Bill Elliff: 9/11 and Sandy Hook caused by lack of Christianity.

Bill Elliff, a pastor from right here in Arkansas, went on the American Family Association’s radio show yesterday to talk about how the 9/11 and Sandy Hook attacks weren’t the result of maniacs with too much power in their hands, but because of humanism and gay marriage.

Elliff: I think what’s going to happen is what’s happened to every society before us who has not turned back. I was thinking the other day probably in Rome they thought ‘this could never happen to us’ and England in its prime they said ‘this could never happen to us.’ There is something about our humanistic pride that causes us to think, we could never go down as a nation.

Elliff: I’ve often thought about 9/11 and what happened there. God doesn’t cause evil, he didn’t cause the shooting the other day. But when we say, ‘Lord we can live life without you,’ then he says, ‘okay, I’ll let you feel that.’

Wilson: Let you get a taste of it.

Elliff: I thought at 9/11 what happened was God’s protective hand was removed and we felt what pure evil is like. We felt that this last week. That was pure evil, it’s the devil who has come to steal, kill and destroy. He’d just as soon kill a baby or a child in the womb as anything else. God allows that moment, we’re pressing the issue by turning from him, but he allows that moment to bring us to our senses and say, ‘God we desperately need you.’ So really it’s gracious. The pain that comes, the judgment that has really come by our turning away from the Lord is a merciful thing that God does to bring us to our senses and bring us back to him.

C’mon guys!  God didn’t cause those attacks (although, when creating the world, he decided to manufacture cancer, starvation, and psychopaths, but apparently he hates it when those things actually do what they were designed to do)!  God just turned his back and didn’t help, like Peter Parker and Uncle Ben, and look how well that turned out.

Eliff continued…

Elliff: We look at what has happened recently here in the school shooting and the so many things that have happened in the past few years. If we put all of those in biblical context and surround it with the Scripture we would come to different conclusions about what was happening. I was thinking the other day that God has instituted pain in our body, you know when you get a rusty nail that goes up to the sole of your foot that’s a real good thing that you feel pain because it causes you to make an adjustment. God’s judgment is like that. It’s a loving God saying to us when judgment comes to a nation it is God saying, wake up, you have walked away from me and I have loved you and I have so much desire to protect you but when you walk away you forfeit that.

Yes, there are millions of people who aren’t convinced that a Canaanite Jew rose from the dead, and god is so miffed he had to do something.  Being all-wise, when considering whether to come down and say “Hey, I exist” to settle the question once and for all, or to let 20 children, all from religious families, die in a similar fashion to church shootings in America’s past, he chose the latter.  In his infinite wisdom, turning his back while 20 kids were brutally slaughtered was the best way to show us that a compassionate god exists, and not that we live in a pitiless universe where no god is looking out for us or our children.  Brilliant.  The god being defended by Bill Elliff (and millions of believers just like him) is a malicious idiot.

How many monsters like Elliff must we trot out before it’s confirmed that it’s a big enough problem that the world contains a lot of stupid, terrible people, and that religion doesn’t make them better – it just reinforces their stupid, terrible opinions?

  • pjmaertz

    So is god everywhere all the time, or isn’t it? Is this god so jealous that if it isn’t constantly being praised day in and day out by everybody, its first reaction is to allow children to get brutally murdered? And if this is the case, why is this entity worthy of anything but contempt? And is this god omnicient? If so, why did it create a world that is so full of pain and hostile to life, knowing how horrible it would be for that vast majority of its creation?

    I suppose any Christian would just answer “but… Bible.”

    • pjmaertz

      Also this guy’s version of god sounds like an abusive parent or spouse: “this is going to hurt me a lot more than it’s going to hurt you.” Even though god is apparently some omnicient, omnipotent, eternal being, we are less hurt by the the murder of children than he is. Why would anyone want to worship this thing?

    • Kyle

      The question of why God allows suffering in world is the subject of much discussion and debate. There are many perspectives, and if you’re interested in learning about them I’d strongly encourage you do look into it and keep an open mind. Countless articles by many insightful people are available and worth the read.

      • http://peternothnagle.com Peter N

        We know. It’s called “theodicy”. That’s a fancy word for “making up excuses for God”.

        • Kyle

          “We know. It’s called ‘theodicy’. That’s a fancy word for ‘making up excuses for God’.”

          Yes, theodicy is a response to the problem of evil. Having a coherent set of beliefs is important to all faiths (atheism included), and the problem of evil is certainly considered to be one of the more prominent questions to resolve.

          • tubi

            For atheists, it is resolved. There is “evil” in the world because the world doesn’t care a crap about your feelings. The problem of evil is only a problem for those that posit an omniscient+omnipotent+omnibenevolent deity. For them, it remains, and is likely to remain, unresolved.

            Also, atheism is not a “faith.”

          • Kyle

            Sure it does. Atheism proposes that the solution to the problem of evil is that God does not exist, correct? It proposes that if there were an omniscient+potent+benevolent God, then he would not allow suffering in the world. Because God allows suffering in the world, this is then a contradiction, therefore God does not exist is the conclusion it draws?

            Why do you think that atheism is not a faith? Atheism posits that the nonexistence of God is the truth. How could one possibly know the truth?

          • Desiree

            Atheism is a lack of belief. That is it. It does not posit anything.

          • M

            Atheism doesn’t posit anything. Atheism is the “null hypothesis”. For those who aren’t scientists, whenever you set up an experiment you have a hypothesis of what you think will happen and why. Then you also state your null hypothesis, ie what will happen if your hypothesis is wrong. If your experiment doesn’t provide evidence for your hypothesis, we always default back to the null hypothesis. So as a really basic example, if you think penicillin kills germs, you state that your hypothesis is that penicillin kills germs and the null hypothesis is that penicillin doesn’t kill germs. If your hypothesis is correct, a petri dish germ culture will die when penicillin is added. If the null hypothesis is correct, it won’t die. Then you set up two petri dishes and grow some cultures. Add penicillin to one culture but not the other and see what happens.

            Now lets apply this to religion. The deist hypothesis is there is a God, while the theist hypothesis is that there is a God and it is the God you believe in. The null hypothesis — that is, atheism– is that there are no gods. It doesn’t require belief to say there is insufficient evidence to support the hypothesis of any God, so we default back to the null hypothesis.

          • Rob

            Please name all religions that have a coherent set of beliefs.

      • Loqi

        Many of us have looked into it. It was the intellectual equivalent of looking into the toilet at a truck stop.
        Why do you assume the reason we’re atheists is that we don’t know enough about Christianity? For a lot of us, the primary reason we are atheists is that we’ve studied religion extensively (with an open mind). Far more than most theists.

  • http://skepticfreethought.com/tokenchristian/ Jaime Wise

    Has there ever been a time in our history when we were “with God”? It seems like the farther back you go, you just see more of people like this man lamenting a past time when we were “good”. Does this perfect, moral America exist anywhere besides an individual’s imagination of what a time before he was born was like?

  • Sonja

    This is just like when ancient people tried to explain rainbows and earthquakes and volcanoes. The resident god is angry thus sacrifices must be made……grab the first born sons!!!

  • Linda

    It saddens me that every damned time ANYTHING goes wrong, it is blamed upon our gay brothers and sisters, AGAIN!
    Good grief!
    Is there no end to the arrows aimed at them?

    • tubi

      “Is there no end to the arrows aimed at them?”

      In short, no. They are wrong and therefore to blame. Always.*

      On a lighter note, we were playing Scattergories on New Year’s Eve with some friends. The letter was “A” and the topic was “Things that are sharp.” My wife couldn’t think of the word “arrows” so wrote “archery bullets” instead.

      *To be clear, that’s bullshit. I am not a homophobic troglodyte.

  • Taz

    This is worse than just idiotic religious concepts. Look what he says about Rome and England. He’s tying his particular god-delusion to military conquest. God let those children be slaughtered to warn us that we might lose our right to rule the world.

  • Treeshrew

    Hang on, what’s wrong with England? I live there, and I must have missed the part where our society crumbled as a result of not having enough God in our politics (as it happens, we have way too much God in our politics already thanks to the CofE and the Tory party). Bloody cheek!

  • Brad1990

    “God allows that moment, we’re pressing the issue by turning from him, but he allows that moment to bring us to our senses and say, ‘God we desperately need you.’ So really it’s gracious.”

    This is the equivalent of a few people saying “We don’t need Government! We can manage fine on our own!” and the Government responding by going “OK. You’re so smart, starting tomorrow all Armed Forces and Emergency Services personnell will stand down, all public schools will shut, and all Government subsidies and welfare will not be paid. Let’s see how well you do.” That’s not gracious. That’s childish and petty and egotistical. If Billy-boy is right and that is what happened, then God is an arsehole.

  • Brad1990

    “Atheism proposes that the solution to the problem of evil is that God does not exist, correct?”

    Wrong. To Atheists the existence of evil is not a “problem” because we don’t posit the existence of an all loving God, thus creating the contradiction which makes evil a problem. To Atheists, evil is an unpleasant reality that we unfortunately have to deal. We don’t require a “solution” to explain it because there is no contradiction between our world view and the existence of evil. Mainly because our worldview is based in reality.

    Also, faith is belief in something despite there being no supporting evidence or in spite of contradictory evidence. Atheistic beliefs are based on empirical evidence and therefore Atheism can not be a faith, can it? Think it through.

    • Brad1990

      Sorry, the above is in response to Kyle’s massive pile of ridiculousness.

  • Mark

    “. . . when creating the world, he decided to
    manufacture cancer, starvation, and psychopaths. . . ”

    Which religion believes that?

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Colossians 1:16

      For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.

      • Mark
        • corynthian

          No, Dodge built the Ram and the driver wrecked it. Of course, if Dodge built the truck, the driver, all the other vehicles on the road as well as their drivers, and the traffic and weather conditions at the time of the accident, all while knowing ahead of time that the truck would end up wrecked, then that would change my answer significantly.

      • Mark

        Romams 1:21-32
        “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”

        • corynthian

          What’s this, the Bible says that people who don’t worship God are bad? Amazing!

        • corynthian

          Anyway, I’m not sure how this verse is supposed to absolve an all-powerful, all-knowing God from the problems with its own creation. If people not honoring or thanking God is what leads to innocent children being gunned down, then the whole system is broken.

          • Mark

            Who broke the system?

          • Nate Frein

            It takes an outside agency to “break” a system. A system does not “break” itself. It can wear out, leading to a breakdown, but the system does not have the agency to deliberately damage itself.

            If “god” created the system entirely, then he is responsible for the failures of specific parts of the system.

          • Mark

            “It takes an outside agency to ‘break’ a system.” etc, etc, etc.
            Who says?
            Can you give an example of another “system” in which one of the components is granted self-determination.

          • Nate Frein

            Doesn’t matter. Granting “self-determination” to something doesn’t abrogate responsibility for it.

          • Loqi

            Ah, the “free will” dodge. I’ve always wondered how an omnipotent god is compatible with the idea human free will. If god is omnipotent, then nothing can happen without his prior knowledge. If your decisions are knowable ahead of time, then where’s the self determination part? If we have self determination, then there is something that is unknowable even to god, which makes him, by definition, not omnipotent.

          • Mark

            Again, who says?

          • Nate Frein

            If I built a car and incorporated a chip in the governing computers that gave that computer some kind of discretion as to how the car is driven, and that computer decides to go and wreck itself, then yes, I’m responsible for that crash.

            The complexity of the system “god” claims credit for is much greater, but he wants credit for the whole shebang, so he gets credit for the WHOLE shebang.

          • Mark

            Nate,

            “. . . and that computer decides to go and wreck itself, then yes, I’m responsible for that crash.”

            Responsible to whom?

          • Nate Frein

            To everyone involved.

            And yes, that includes the car, if the car was sentient and capable of experiencing emotion and death.

            If I made a sentient creation, and made that sentient creation self destructive, then I am also responsible TO THAT CREATION for that creation’s actions.

            In other words, if “god” exists and created the world, it means he’s an asshole playing games with people’s lives like a person might do with the Sims computer game.

          • Mark

            Nate,

            “If I made a sentient creation, and made that sentient creation self destructive, then I am also responsible TO THAT CREATION for that creation’s actions.”

            Again, says who? On what common ground can I agree with this statement?

          • corynthian

            Mark says: Who broke the system?

            The system appears to have been designed broken. Unless the omnipotent, omniscient creator of the system intended a different outcome, which doesn’t make much sense.

        • Nate Frein

          Your humanity, if you have any left.

          Fuck it. You’re disingenuous and not worth my time.

          • Mark

            So, humanity gets to tell God what the rules are?

          • Nate Frein

            If this “god” of yours exists, (for which there is no evidence), then “god” is either an imperfect architect (which you claim he isn’t) or he’s an asshole for getting angry at creations doing what he programmed them to do. It’d be akin to me creating a lesbian Sim, and then angrily destroying her house because she married another woman.

            So if this “god” truly exists, then “god” is either a complete incompetent or a complete asshole. Neither one feels particularly compelling as an object of worship.

          • sqlrob

            So, humanity gets to tell God what the rules are?

            Yes.

            Judge not lest ye be judged.

  • Mark

    Loqi, you may be interested to look into Molinism.
    Also, the Bible makes it clear that God can put aside His godly attributes at His discretion. See Philippians 2:6-8.

    • Loqi

      Whether he chooses to know or not is irrelevant. If it’s knowable and he doesn’t know it, then there’s still the problem that what you will choose is knowable, and thus is already determined. In addition, if he doesn’t know something, then we have a condition where I could conceive of a being greater than omnipotent god (one who has all the same attributes plus knows the future). Which, again, makes god not omnipotent by definition.

    • Loqi

      In regards to Molinism, I’m left wondering how this absolves god of responsibility (among other things it leaves me wondering…). If god knows what we will choose in any given situation, and he chooses what situations to place us in, then is he not ultimately responsible? This still creates the situation where nothing can happen without god’s prior knowledge and consent. Furthermore, what kind of “free will” is that? If I write a program like the Sims (to borrow Nate’s example) where I know how a character will act in a situation (because I wrote the code that governs their actions), then construct a situation where I know they will act a certain way, how can I get upset at them for acting the way I made them? They cannot help but act the way I created them in the situations in which I placed them.

      • Mark

        I kinda makes you wonder if we even know what free will looks like, doesn’t it?

        • Loqi

          Not me. My worldview doesn’t depend on any concept of free will. Christianity does. It posits a free will whereby evil actions are attributed to humans instead of god because they could have chosen good actions or bad actions. However, under Molinism, such a choice does not actually exist. Under a given set of circumstances, an individual will *always* choose the same thing. Therefore, an individual can be represented as an infinite set of key/value pairs (where the key is an exhaustive list of all possible circumstances and the value is the decision the individual is predetermined to make). In other words, a computer simulation.


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