory..Take myself I was an unbeliever for 32 years. Then one day and old friend I used to bounce with at a nightclub ( that I have not seen for 10 or 11 years) spoke to me about Christ. Not trying to persuade me with some evidential ,or intellectual, or philosophical, argument. Just told me what I tell everyone, just about a perfect savior. And when he talked to me I listened with “new ears and new eyes”. And within a month or so I gave my life to Christ. Believe me it was nothing in me..All of God. I could have cared less. But God had different plans.

    As far as Paul on Mars hill.. I want you to notice something.. Paul, or Jesus, or the apostles,or the entire Bible never try to prove God from a neutral point. Paul, and all the Apostles and the Bible presuppose God. And shame on Christians who try to start from a neutral position and try to prove God.( even if they could prove God who ‘s to say it is the Biblical God? All they have proved is some deity. Bib deal! That is unbiblical. What are the first words in the Bible? IN THE BEGINNING GOD! And how does John start his gospel. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. We see John presupposes God. Starts with God. Never tries to prove God from a neutral point.. And say there is a greater chance there is a God than not a God. And give a bunch of foolish reason’s that there is a grater probability of a God than not. How pathetic is that argument. And shame on the Christian who does that. To think God is not Sovereign enough to save His elect, and the Christian must come up with some intellectual, philosophical argument to sway them over. So that is why I present the truth of the gospel and start with God. You bet I presuppose God in my message.. Because I know what John says in the 6th chapter..”That all that the Father gives the Son the Son will give them eternal life and loose none of those the Father gives Him.” And I know that No man can come ( has the ability on his own) to Christ unless the Father draws ( The Greek for draws is the same as dragging fish with a net) him, and the one the Father draws Jesus raises to eternal life. And I know Jesus said that “no one knows the son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son and WHOM EVER THE SON WILLS To REVEAL HIM..So unless Jesus reveals the Father to that individual who hears the Gospel that individual will never be saved. And unless The Father gives the indivisdual I am speaking to , to the Son that individual will never be saved.

    So when I present the Gospel I just need to tell the truth and if God wills that person will come. And if God decides to leave that person in their sins so be it. As we all deserve God’s wrath. And no man will ever get injustice.

    Bob asked:

    And all you need to do is recognize your sins against a Holy, Just, Sovereign God, and repent of these sins by faith in Jesus Christ as your savior.

    “…..Not possible. I can’t “just believe” in God, just like you can’t just believe in leprechauns….”

    True! If this was up to you it would be impossible. I would have said the same thing as you just did if you asked me that when I was 31 years old. But with God all things are possible. That is why I pray that God will make you miserable and disturb you. And that God will open your heart and give you life. You see it is because I have a Christian love for you and Retro that I pray God will grant you repentance. But at the same time (here comes the paradox) you and Retro are 100% responsible to bow the knee to Jesus and follow Him..You two are without excuse..It is not that much light has been shed on you two.

    Bob said:

    That is the Gospel…No tricks, no cosmological arguments. No arguments for the resurrection of Christ. Etc.

    “….Certainly makes it easy, but I’m afraid that makes for no argument at all. Why should I believe Bob Calvan instead of the Mormon guy or the JW guy or the Hari Krishna guy?…”

    I agree do not believe in mans arguments. Man can not give you life. Only Jehovah can do that. And if by God’s Grace you came to where you believed. Then you could critique what the Mormon and the JW and the Christian say. Comparing it with the word of God.

    I hope that helps to see where I am coming from.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      I talk to all people as you know as I have said anyone who is not a Christian is an unbeliever and needs to hear the Gospel.

      And nothing is happening. I’m just giving you some feedback. Your argument isn’t in the least bit compelling because it looks identically compelling to a thousand other mythologies. Your “closer” isn’t doing his job, I’m afraid.

      So unless Jesus reveals the Father to that individual who hears the Gospel that individual will never be saved. And unless The Father gives the indivisdual I am speaking to , to the Son that individual will never be saved.

      The Ultimate Unfalsifiable Hypothesis, eh? If someone converts, that’s God’s will; if he doesn’t, that’s also God’s will. You can’t lose!

      You two are without excuse.

      Yeah, and I’m busy juggling all the other religions about which I know and am without excuse but am ignoring because they’re laughable BS.

      I agree do not believe in mans arguments. Man can not give you life. Only Jehovah can do that.

      Said a man, making an argument.

      Then you could critique what the Mormon and the JW and the Christian say.

      All nonsense.

  • Bob Calvan

    “..The Ultimate Unfalsifiable Hypothesis, eh? If someone converts, that’s God’s will; if he doesn’t, that’s also God’s will. You can’t lose!…”
    Amen! You almost qouted Eph 1 :11 word for word. ..God does ” ALL” things after the counsel of “HIS” will….” As far as you saying ” I can’t lose”..
    When the Gospel is preached God wins! God gets the glory. It ain’t about me winning or not.

  • Bob Calvan

    “…And nothing is happening. I’m just giving you some feedback. Your argument isn’t in the least bit compelling because it looks identically compelling to a thousand other mythologies. Your “closer” isn’t doing his job, I’m afraid….”
    Nothing is happening that you can see..But that is irrelevant.
    I am not using an argument..Just the Gospel. That men are inslaved to sin, and Jesus is the answer.
    You must be assuming “my closer” is trying to save mankind? Not so! My closer is doing His job. All that He is giving to the Son are being saved. Perfectly! God is doing everything according to the councel of His will.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      You must be assuming “my closer” is trying to save mankind? Not so!

      Doesn’t much care how many billions of his children are tortured in hell forever then?

      I’m really baffled how you can imagine that you’ll enjoy heaven as an enlightened being, knowing all the torment that’ll be going on at that time. I can’t imagine anyone, surely not you, being so callous.

  • Bob Calvan

    You must be assuming “my closer” is trying to save mankind? Not so!

    Doesn’t much care how many billions of his children are tortured in hell forever then?

    I’m really baffled how you can imagine that you’ll enjoy heaven and an enlightened being, knowing all the torment that’ll be going on at that time. I can’t imagine anyone, surely not you, being so callous.

    Well you are making a lot false unbiblical assumptions. And you do not even believe in heaven and hell. So I have no comment.

    • Bob Seidensticker

      Well you are making a lot false unbiblical assumptions.

      What’s unbiblical about imagining you in heaven, as an enlightened being? Isn’t that what’s going to happen after you die?

      I’ll repeat: I can’t imagine enlightened Bob Calvan going about your daily heavenly duties without being tormented yourself knowing of the billions of people undergoing continual torture. If the idea of continual torture of just one person here on earth would keep you up at night, how would you tolerate that in heaven, far more enlightened than you are today?

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