Worth 1,000 words: The awful state of American evangelical Christianity after Billy Graham

This is a picture taken this week at the celebration Franklin Graham held for the 95th birthday of his father, Billy Graham. It is also a parable, a metaphor, an astonishingly revealing snapshot of the sorry state of evangelical Christianity in America in 2013.

Seated in the middle there is Billy Graham, the world-famous evangelist who was, for more than 50 years, the face of white evangelical Christianity in America and the second-most influential Baptist pastor of the 20th century.

At 95, Graham is frail and in ill health. His image and his legacy have been usurped as political tools used by his son Franklin Graham, who seems desperate to be a political player and kingmaker. Not content with living off the interest of his father’s legacy, Franklin has been burning through the capital.

Just look at how Franklin has exploited his father here. The famous preacher is silent now, a voiceless prop called upon to lend a sheen of respectability to the likes of Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, and Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News lackeys.

To his credit, Billy Graham looks uncomfortable being dragged out to offer his apparent blessing to a gaggle of dishonest strangers and charlatans that includes two racist billionaires. The scowl on the old preacher’s face may reveal his recognition that this is what has become of his legacy — that everything he did and worked for has led only to this, to the empowerment of lying hucksters and the politics of resentful privilege. Perhaps he’s even realizing that something like this was bound to happen — that the intensely otherworldly focus of his lifelong ministry meant that it couldn’t plant deep roots in earthly soil.

But just look at that horrifying photograph. Soak it in.

This is evangelical Christianity in America in 2013.

White. Rich. Right-wing. Dishonest. Predatory. Outwardly pious, inwardly corrupt.

It’s all about political tribalism. Jesus simply isn’t in the picture.

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  • Courtney Navey

    You’re right J_Enigma32, that whole consequence for sin thing is really a myth and Jesus was just some free spirited hippie that never called out sin. I guess John 3:16-17 has nothing to do with the consequence of dying in sin. And that whole gnashing of teeth thing is just creative license it doesn’t really mean anything. Not to mention, God is sort of holy and untainted and can’t be in the presence of sin so all of those people who don’t have Christ as Savior, like muslims, mormons, atheists, agnostics, your casual humanistic hedonist who thinks being “good” is enough, will just disappear into thin air after they die and that whole thing that Christ did with taking on all of our sins (Romans 3:10) was really not that big of a deal.

    Put down your hipster dogma goggles for two seconds to realize that Christianity is about more than criticizing truth and understand that the watered down social gospel that is infecting churches like acne at a high school prom, is unsustaining and based on nothing more then our nation’s desire to just “feel better” about what we want rather than be willing to lay down our lives for the purpose of the cross.

    I am certain that if there were any actual persecution for the faith, in our country, that the Rob Bells of the US would be the first to go into hiding. Watered down hope is nothing more than an empty plate in a world that is hungry for the Truth.

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    “like muslims, mormons, atheists, agnostics, your casual humanistic hedonist who thinks being “good” is enough”

    Revelations 20:12-13

    Revelations 2:23

    Revelations:22:12

    Ephesians 2:10

    Romans 2:7 (really, 2:6 – 11)

    Jeremiah 17:10

    Jeremiah 32:19

    Ezekiel 33:20

    Matthew 16:27

    2 Cor. 5:10

    (and many, many more)

    How’s ’bout you put down the ideological lenses and read the fucking thing, huh?

    I’m certain that if there were any persecutions of faith, Muslims, humanists, Mormons and others would be the first to go into hiding. Because they’ve had to in the past – it’s why Mormons are out in Utah, it’s why Sikhs get beat up because idiots think they’re Muslim, it’s why atheists are the most distrusted group in the country. But don’t let facts get in the way of your martyrbation session; please, by all means, continued to delude yourself into thinking saying a few magic words is enough.

    Jesus will have something to say to you on that fateful day, and it’ll likely go something like this:

    “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’””

  • Courtney Navey

    J_Enigma…your rant makes me laugh!

    Yes I agree Christ will judge all of mankind. Why do you think there’s a hell for those who don’t believe to spend all of death eternity? Your references from Revelation just confirm what I was saying earlier about God not being where there is sin.

    There’s nothing idealogical about my theology, my politics maybe…just maybe, but not my theology. However, I’ve never had a theological discussion where the opposing view dropped an “F-Bomb” so at least we both know you’re next devotional will likely be from James 3.

    The Mormons are in Utah for a lot of other reasons that have nothing to do with persecution. The US is practically the only place in the world where someone would say that Muslims are being persecuted although they have greater political freedom than most Christians. Islam is a hateful faith. I’m not saying that b/c that’s what I should say, I’m saying that because I’ve watched as many of my friends who have turned away from Islam and because I’ve actually read the Koran along with other Muslim scriptures. There’s no love, only hate in Muhammed’s teachings.

    My beef is not with the unbeliever, I expect them to turn from the message of Christ and to be the ones who persecute the Christian (John 15:18-25).

    My beef is with the hipster – liberal movement of Christians who water Christ down to nothing more than an iPhone app and some feel good sermon about how we need more social justice but we’ll do it with “love”. Even James warns about being teachers of the Word (James 3:1).

    At least with the Muslim, the Mormon and so on I have a place to start where we don’t agree and can draw lines to talk about the differences. The new modern, progressive, there is no such thing as hell and monsters under the bed – Christian, is doing more damage for the message of the cross than good.

    People desire truth. They may not admit it right away but we all desire purpose and truth. So continue with your angry rants about how I’m so judgmental and close-minded and I’ll just laugh and smile because the Truth that I hold fast to is not the “truth” that you claim to tote around while social gospel proponents stand up and reign in support for the policies of a president who is leading our country into further religious and social deterioration.

    I’m sure you’re next response will prove you to be 10 ft tall and bullet proof, as most people who comment from the left, are. Regardless, keep one thing in mind. Those who are truly in step with Christ will appear before Him on the day of judgement and yes He will see their sin but then He will see His blood covering them and in humbleness and with great grace they will enter His Kingdom. It will never be your place to judge whether or not I will be found in that line. So while you and I may fervently disagree, remember your place that you are also a sinner in desperate need of a Savior and you are not qualified to suggest that Christ would condemn me to a hell that you don’t even ascribe to believe in.

    I know that opposing faiths will not enter into Christ Kingdom because He says so. I don’t need to know their sins to know that Muslims, Mormons and the like, do not honor Christ as the One True God. That is their greatest sin and the nail in their eternal coffin. So while you spin your misquoted judgments and climb your way to the top of your preverbal soapbox you should reconsider the intensity of your opinion because neither you nor I are even remotely qualified to pass judgments like you have passed on me.

  • dpolicar

    People desire truth.

    Perhaps. But some people desire truth, and therefore seek truth. Others desire truth, and therefore convince themselves that they have truth.

    It turns out to make a difference.

  • Courtney Navey

    I agree, which is why it is even more important for Christians to present the Truth of Christ’s Gospel and not a diluted version of it. It’s not about how many people come to faith, it’s about making sure that those who do are genuine and will honor God’s Truth by sharing it with others.

  • dpolicar

    By all means, those who are already in possession of the Truth should devote their efforts to sharing that Truth. I have no idea if there are any such people, but if there are, they absolutely ought to do that.

    Which means that, since those who falsely believe themselves already in possession of the Truth have no way of distinguishing themselves from that first group, they too will devote their efforts to sharing (their false visions of) Truth.

    The world being what it is, that means that the majority of people who believe they are sharing Truth will in fact be sharing false visions of Truth.

    This is unfortunate, but inevitable.

    Meanwhile, those who desire truth can continue seeking it.

  • Courtney Navey

    I agree, there are many faiths that believe they have the Truth and that everyone should believe that Truth. However, Christianity is the only faith where the Prophet was blameless, was killed as a sacrifice for the evil of the world, and then came back to life. Mohammed, Joseph Smith, Buddah, insert other prophets here….., ever came back to life. Jesus was an actual person who was recorded in Roman census. There are more than 500 eye witnesses to His resurrection and in a culture where testimonies meant life or death you can bet these people weren’t making it up. But beyond that we have the Bible which is without error. Now people sometimes misinterpret the Bible b/c they don’t like what it says but it is without error. If read objectively you will not find error with it. Finally, there is the Holy Spirit. No other faith claims to have the Holy Spirit of God moving in the hearts of men to move them towards God. Yes Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons often align themselves with Jesus and the Holy Spirit but at the core of their belief that do not believe the Jesus is God. Therefore, they nullify any other claim that they might have to the Holy Spirit because The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are One, not three separate. (1 John 5:6-12)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There are more than 500 eye witnesses to His resurrection and in a culture where testimonies meant life or death you can bet these people weren’t making it up. But beyond that we have the Bible which is without error. Now people sometimes misinterpret the Bible b/c they don’t like what it says but it is without error. If read objectively you will not find error with it.

    I’m just going to quote what was posted by ShifterCat in another thread.

    The Bible has far too many contradictions to be considered a reliable historical source. Consider all the conflicting accounts for the resurrection alone:

    Jesus’ First Resurrection Appearance:

    Mark 16:14-15 – Jesus appears to Mary Magdalena but it’s not clear where (in older endings of Mark, he didn’t appear at all)

    Matthew 28:8-9 – Jesus first appears near his tomb

    Luke 24:13-15 – Jesus first appears near Emmaus, several miles from Jerusalem

    John 20:13-14 – Jesus first appears at his tomb

    Who Sees Jesus First?:

    Mark – Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalena then later to “the eleven”
    Matthew – Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalena, then to the other Mary, and finally to ”the eleven”

    Luke – Jesus appears first to “two,” then to Simon, then to “the eleven”
    John – Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalena, then the disciples without Thomas, then the disciples with Thomas

    Women’s Reactions to the Empty Tomb:

    Mark 16:8 – The women were amazed and afraid, so they kept quiet

    Matthew 28:6-8 – The women ran away “with great joy”

    Luke 24:9-12 – The women left the tomb and told the disciples

    John 20:1-2 – Mary told the disciples that the body had been stolen

    Jesus’ Behavior After His Resurrection:

    Mark 16:14-15 – Jesus commissions “the eleven” to preach the gospel

    Matthew 28:9 – Jesus lets Mary Magdalene and another Mary hold his feet
    John 20:17 – Jesus forbids Mary to touch him because he hasn’t ascended to heaven yet, but a week later he lets Thomas touch him anyway

    Doubting Jesus’ Resurrection:

    Mark 16:11, Luke 24:11 – Everyone doubts and/or is scared at first, but eventually they go along with it

    Matthew 28:16 – Some doubt, but most believe

    John 20:24-28 – Everyone believes but Thomas, whose doubts are eliminated when he gets physical proof

    Jesus Ascends to Heaven:

    Mark 16:14-19 – Jesus ascends while he and his disciples are seated at a table in or near Jerusalem

    Matthew 28:16-20 – Jesus’ ascension isn’t mentioned at all, but Matthew ends at a mountain in Galilee

    Luke 24:50-51 – Jesus ascends outside, after dinner, and at Bethany and on the same day as the resurrection

    John – Nothing about Jesus’ ascension is mentioned

    Acts 1:9-12 – Jesus ascends at least 40 days after his resurrection, at Mt. Olivet

    Not to mention that Matthew (nota bene: the writer chronologically furthest from the alleged event) reports an earthquake splitting the ground open and disgorging a lot of dead people, who proceeded to wander about Jersusalem, “seen by many”. An earthquake, followed by a ZOMBIE HORDE. Yet not only doesn’t this event appear in any other histories, it also isn’t noted by any other gospel writer.

  • Courtney Navey

    Oh Sam, I could hardly find enough space in the comments portion to address all that you have mentioned here. So I’ll just address one really absurd claim that you’ve made and then give you a great resource for dealing the others.

    There was no Zombie Horde that came to life. The text, in both the Greek and the english translation (ESV or NASB), says that an angel of the Lord came down to roll away the stone at Jesus’ tomb. When he appeared there was a great earthquake. We don’t have any mention there of “zombies” or the like appearing and there’s no mention of how isolated the earthquake may or may not have been. But one thing is certain, this type of entry is consistent with the nature of who God is. He is holy, He is powerful and He is majestic. So for one of His angels to make a loud and glorious appearing isn’t a surprise and it certainly did not include the walking dead.

    As far as dealing with the Gospels and their consistency, there are several theories out there that try to disprove the Gospels as truth. I spent 2 years studying those in college and read more books then I could care to comment about. But if you’re really interested in dealing with those “contradictions” and learning the truth behind why your argument doesn’t hold any ground, you should read Millard Erickson’s “The Word Became Flesh.” http://www.amazon.com/Word-Became-Flesh-The-Incarnational/dp/0801020638 It’s an astounding resource that more than adequately addresses all that you’ve described.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    You are referencing Matthew 28, when the aforementioned event occurs in Matthew 27.

    At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection andwent into the holy city and appeared to many people.

  • Courtney Navey

    My mistake, you are correct. The reference is in Matthew 27:45-56. I reference the entire passage b/c it is essential to understand the context in which it was written. Matthew is writing to the Jewish community and he’s writing from the perspective of one who was there but also from one who believes that Christ is the Son of God.

    The reason why it is important to understand that he was writing to the Jewish community is because he writes that the curtain of the temple was torn in two. This curtain served to separate the the priest from the rest of the world as he offered up a sacrifice to God in what is referred to as the holy of holies. This part of the temple was so holy, because the presence of God was received there, that bells were placed around the priest’s ankle along with a rope so that if he offered the sacrifice in a sinful way and was struck down by God, that the lower priests in the temple could pull his body out using the rope. Because they were likely not supposed to enter the holy of holies otherwise God would strike them down. It speaks to the true holiness of God and that He cannot be where there is sin.

    It also testifies to how greatly we needed Christ to die for our sins because we will never be good enough to be in God’s presence. So He showed us grace by offering His Son as a sacrifice for our sin so that the priests would no longer need to make these sacrifices and so that anyone could have Christ as their Savior and sacrifice. I’m describing substitutionary atonement (1 John 2:1, 2 ).

    This was a symbol to the Jewish community that they no longer needed to make these little sacrifices because Christ had conquered sin through His death.

    Now you must also understand that in that time people were not usually buried in the ground, they were buried in tombs that were above ground. So the images of zombie arms coming up out of the ground is just not realistic. It would be as if these people sat up in their bed, put their feet to the ground and just walked out.

    Scripture also says that it was the “saints” who were risen. It’s not unlikely that these people were risen for a reason. Christ brought Lazaras back to life for the purpose of His glory. The greek for saints that is used in this Scripture is a plural noun and directly means person (or people) or God. These were people who were faithful believers who followed God under the Levitical law and who were considered to be righteous by God because of their obedience to Him. God rose these people, and we don’t know how many, as a sign of His glory when Christ died.

    Scripture says that the saints went into Jerusalem after being raised and what immediately follows is that the roman soldiers realize that Jesus is the Son of God. Because who else could do something like this? This occurred for the purpose of glorifying God and once again, establishing to the unbeliever that Jesus is God and that he came to save the world.

    We don’t know anything else about the saints after that. It is likely that they went back to their homes lived life and then died again. It is also possible that when Christ ascended to heaven they also ascended but the former is probably more accurate considering that Lazaras was allowed to live out his life with his family after being raised from the dead.

    So yes, it’s strange but it’s miraculous. Consider that Jesus, the Son of the living God who created the universe, died for our sin. Why wouldn’t that have some impact on the earth that God created? We have iPhones that can gather information from almost anywhere that we are in the world. We have GPS devices injected into our pets, we have scientist who clone sheep, we have cameras you can buy at Best Buy that photography the moon and other planets from your back porch and we’re trying to dismiss a miracle (in the greek recognized as at sign testifying to God’s power) that happened when the Son of God was killed? If we are capable of such wildly great or improbable things then how much more capable is God, who gave us life?

    I agree that you can’t scientifically prove all of Scripture, but that is exactly why it requires faith. You don’t know that you’ll wake up tomorrow but you have faith that if you eat well, rest well, treat others with respect and live a basically “good” life that you will see the sun rise tomorrow. You have that faith, but if you’re not putting that faith in God then you’re putting it in yourself to accomplish those things and see another day. But here’s the kicker, we don’t control everything in life. You may not make it home from work because some guy is texting his friend and runs you off the road. You may go for an annual visit to the doctor and find out you have stage 4 cancer. We don’t know everything that God has planned and we certainly don’t know everywhere that we will go in life. For those who believe it is so difficult to trust the Bible I ask, “Why?” It is more difficult for me to consider that I could control anyone else’s actions but my own and so many people believe that they can control and bend the wills of others. I should stop b/c I beginning to make too many generalizations but my point is this:

    We are always demanding that God “prove” Himself, when He already has yet we’re not willing to even take a step towards what is required to trust Him. We are double-minded and hypocrites in the standard that we hold for God yet He chooses to still cover is with His grace.

  • dpolicar

    I reference the entire passage b/c it is essential to understand the context in which it was written.

    That’s awesome. I would like to take a moment to praise the attitude expressed in this sentence and encourage its wider applicability.

    in that time people were not usually buried in the ground, they were buried in tombs that were above ground.

    How do we know that?

    If we are capable of such wildly great or improbable things then how much more capable is God, who gave us life?

    Such an entity would be vastly more capable, of course… so much so as to be beyond the need for such clumsy interventions.

    “A leader is best when people barely know that he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worst when they despise him. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, ‘We did this ourselves.’ ”

    you can’t scientifically prove all of Scripture, but that is exactly why it requires faith.

    Yes. The same is true of the Koran.

    we certainly don’t know everywhere that we will go in life. For those who believe it is so difficult to trust the Bible I ask, “Why?”

    Do you find it difficult to trust the Koran?
    If so, why?

    We are double-minded and hypocrites in the standard that we hold for God yet He chooses to still cover is with His grace.

    Which is awfully nice of Him.
    Well, until we die, anyway.
    What does He do then, on your account, to those of us whose double-minded hypocrisy leads us to reject the tenets of your religious denomination?

  • Courtney Navey

    dpolicar,

    it was Hebrew tradition to use tombs instead of a typical ground burial. Some tombs would remain in a family for generations upon generations. The ground was often very difficult to dig and manipulate so above ground tombs were more common and they were often shared within tribes or families. Kind of the heirloom you don’t want but you know you’ll get one day.

    I do find it difficult to trust the Koran because the Koran and the Bible can’t both be correct. Truth is exclusive. Therefore, there cannot be more than one faith that leads to God. Additionally, there cannot be more than one God. Such an idea fails to explain ultimate purpose and divine design. The principle of the first mover explains that any object that is in motion must have first been set into motion by a Mover. God is that great mover. He is transcendent and active. It would be illogical to suggest that there could be more than one mover. More than one would create an immediate conflict in divine design and the essential balance to things like gravity, day and night, etc. My reason for stating this is that Islam and Christianity cannot both be right. If you really study what Mohammed says about other faiths you’ll find that he also believed that there could only be one faith and one god. While some Muslims respect Christ as a great teacher they do not regard Him as the Son of God or a prophet. Therefore, Muslim are unbelieving according to the God’s standard. Because there can only be one truth (absolute truth) I do not trust the Koran. I have read it and I have studied it. I have also studied Mohammed and who he was. I have studied how he led and the things that he did and he is not the person that Christ is because he was just a man, not a the Son of God.

    *”What does He do then, on your account, to those of us whose double-minded hypocrisy leads us to reject the tenets of your religious denomination?”
    According to the Bible, and Jesus Christ, all who are willing to trust Christ as their Savior and make Him the Lord of their life are welcome to be called children of God (John 1:12) and will have eternal life with God in heaven when they die on this earth. Those who refuse to have faith in Christ will spend eternity in Hell, separated from God because they will be condemned by their own sin (John 3:17). Unbelief is sin and sin leads to death. My faith is not about being religious it’s about having a relationship with Christ. He is the mediator between myself and God the Father. Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice who allows God to forgive my sins. I will do bad things even when I strive for good because I am sinful (theology of original sin). Therefore, I desperately need a Savior. Christ is that salvation. No matter how kind, how peaceful or how selfless someone might be if they do not have faith in Christ they will perish and spend eternity in hell. There are none Righteous, no not one, Romans 3:10.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Additionally, there cannot be more than one God.

    The Greeks and Romans didn’t seem to have a problem with it back in those days.

    And some Aboriginal peoples particularly in North America had belief systems in which any living being had its own spirit. And there are still believers today.

    And then of course there are the Hindus.

  • dpolicar

    it was Hebrew tradition to use tombs instead of a typical ground burial.

    How do you know this?

    I do find it difficult to trust the Koran because the Koran and the Bible can’t both be correct. Truth is exclusive. [..] If you really study what Mohammed says about other faiths you’ll find that he also believed that there could only be one faith and one god.

    Would it surprise you, then, to find that a Muslim finds it difficult to trust the Bible, because of his faith in the Koran?

    It would be illogical to suggest that there could be more than one mover.

    Is it important to be logical?
    Is God constrained by human ideas of logic?

    Those who refuse to have faith in Christ will spend eternity in Hell,

    So.

    You praise God by saying that “He chooses to still cover is with His grace” despite our status as “double-minded hypocrites.”

    Which He does, on your account, until we die, at which point billions of people spend eternity in Hell, including kind, peaceful, selfless people. And this too is praiseworthy.

    Have I understood that correctly?

  • Daniel

    “The principle of the first mover explains that any object that is in motion must have first been set into motion by a Mover. God is that great mover. He is transcendent and active. It would be illogical to suggest that there could be more than one mover.”

    So, basic religious philosophy question: Why do we assume God is the “unmoved mover” and why does God not have to have a cause? How do you know aliens weren’t the first mover, or Vishnu, or the Giant Celstial Horse? Please answer without special pleading that “God is different”. You said all things require a mover, so explain why God doesn’t.

    “Additionally, there cannot be more than one God. Such an idea fails to explain ultimate purpose and divine design.”
    Right- no one has very actually proved that there is any divine design or ultimate purpose anyway, so there’s no real problem being unable to explain something that isn’t actually provable at all. Also, more than one god would explain a lot better than one god does- the first thing that springs to mind is how neatly it could solve the problem of evil. If you have two or more similarly powerful deities, all pushing for their own advantage, or all engineering things to bring about their own version of “ultimate purpose” it would make much more sense than one all loving, all powerful God who also allows so much unspeakably awful stuff to happen all the time.

  • Courtney Navey

    First I should express that there is an element of faith, believing in what you can’t see and that it exist, in order to really discuss God. Your comments are already sharp and somewhat cynical towards the idea of there even being a God. So if you have any frustrations or bad experiences with people who pushed “religion” on you, then subside those emotions for a moment and try to see how the Christian worldview of God interprets life the way it does.
    I have never seen the wind and nor have you or anyone else who has ever lived. What we’ve seen are waves that are pushed by the wind, trees that are tossed back and forth by the wind, we’ve heard the wind as it pushes against stationary objects and we’ve felt the wind as it blows past us but we have never seen the wind or held it in our hands yet you believe that wind exist with no contention whatsoever. In fact every child who has some sort of formal education, in America, is taught that the wind exist but no one has ever seen it. The same is true for God. There are “miracles” that are reported all the time. Like a 90 pound woman who lifts the front of a 4,000 pound car off of her husband in order to save his life. I’m exaggerating but it’s true. The scientist would say that her adrenaline kicked in and gave her a superhuman surge of strength that allowed her to do such a thing in a desperate situation. Even if that is true how did her body know to allow the adrenal gland to open when it did and how much was the right amount and for how long? See these are questions that are most consistently explained by suggesting intelligent design. To address the your question about the first mover, God is an infinite supernatural being. We are finite limited beings. It is difficult for us to actually materialize how it is that God could exist with no creator. You have to get beyond the question of who created God and consider why am I here? When you are able to truthfully answer why you are here you realize that life is not about you at all, it’s about God. I can’t give you a formula that proves that God existed on His own and never needed a creator because if I could He wouldn’t be God. Believing in God takes faith. It’s not science, it’s faith. It’s believing in something that you cannot see.
    As far as your casting off divine design, you’re wrong. There is more proof for a divine design than there is for the theory of evolution or the big bang theory. Take the Giraffe. If the Giraffe had been the result of evolution then it would have died off years ago. The giraffe has a very long neck and therefore has a very large heart that pumps blood all the way to the top of the giraffe’s head, into it’s brain. Now what happens when the giraffe drops its head to get a drink of water, which it needs to survive? According to evolution it should die because the heart would continue to pump just as hard as before and would pump too much blood into the giraffe’s head, causing it’s head to explode. But what the giraffe has is a sort of shut off valve for it’s heart. As the giraffe’s head lowers the heart’s pumping becomes less and less because the shut off valve in the giraffe’s heart begins to tilt toward the blood flow. Therefore, never allowing too little or too much blood to reach the giraffe’s head.
    The vulture is also a very well designed bird. We need animals and bugs, who will in nature, eat other dead animals. The vulture is perfect for this. The vulture does not have any feathers on its head. Because when it goes to eat a dead animal its head touches the guts and skin and things that could spread disease. If the vulture had feathers on its head then those bacteria would grow and fester in the feathers and the vulture would get sick and die. Instead the bacteria does not remain on the vultures head long enough to cause sickness. They also don’t have feathers on their legs. A lot times they will pick apart the dead animal with their feet before eating it. So bacteria gets on their feet. By design, when a vulture urinates it does so down the the sides of both of its legs. the urine kills the bacteria that remain on the vulture’s feet. By design the vulture was created to eat dead animals that are decaying.
    I will not be able to answer all of your questions in a comment response but understand that there is something more to life than just indulging in what we want. we were created with a purpose and that purpose is greater than anything we could ever desire from a hedonist perspective.

  • Daniel

    “When you are able to truthfully answer why you are here you
    realize that life is not about you at all, it’s about God.”

    I have never suggested life is all about me. You are the one who thinks the creator and arbiter of the entire universe takes a personal interest in you. I do not.

    “According to evolution it should die because the heart would continue to pump just as hard as before and would pump too much blood into the giraffe’s head, causing it’s head to explode.”
    Where did you get that idea? That’s totally ridiculous. Intelligent design doesn’t actually explain anything. It just says “God did it” which doesn’t explain how or why. It certainly doesn’t explain why only one god must have done it rather than several, and neither have you.

    “I will not be able to answer all of your questions in a comment response but understand that there is something more to life than just indulging in what we want.”

    I have never suggested this is how I view life either. What I have asked for is evidence of God, and what you responded with is just so stories and evasions. You haven’t answered why there is only one God, you haven’t explained why God is the unmoved mover. I think AnonymousSam was right- it doesn’t matter to you what anyone actually says to you, you are just repeating stock responses that aren’t relevant to what you’ve been asked.

  • Courtney Navey

    You can lead a horse to water…

  • Daniel

    That isn’t an answer to any of the points I raised. Which actually confirms the final point I made: it doesn’t matter to you what anyone actually says to you, you are just
    repeating stock responses that aren’t relevant to what you’ve been asked.

  • Courtney Navey

    Wow, you’re awfully quick to judge. My response means that I have tried to point you in the direction of other resources that would answer some of your questions, because they would take more than a single response in this post, and I have tried to explain Scripture in context to you. But you seem committed to making distorted judgments about the answers that I give and you refuse to be open minded no matter the answer I give you.
    When dealing with a person who takes that approach to pursuing Truth, one can only conclude that they are much like a horse: You can lead them to the Truth but you can’t make them believe it.
    Therefore, there’s no point in me continuing a conversation with you because you’re not looking to reason through this and try to understand you just want to condemn and judge and exclaim that there I, nor any Christian, could have the answers to your questions because we’re just wrong. It’s a pointless argument to have with you. So for the sake of not wanting to be argumentative, in a negative connotation, I have resolved that this is the point where the Holy Spirit will need to move on your heart to help you see the Truth about God. Because after all, this isn’t about me, it’s about God and ultimately it’s not me you’re rejecting, it’s God.

  • dpolicar

    In your estimation, are you open-minded in your willingness to reason through what others say to you?

    Do you try to understand it and evaluate it for answers that are relevant to your life?

    Or do you have sufficient faith that you are already in possession of the correct answers, the ones that God endorses and the Holy Spirit has led you to, that there is no reason to do so?

  • Daniel

    How did any of your previous post point me in the direction of any references? You made several assertions, including that I view life as being only about me, and that I am selfish and self-indulgent (“understand that there is something more to life than just indulging in what we want.”) as well as making a completely ridiculous statement that creationism is true because giraffes’ heads don’t explode without including any citations.
    I have asked you to explain your points. You didn’t. Instead you met those requests with a disdainful “you can lead a horse to water…” But as you never actually offered any evidence for your assertions at all, it’s hardly fair for you to suggest I have close mindedly rejected it. If you would be so good as to offer one citation that can back up your claim about exploding giraffes, I would be happy to read it. If you can offer a source about exploding giraffes from an actual expert on evolution who could explain why it would be the case that giraffes would explode if evolution is true that would be even better.

  • dpolicar

    how did her body know to allow the adrenal gland to open when it did and how much was the right amount and for how long? See these are questions that are most consistently explained by suggesting intelligent design.

    OTOH, if I study how the adrenal gland works, I will eventually discover other explanations, and I will discover that some people’s adrenal glands don’t open the right amount, and I will discover ways to change what adrenal glands do so I can fix that, and people will suffer less.

    Similarly, when a 40-year-old man falls to the ground because a blood vessel in his brain has burst and human brains are constructed in such a way that the bursting of relatively fragile blood vessels in the brain causes massive tissue damage, paralysis, pain, and death… well, I can also attribute that to intelligent design, and infer the designer’s nature from that design.

    Or I can study medicine and learn ways to treat strokes and reduce suffering in the world.

    So maybe, as you say, suggesting intelligent design is the most consistent explanation.
    Perhaps studying the world and learning how it works is less consistent.

    But is consistency more important than reducing suffering?

    When you are able to truthfully answer why you are here you realize that life is not about you at all, it’s about God.

    Do you know why you are here?

    According to evolution [the giraffe] should die because the heart would continue to pump just as hard as before and would pump too much blood into the giraffe’s head, causing it’s head to explode.

    How confident are you that you understand evolution well enough to predict what should happen “according to evolution”?

    How did you arrive at this confidence?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Do you know why you are here?

    That is a philosophical question that gets at me like a burr under my ass.

    It is utterly futilely aggravating that I have no idea why it is the me-that-is-me inhabits a particular body of finite extent within space-time and happens to be human.

    There is no reason at all why the consciousness that is Invisible Neutrino should be in any way physically distinct from the consciousness that is a cat, or a dog, or an amoeba for that matter.

    Yet for whatever reason the brain that developed in my body holds the consciousness-that-is-me and I have no idea how it happened or why it is that I live here, today, and not say, South America in 1650.

    (>_<)B it is frustrating.

  • dpolicar

    I… am not sure I entirely understand the question you’re referring to.

    For my own part, it seems clear to me that the reason the thing that exists in dpolicar’s brain is not aware of itself as Invisible Neutrino is because it doesn’t have access to Invisible Neutrino’s perceptions and memories and habits of thought, all of which are stored in Invisible Neutrino’s brain in ways that are currently not sharable between brains.

    And I would comfortably say that the phrase “the consciousness that is dpolicar” currently shares a referent with “the thing that exists in dpolicar’s brain”.

    So I would say that there is a reason why the consciousness that is dpolicar is physically distinct from everything else.

    It is of course possible that “I” am in some sense not only the consciousness that is dpolicar, but also a cat and a dog and an amoeba and etc. But whatever that sense is, it is not one that allows perceptions and memories and habits of thought to be shared easily throughout all of “me”, and it’s the perceptions and memories and habits of thought that I’m aware of.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I am here because I walked. This is a space I intend to occupy for a time. Then I will leave it. Eventually I will occupy a lesser space, and then a greater, and then immeasurable. I have come a long way. I have a long way to go. But the important thing is that I have a burrito.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You could make your case a little more cogently if you didn’t throw up a wall of text every time you post.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    You appear to be responding to a post other than the one you read. Either that or you’re automatically following a script in which I am little more than an interchangeable character whose input is easily disregarded as unimportant in comparison to the story you need to tell, because what you wrote does not answer the point of the previous two posts in the slightest.

  • Courtney Navey

    One can only assume that you aren’t reading everything I wrote and only skimming for the main points. Otherwise you would not have posted this comment.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I read for relevance. If you think you’re teaching me something new with a screed about the Gospels, you’re sadly mistaken about your audience. At no point did you address the entire reason for my interjection: The accounts are in no way consistent. They contradict, leave out large details, and end on different notes. This is not the makings of reliable history. This is the makings of myth and legend.

    The Gospels do indeed have something valuable to teach us, but not the way you think they do.

  • P J Evans

    How many points are you going to get in your Sunday school class, for trying to convert the Gentiles?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Now you must also understand that in that time people were not usually buried in the ground

    I was given to understand that Jewish custom is to bury the dead in the ground particularly as bodies tended to decompose quickly in the mediterranean climate.

    I agree that you can’t scientifically prove all of Scripture, but that is exactly why it requires faith.

    Taking the unsupported word that a being not sensible to me by any of my five senses nevertheless exists, as a precondition for that being to reveal its existence to me, is not on.

    At least if I want to prove air has weight it will have weight whether or not I accept the initial premise. Ditto the proof of molecules through Brownian motion.

  • dpolicar

    As I said: those who are already in possession of the Truth should devote their efforts to sharing that Truth.

    And perhaps you’re correct that, due to the special properties of Jesus and of Christianity and of the Bible and of the Holy Spirit, people who read the Bible objectively and allow the Holy Spirit to move them towards God and believe that Jesus is God are in possession of the Truth.

    It seems unlikely to me, but ultimately it doesn’t really matter what I think… whether I happen to believe in it or not, those who are already in possession of the Truth should devote their efforts to sharing that Truth.

    Which, as I said, also means that those who falsely believe themselves in possession of the Truth will also devote their efforts to sharing their false visions of Truth. They might even mistakenly believe that they follow the Holy Spirit when in fact they have strayed from it, that they are reading the Bible objectively when in fact their reading is biased, etc.

    This is unfortunate, perhaps even tragic, but it’s just the way things are in this world, where we are born fallible mortals and there are many more ways for us to be wrong than to be right.

    Meanwhile, those who desire truth can continue seeking it.

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    Actually, I’m 20 feet tall and I’m not only bulletproof, but I’m biologically immortal. In another 10 years, I’ll be uploading myself into a Seed AI so I’ll be digitally immortal, an then jump off to the Pleiades, where I’ll meet with a super intelligent ETI.

    I’m so judgmental and close-minded and I’ll just laugh and smile because the Truth

    Like smug people are prone to doing.

    pass judgments like you have passed on me.

    And yet, here you are, speaking for God. Don’t you think it’s up to God to decide who he allows inside of his kingdom and who he doesn’t? To say I’m being judgmental and then to turn around and damn a bunch of people to hell for eternity, even though I’ve already show the Bible places more importance on works than faith, is the very height of arrogance. Let God decide based on his standards, not yours that derive from a book with multiple interpretations (as our argument shows).

    Plank, eye.

    My beef is not with the unbeliever, I expect them to turn from the message of Christ and to be the ones who persecute the Christian

    Funny. I’m an agnostic atheist and I’ve see the exact opposite happening: I’ve been persecuted against by Christians. I get judged, I run the risk of losing jobs, and around some people – not just Christians but the in United States, they’re the most dangerous – my life is at risk. Just because I exist does not mean I’m persecuting you, lady. Just because I’m criticizing what you believe does not mean I’m persecuting you. Come back to me when Atheists are invading churches with machetes and hacking up the inhabitants. When they’re forcing Christians into ghettos, and target Christian churches for bombings like Christians do women’s health clinics.

    in short, when you’re being treated like Christians in some other parts of the world, then we’ll talk about persecution. Until, being forced to say “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas” by an employer who acknowledges that Jews exist is not persecution, nor will it ever be persecution.

    Islam is a hateful faith

    Says the lady who decided that Christ wanted billions of people damned to Hell because of what she read in a book.

    However, I’ve never had a theological discussion where the opposing view dropped an “F-Bomb” so at least we both know you’re next devotional will likely be from James 3.

    How fucking sad, then. No, no more bible quotes. Those don’t work anyway, as you’ve shown. Just the honest truth – which you obviously can’t hand, since you’re running back into your judgmental and hateful faith again for solace.

    And that truth?

    You are the sum total of what you do, not what you believe.

    I’ve actually read the Koran along with other Muslim scriptures. There’s no love, only hate in Muhammed’s teachings.

    Really? You must’ve missed the story where he cut off the arm of his prayer robe rather than wake up his cat because he loved her so much.

    And that’s right off the top of my head. I’m sure if I went back and looked through my Koran, I could find more examples. I think you’re lying. But then, your next claim will probably be that you’re 10 foot tall and bullet proof, since we can be anything we want to be on the Internet, amirite?

    And just so we’re on an even keel: I’ll take hell over your idea of heaven. I prefer my paradises to lack jackboots.

  • P J Evans

    They’re in Utah because it was the only place they could find to live that wasn’t full of people who didn’t take kindly to being told that they were going to hell for not following J Smith’s invented religion. (They also massacred a fair number of passing travelers, apparently for the girls, and still don’t want to be responsible for it.)

  • REALITY girl

    @baby raptor, then you get a free ticket to hell…. at no costs at all…but God is not human, he loves order as much as our parents love for us to clean our rooms…many will rebel and be angry but it is usually worth it at the end….he would not allow anything dirty or corruptible into his kingdom…you, me, the whole world included. so, yes, he would throw anybody who would follow the devil into where the devil belongs.. this is very logical…like it or not…he has given us a choice and has told us to choose life, it’s your choice to make…no one else’s. AND he did not create you to act anyway, you chose to…you can decide how you want to behave.. it’s your choice…AND yes, its by faith that we believe him because we never actually saw him before believing…when we get to heaven, we will see him…you obviously don’t want to work to get there, you want a free entry.. but hey! I hate to burst your bubbles, you have to work to get there…SORRY!

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Fortunately, this turns out to not be the case.

  • Baby_Raptor

    The bible plainly says that humankind is incapable of sinning. It also says that god created us how we are. Therefore, god created us incapable of sinning…Incapable of adhering to his demands.

    Then he blames *us* like we did anything wrong. Sorry, but no. We didn’t. That’s the same thing as blaming a woman for getting raped. We’re incapable of acting any other way, and he created us thus.

    There’s nothing logical about that. Nor loving, just, merciful…Any of those good things the bible likes to say god is over and over.

    And frankly, the fact that you keep claiming it IS says one of two things about you: You’re either massively immoral or you have a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome.