Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We can't all be rock stars

I thought it might be edifying (or not) to boil down a bit what passes for argumentation in larryniven's (who's stopped by to grace us all with his presence over the past couple of weeks in recent comboxes) world.

Can you read?

Any reason why you felt compelled to ask that again? Haven't got that far in Hooked on Phonics?

You, sir, are a sophist by your own admission.

feel free to never post here again.

The world deserves better people than you, so I encourage you to remove yourself from society as much as possible until the happy day when your body becomes as dead as your brain. Failing that, at least have the common courtesy to get off the internet, you insufferable windbag.

(The latest)
My goal, you self-satisfied ignoramus, is to squelch propaganda, which is all you have to offer. So far, precisely zero of your arguments have even come close to approaching logical validity, so, as per my comments policy, I'll be deleting the rest of your utterly useless comments, including this latest one. If you want to be heard, learn how to argue without all the ____.


...nobody, not even those of us looking for an argument on the internet, should have to deal with someone that embarrassingly stupid. Seriously.


Have you read the Bible? All things considered, it isn't that long - it's gotta be shorter than the Lord of the Rings trilogy, for instance.

For those interested, I've read both the Bible and LOTR. The Bible is longer, trust me.
Anyway, my apologies to all who've been waiting around for me. I've been sick for a week now and am still weak and can't exert myself much without pain. Prayers are appreciated.

Well, since larryniven deleted my latest comment, I'll just post it here so anyone can see who's offering naked assertions and who's attempting to get to the bottom of the issue.

Any reason why you felt compelled to ask that again? Haven't got that far in Hooked on Phonics?

I was just making sure I understood you correctly.
But your refusal and insulting comments are duly noted. Your standard for making moral judgments is undefined by you, so a reasonable person has every right and justification to consider any moral judgment you might express as simple personal stipulation on your part. Personal stipulation is also known as naked assertion, and to defeat a naked assertion, one needs only to assert the opposite.

Let's see how far you let me get when I just assert that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
I'm not going to argue for it here, I'm just going to assert it. My assertion and your assertions you've made in this post have (so far) the same epistemic justification. The backing argument is that which provides the strength of the assertion. Your blog has "Philosophy" in it, but maybe you missed Phil 101 class that day.

No more than you've been reading into mine.

Oh please. This is just a knee-jerk "Nuh uh, yeah huh!!!" reaction. Anyone can see who's doing what here.

You, sir, are a sophist by your own admission.

Really? Where did I state such?

feel free to never post here again.

Wow, are you not into entertaining other points of view or sthg? Does chumming around exclusively with sycophants give you a tickly good time?

If you believe that God's nature is good and God's commandments stem from God's nature, you do in fact believe in divine command theory

Divine command theory is the idea that that which is good is good b/c God commands it. that's why it's called Divine command theory.
My position is not that.

You do not have the right to make words mean whatever you want them to just so that you can win arguments

The blindness you display here is amazing.

The world deserves better people than you, so I encourage you to remove yourself from society as much as possible until the happy day when your body becomes as dead as your brain. Failing that, at least have the common courtesy to get off the internet, you insufferable windbag.

Wow. Well, if your goal is to squelch conversation from opponents to your views, you're doing a decent job.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Abraham and Isaac

Gen 22:1 Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am."
Gen 22:2 He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you."


Gen 22:5 Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you."


Gen 22:7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"
Gen 22:8 Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." So the two of them walked on together.


Gen 22:10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
Gen 22:11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am."
Gen 22:12 He said, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."
Gen 22:13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind {him} a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.
Gen 22:14 Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided."


No need really to go over the story again in my own words; the historical account is plain.

Some argue that God is evil or unjust to order Abraham to murder his son. There are a few defenses against that statement, and I will touch on a couple before moving on to a more central point that I haven't ever heard made, though I'm sure better men than I have made it before.

Point 1) God didn't command that Abraham kill Isaac. He commanded him to "offer him as a sacrifice". Not the same thing.

Point 2) Abraham himself didn't think that God meant that he should actually kill Isaac.
See the boldfaced comment in verses 5 and 8 - why say "we will return"? Why state that the lamb will be provided?

But Abraham was just trying to keep Isaac from panicking and running away! (as has been said before)

Perhaps, but there's no indication from the text that this is so.
And why didn't Isaac run away, if he was so fearful, when Abraham got the stuff and all was ready and the lamb was still not there?

Point 3) Abraham also believed that, even if the sacrifice were to go all the way thru to Isaac's death, God would resurrect Isaac. B/c he was a man of faith.

Hbr 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten {son;}
Hbr 11:18 {it was he} to whom it was said, "IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED."
Hbr 11:19 He considered that God is able to raise {people} even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

Point 4) See Hebrews 11:19 - this sacrifice of a ram instead of a sinful human to atone for sin foreshadows the Mosaic Law to come, and each are foremost a type of the final and complete sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Interestingly (and hat tip to Tim Staples of Catholic Answers, ironically, who I heard point this out), Abraham refers to a "lamb" that God will provide. Yet mere minutes later, God provides - not a lamb, but a ram. What of the lamb? It is yet another type of Christ, the spotless Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God, still to come in the future, in whom faith is expressed by Abraham the first Hebrew. God thus had a vested interest in taking a human to the brink of death yet substituting another in his place.

Point 5) As James 1 and 2 tells us, God was testing Abraham's faith in the fire of adversity. Would he trust God, that which is eternal and authoritative, or what he saw, which is temporal and seems authoritative and "normal"?

Point 6) I preface this point with 2 warnings, to apply to comments.
  1. If you perform an internal critique, you must do so in accord with Christian presuppositions.
  2. If you perform an external critique, you must provide a basis for morality that will extend to individuals who are not you. For a guide to what questions you need to answer in order to accomplish that, see my blogalogue with the atheist ChooseDoubt.
  3. I suggest you at least skim my major points in this thread, culminating in this comment, to see what's gone before.

My central point - God has the right to kill anyone or command that anyone be killed at any time.
People die every second of every day. Man is fallen and sinful, and the penalty for sin is death - Romans 3:23 and following through the end of chapter 5. It is only thru God's forbearance and mercy that I or any other person draw the next breath. And the next, and the next. And of course, it is only thru His mercy in Christ's death and resurrection that eternal Hell is not everyone's final destination.

Murder is defined as the unjustified taking of human life.
Yet, as every man, woman, and child is sinful and bears the guilt of the sin of Adam, all are subject to the death penalty. This includes Isaac. This also includes the various peoples of Canaan, whom God commanded the OT Hebrews to put to death after hundreds of years of giving them time to repent of their perversions. This includes the millions of babies that die every year in the womb (re: Sam Harris' correct and yet wrongheaded and amazingly morally blind assertion that God is the greatest living abortionist). God is fully justified in putting anyone to death at any time thru any manner or agency He chooses.
Thus, even if God did not intervene before Abraham's knife swept downward, He would be fully justified.

So why does God set Himself apart as the God Who does not demand child sacrifice as Molech did? Why does He also call out as sinful the foreign deities that call on their people to sacrifice and the actions of child sacrifice in the Old Testament Canaanite societies?

A few possibilities:
1) Those deities are false. They don't exist qua deity.
2) Therefore, the origin of those ideas to sacrifice children is (either) human and/or demonic in nature. Neither human nor demon has the right to kill a(nother) human in anything close to this circumstance.
3) Such practices further idolatry and worship of false gods, which of course are no gods at all. Which of course violates the 1st Commandment.

So, God could conceivably demand child sacrifice and be justified in doing so, but does not demand such. God thus creates yet more space for distinguishing between Himself and the false gods to which these pagans held. That is a merciful thing to do. He also wrote into His Law that no one is to put their child to death. That is a merciful thing to do. He wrote it on the hearts of humanity in general (Romans 2:13-15) such things. That is a merciful thing to do. To set God, the true God, apart from false gods in His ability and authority to give life and take it, to set up authority to take life under certain conditions (ie, the gov't in cases of capital crimes), and to define how He will and will not be worshiped.

What is amazing is that, despite the obvious horror, and despite their knowledge that God is the only true God (Romans 1:18-26), some societies throughout history have nevertheless turned away to these invented foreign deities that demanded satisfaction thru child sacrifice. The story of evil here is, once again, man, not God.

(See here also for more analysis of the underlying question.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

A quick summation

This is for ease of reference.
In the contention between atheists and myself on the issue of morality and its bases, three options have come forth:

1) God is the ultimate good, the definition of good. That which is good is that which flows out of His character.

2) Alternatively, there is no God, and therefore no ultimate definition of good. Thus every person is forced to figure out what is good, all by themselves. Some choose empathy and altruism as a basis for their personal morality, others choose violence and strive to overpower others to subjugate them. Either of those people can rationally look at the other and say, "According to that which is moral, you are wrong," b/c "that which is moral" defines that to which that individual holds. It doesn't answer the question of "Who is right?" for any 3rd party, however, since this morality is based only in the individual. The only way it is extensible to others is for the individual human to attempt to ape God and force submission to his morality down others' throats, as it were, and squelch dissent thru (if necessary) violent means, for the greater "good" (in reality, for the imposition of his own moral system) thru gov't and police, etc.

3) Or, there is no God and there is no evidence that any moral system is right or wrong. Thus, there is no moral statement to make about anything at all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Justify the extrapolation

I've challenged many supporters of evolution to justify the extrapolation that they claim from the undisputed claim that organisms are observed evolving (microevolution) in the present here-and-now, to the disputed claim that said organisms are the descendants of a common ancestor which looked and acted nothing like them and whose cellular structures and activities and such are vastly different.
Dr Funkenstein (who is, if I'm not mistaken, a professional scientist with an advanced university degree) decided to take a swing at the challenge in this comment:

As a good example of a reasonable evolutionary extrapolation for common ancestry:

God could have made humans with 100 chromosomes and primates with 24, rather than 23 and 24, respectively. He could have made it so human chromosome 2 was nothing like Chimp, Orangutan or Gorilla chromosome 2. He could have made it so there were no telomeric repeat sequences in the middle of human chromosome 2. In fact, he could have made our genetic material totally different from that of chimps. You know, so there'd be no doubt we're not related to primates by common ancestry...

Honestly, I don't know if I ever imagined the case could be so weak!
All he's done here is ask a question about God, which he has no way to answer either way.

1) Maybe God just wanted to do it that way.
2) Maybe God wanted to deceive HIM.
3) Maybe God sent "upon (him) a deluding influence so that (he) will believe what is false, in order that (he) may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness" (2 Thess 2:11-12).
4) Maybe it gives God glory in some presently inscrutable sense to make the chromosomes that way.
5) Maybe in the way that God set up our bodies and biology, it made sense in some way we don't yet know to make the chromosomes that way.

I'm not saying I believe all of those (#2 comes to mind), but they are logical possibilities.

Appealing to incredulity is no way to convince the skeptic. Talk about a double standard! You wouldn't accept the same from me. How many times have we seen atheists and evolutionists mock the naive Christian who argues thusly: "But, the universe is just too complex and improbable for it to have arisen without a First Cause!"?

The irony is rich in any case - Dr Funk does not believe in a grand design from a Grand Designer, yet here he is offering pointers to the Designer as to what it might take to make the Designer's existence more plausible in his mind. I'm sure God is taking notes.

Where is the overwhelming evidence?
More to the point, does this even get close to responding to the question?

Finally, I'd just note that my request is presuppositional. Don't bother throwing data at me in the combox - if you can't justify extrapolating into the unobservable, into Deep Time, on the presuppositional level, data is useless.

(On a side note, I'm sorry that Dr Funk might not be around to deal with this, but the combox remains open to perpetuity, so after his upcoming 2-week vacation he might wish to set the record straight and actually answer the question.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Internal vs External critique

I didn't write this, but I like it. It's quite useful for reference around here, and I encourage anyone who reads this blog and/or its comboxes to digest it.

First, a word about the difference between an internal and an external critique. An internal critique is when somebody like Singer makes an argument against the moral character of God and then evaluates whether or not the Bible or Christianity offers an adequate and coherent response. It would be like giving the following argument: 1) One of God’s commands is that we shall not murder, 2) yet God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, 3) therefore, God is inconsistent. This argument is an internal one because it stays within the bounds of Christianity in order to identify an inconsistency. Notice that points 1 and 2 are both taken from the Bible. An external critique, on the other hand, tests something about Christianity against something outside of it. It would be like giving the following argument: 1) God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, 2) no truly good God would ask a follower of his to sacrifice his own son, 3) therefore, God is not good. Do you see the difference? The first one tests Christianity on its own grounds. The second one introduces an external standard or concept and tests Christianity against that external standard or concept. In that second argument the external concept is that “no truly good God would ask a follower of his to sacrifice his own son.” But from where is the objector getting his information about what a good God would or would not, or should or should not, do? Not from the Bible, not from Christian theology, therefore it is an external critique. And once we train ourselves to spot the kind of critique that an objector is making, we won’t be fooled into accepting the objector’s external arguments against Christianity without a sound basis for his moral judgments.

Why bring any of this up? Simply to show that in almost every case where an objection is raised against God’s goodness, the objector fails to launch an adequate argument. For some reason the objector seems to believe that he or she can simply say “God is evil” without showing where they get their idea of what is good and evil to begin with. Actually, the reason is quite simple. It’s very easy to state that God is evil without having to qualify that value judgment. What is much harder, on the other hand, is to say that God is evil and argue for that conclusion from a secular system of ethics. The reason being that no secular system of ethics can ever get off the ground. What ends up happening is the objector resorts to borrowing the Christian point of view in order to argue against the Christian point of view. But there’s a twist — the objector inserts his own definitions into his arguments from the backdoor. Let me explain.

One of the most common blunders that objectors make when they argue against God is they question God’s goodness using their own yardstick, their own understanding of what constitutes goodness – and then conclude that on account of God failing to meet their test that God is not good. But remember, the Bible doesn’t share their definition of goodness. So when they say something like “God is not good because there is suffering” — they’re substituting what they think “good” means apart from how Scripture defines it. As I’ve noted earlier, this is fine, it’s a valid argument, but not when the objector makes it seem like he’s exposing an inconsistency in God or Scripture. All the objector is doing is showing that his or her definition of goodness is different than the Bible’s.

(HT: Triablogue)

Related post

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Just for the sake of argument, let's say that all the data that evolutionists have claimed as evidence for their hypothesis actually does fit the hypothesis.

Paul C said:

worryingly the CSI reconstruction appears to reflect what we actually see today

Given that said CSI team has refused to listen to what the infallible eyewitness and performer of the creation incident has said about it and used its limited instrumentation, limited knowledge, limited wisdom, and limited methodology (not to mention disregarding its total lack of ability to observe what happened) to construct an alternative hypothesis, that you would find exactly what you were looking for (ie, anything other than evidence for a divine creation) wouldn't be surprising.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Disagreeing with the experts

Lui said:

I said that you IMPLY that you’re more well informed than the world’s leading experts, given that you so casually dismiss almost everything they say.

  1. Lui apparently thinks he can read my mind, that he could know that I "casually" dismiss what certain experts say. He doesn't stop to ask whether it took me a while to figure out what to do with their testimony. He doesn't inquire whether it was a struggle, whether it took me the years that it did take me, whether I encountered or thought of convincing counter-arguments that forced me to disbelieve their positions. Which is exactly what happened. I didn't start out as a Young-Earther, I was a hard agnostic/soft atheist who believed in evolution. Then I was a Christian who was only moderately informed in theology. Then I was fairly well-informed and an OEC/theistic evolutionist. Then I was wholly uncertain. I've only been YEC for about 2 1/2 years.

  2. Lui himself is guilty of precisely the same thing. Leading experts such as Alvin Plantinga, Cornelius Van Til, John Calvin, Alister McGrath, Thomas Aquinas, etc, all believe(d) in the God of the Bible. They are/were experts in their field - theology and the question of God's existence and identity. They are/were also much, much more intelligent men than Lui is. Yet here Lui "casually" dismisses them as wrong. My educated guess is that Lui believes he has encountered and made his own counter-arguments that are sufficient to overthrow these men's conclusion. Yet he calls ME out for disagreeing with experts.

  3. Experts are fallible humans also - do we all follow Bobby Fischer in his bizarre and near-psychotic anti-Semitism b/c he has a really high IQ and could kick all our butts in chess simultaneously?

  4. This "...constitutes an argument from authority, which according to Aristotle is the weakest kind of argument."
    (We now remove tongue from cheek.)

  5. Is this really a question of being well-informed for me? Have I corrected these men in their understanding of the machinations of evolution? Not at all. Rather, I have discerned in their positions biases and more fundamental errors (ie, errors in their presuppositions) that have caused them to misinterpret the data that they have viewed. In the case of the question of evolution, they have set out, as I have said before, to take the equivalent of a 1,000,000-year-old auto accident, to disregard completely the testimony of the 100% trustworthy eyewitness who actually made the whole thing happen, and to send a forensics (CSI) team to the scene to dig around and find scattered pieces of car and glass, 1,000,000-year-old grooves and scratches, and not reconstruct but rather construct what happened in opposition to what the witness says he made happen.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Empathy and morality

Probably the most important element of morality is the question of how one is supposed to treat other people. Christianity has a very strong and, actually, kind of easy answer to the question. I've discussed the Christian answer to that question before, so today I want to deal with a common atheist's answer now.

Martin at the Atheist Experience has echoed other atheists I've talked to in claiming that his basis for morality is "empathy, altruism and reason". Let's check those in turn to see how they actually perform as far as giving us moral standards by which we know how we SHOULD, or OUGHT TO, treat others.


I'll grant this - Reason can tell us how we should act in order to reach a desired end.
For example, I don't want to go to jail in my lifetime. There is a set of laws defining what is non-meritorious-of-jail behavior. I employ reason so as to know what will not land me in jail.
But reason can only go so far - it cannot inform a decision about what is good and what is bad. It cannot tell me what SHOULD be. It can tell me what IS and how to achieve desired ends, but cannot tell me what I should desire.
Reason is helpful when a moral system is already in place. I personally employ reason in order to help me understand how to apply the ought that I already know from a moral system outside of myself (Christianity).

If I desire peace with my fellow man, reason can inform my behavior. If I desire war with my fellow man, or to rape a child and get away with it, it can inform my behavior just as well as in the former case. Stated differently, reason can tell me what IS, not what OUGHT TO BE.

Empathy and altruism:

This sounds good at first, true. Or, I should say, it sounds good to modern, Western ears. One could certainly make the argument (as others have done before) that such values as intrinsic human rights and empathy (based on the Golden Rule) are in place in the West largely b/c of the pervasive influence of Christianity. Many other societies thru time have not held to these moral principles, but that is not the main point here.

The major problem for the one who would claim this position is that moral questions almost always deal with the question of how to deal with other people, or how to judge between actions done by one person towards another. Thus the 'empathetimoralist atheist' (EMA) begs the question. Here's why.

Timothy McVeigh stops his Ryder truck in front of the Murrah building, starts the timer, and leaves the area. You are a cop who've been sniffing him out, you know what's in the truck, you see him fiddle with sthg in the cab and then duck into the getaway car (driven by Iraqi soldiers, by the way). You now have a choice - exercise empathy for the innocents and children inside the building and disarm the bomb and apprehend McVeigh, or exercise empathy for McVeigh rather than for the innocents and children inside the building?

The EMA may answer alternatively: "But it's obvious! We can't harm people, especially innocent children."
"Harming people is immoral."
"Would YOU want to be blown up undeservedly?"

But that is a SHOULD statement. The EMA is begging the very question at hand - with whom SHOULD we have empathy? The criminal or the victim? Why SHOULD we label "harming another person" as "bad"?
More than once, I've asked these questions and gotten the response: "If you think that it's not self-evident that harming innocent people is morally wrong, I can't help you." Interestingly, that's as deep as any atheist has ever yet gotten with my line of questioning, and he ended it by begging the question mercilessly (and then bludgeoning it with a shovel).
He didn't answer it, nor did he attempt to. Nor could he answer how we can know that we SHOULD be empathetic towards the inflictEE of harm rather than the inflictOR.
The EMA has taken it upon himself to act like God and to attempt to impose his morality on others. It is as if he were on the mountaintop and wrote on the stone tablets "Thou shalt usually have empathy on the victim."
Of course, if atheism is true, there is no Lawgiver, and I have equal authority to the EMA. His pronouncements have no binding power on me. He prefers to have empathy for the children in the bldg. Maybe I choose to have empathy for McVeigh. If I were McVeigh, I wouldn't want to be caught, imprisoned, and executed! I should let him get away!

Or we might hear: "This does not contribute to an ordered and peaceful society."

Here the EMA retreats to his provisional "IF ordered and peaceful society is that which is desired, then we should act this way", but that also begs the question. Perhaps I have empathy for McVeigh's vision of society.
Given the bare and solitary criterion of empathy, I have no way to choose what to do. I'm reduced to instinct, gut feeling, my personal preference. Where have we heard that before?

This is pretty counterintuitive stuff, since most everyone in the West holds to an almost identical set of basic moral codes, but I'm asking you to think a little more deeply about it.
Here's the key to why the EMA is stuck in this rut: he knows deep inside that harming innocents gratuitously is objectively, morally wrong, independently of whether anyone believes it or not. It is viscerally disconcerting to him to think of murdering a child, or bombing a building. So, though his worldview provides for no way to know whether
1) to be empathetic toward the bomber
2) to be empathetic toward the victim
3) to be empathetic at all
is the right way to go, he chooses the one that feels the best to him and gets him closer to his goal - a peaceful, ordered society - without telling us whether it is possible to know whether such SHOULD be our goal.

In reality Christianity is true, and God has put this desire in people's hearts. "He has bound eternity in the hearts of men" (Ecclesiastes); "they show that the requirements of the Law are written on their hearts, their consciences alternately accusing, now even defending them" (Romans 2). The EMA has no evidence that it is truly the case that his moral dogmas are right for anyone other than himself. But he acts like they are b/c he is borrowing from a theistic worldview, where a transcendent Lawgiver exists and has given commands for people to follow. He rejects the Lawgiver but wants the Laws (airbrushed to fit his own desires, of course). This is a common human theme - we reject the Giver but want the gifts. We want His power but not His face. We want His mercy but not to strive to be worthy of it.

So the EMA has only a few logical, consistent courses of action open to him:
1) Repent of his sin and trust Jesus Christ as Savior, thus taking on the true foundation for morals as his own. This is the best option.
2) Stop making moral claims or requirements on anyone else. Also, stop calling actions "despicable", "reprehensible", "evil", "horrible", etc.

Making long chains of question-begging assertions and bluster is not one of those.

For further illustration of this point, see the Douglas Wilson-Dan Barker debate. Wilson follows this line of questioning aggressively and gets about as far as I got, only his opponent is a professional debater and atheist activist.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

At least the next President has a brass monkey

Can you even make this kind of stuff up?


A group of Indians are planning to present a statue of the revered Indian monkey God, Hanuman, to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The group decided to order the idol after they read a magazine report saying that Mr Obama carried a good luck 'monkey king' charm.

They say that a Barack Obama victory would be good for India.

Hindus revere monkeys which they believe are descendents of the monkey God Hanuman.

The two-foot tall, 15kg gold-polished, brass idol has been made as a present for Mr Obama because "he will be good for India if he becomes the next president," according to Brij Mohan Bhama, leader of the group.

Mr Bhama belongs to the ruling Congress party and also runs a textile mill in the western city of Mumbai.

'Monkey charm'

"We have heard that he carries a small monkey charm in his pocket. So he is a devotee of Hanuman. That's why we want to present him with this idol," he said.

Mr Bhama and his friends have also invited Carolyn Sauvage-Mar, chairwoman of the group, Democrats Abroad-India, to a meeting they are holding on Tuesday to pray for Mr Obama's success.

The Delhi-based group registers voters, sponsors events and occasionally hosts Democratic Party leaders visiting India.

Obama stands for change. We are hoping that he will bring about change so that oil and food prices come down
Brij Mohan Bhama

Mr Bhama is hoping that Ms Sauvage-Mar will pick up the idol and arrange it to be delivered to Mr Obama.

"They have invited me for the prayer. I am happy to go to bring best wishes to Obama," she said.

She said she would talk with the organisers and find out whether she would be able to help in shipping the idol to Mr Obama.

Ms Sauvage-Mar said the people organising the prayer meeting for the presidential candidate had possibly read a Time magazine article which mentioned that Mr Obama carried a "monkey king good luck charm".

"Senator Obama has a good luck charm. We don't know whether it is of Hanuman. But the people here think it is Hanuman," she said...

To those who have been wondering how to define "Christian" or "Christianity", here's a clue - this is neither.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hymenæus makes his return

Hmm, OK...
I've been accosted by a HyperPreterist, just like Adam Dada so long ago, probably b/c I commented over here...

Now apparently this commenter, Mr. EZE, did not read much of the debate that transpired between Adam and me, but here's a quick recap.

Point 1 - The Curse is not yet lifted
Point 2 - The Resurrection is inextricably linked to Christ's Parousia (coming)
Point 3 - Liars don't enter in
I'll add a Point 4 - if this is the Kingdom, the Kingdom sucks

Mr. EZE didn't ever deal with those points, but the night is young yet.

Mr. EZE,
Welcome! Given how quickly you posted this comment, it's obvious you didn't read any or any extent of the debate I had with Adam B Dada 14-15 months ago.

He came again, and received them unto Himself, so that where He was, they could be also.

Just look around you. Is this The Kingdom? Wow, if so, this sucks!

If Christ has not come, then we are still waiting to be where he is. (John 14:3,18,28)

Yes we are.

If Christ has not come, then we are still waiting for the plan of redemption to be fulfilled (Revelation 10:7, Ephesians 4:30)

Perhaps you've heard the term "the already/not yet of redemption".
The plan is finished, but it's not yet taken to its full extent in time. It WILL happen and all the elements except the appropriate timing are fulfilled.

Implication - Christ's death on the cross and resurrection are not enough for the redemption of mankind.
Here's just one reason why this is heresy.

If Christ has not come, then we are still waiting to be individually redeemed from our sins. (Luke 21:28, Colossians 1:14)

Luk 21:27 "Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.
Luk 21:28 "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

1) Oops, we didn't see the Son of Man coming in a cloud yet.
2) And of course, the Son of Man's coming is inextricably tied to the resurrection in the NT, and that hasn't happened yet either.
3) And "redemption" here doesn't necessarily have to mean the way EZE wants it to.

Col 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
Col 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Which speaks not at all to the timing of said redemption.
Try again.

If Christ has not come, then we are still in the "last days," 1900 years later. (Hebrews 1:2, Acts 2)

And? Is not a day as 1000 yrs to the Lord and 1000 yrs as a day (2 Peter 3:8)?
This is responded to here.

If Christ has not come, not one jot or tittle has passed from the Law. (Matthew 5:17-18)

Which it hasn't.

If Christ has not come, then some Christians are being quite aged. (Matthew 16:28, I Thessalonians 5:23; I Corinthians 15:51)

Mat 16:28 - and the Transfiguration happened the very next chapter. 3 of those men saw it.

1Th 5:23 - this is a prayer, not a prophecy. Did they also get sanctified entirely, so that they never ever sinned again?
Besides, God will restore our bodies to perfect wholeness at the time of the Resurrection.

1 Cor 15 - yes, we WILL all be changed. And we ain't changed yet. If this is the Kingdom, I want my money back.
If this is the Kingdom, is there sin anymore? Death? Redemption? Does preaching the Gospel matter?

If Christ has not come, then the charismata (tongues, prophecy, etc.) are still in effect. (I Corinthians 13:10)

Fine with me.
Not that I've ever seen, after 6 yrs in charismatic circles, those spectacular gifts exercised biblically.

If Christ has not come, then the dead are still waiting to enter into heaven, and, to this day, "sleep" in their graves, waiting to enter into his rest. (I Corinthians 15:20-23)

They're in Paradise, as Christ told the thief on the cross.
Neither are they unconscious.

If Christ has not come, then the Old Covenant is still waiting to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:13. 10:8-9)
If Jesus is still in the Most Holy Place (Heaven) and our sins will not be forgiven until he leaves. (Hebrews 9:23-28)

Are you completely unfamiliar with the context and point of Hebrews? It's referring precisely to the Old Covenant, which IS taken away in Christ. Yet it is His coming and sacrifice and resurrection that have ushered the New in, not His 2nd coming.

If Christ has not come, then we can still miss salvation after having been partakers of the Holy Ghost. (Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Corinthians 5:5)

1) For a HyperPret like you, there is no salvation.
2) You're misinterping Heb 6:4-6 badly. The psg says that those who fall away CAN'T COME BACK. So the choice is:
1. Believe that those who fall away once are screwed forever.
2. Believe that Heb 6 is not referring to a loss of salvation, and thus abandon it as a prooftext against eternal security.

2 Cor 5:5 is a point in my favor - the Spirit is a down payment, a promise, a pledge, of our future redemption.

If we say that Christ has not come, we are still waiting to be adopted as sons. (Romans 8:23)

Yes, we are waiting for the redemption of our BODY.

If we say that Christ has not come, we are still waiting for salvations. (Leviticus 16:17, Hebrews 9:28, Galatians 5:5)

I love it - you cite Leviticus! And a totally irrelevant verse, what is more.
Heb 9:28 - yes, "He WILL appear, to those who eagerly await Him." Can a HyperPret eagerly await Him? No, a HyperPret thinks He's already come and has toned down his expectations for what Christ's eternal Kingdom will look like in order not to want to kill himself out of despair. Where's the glory? Where's the freedom from sin and sinners? Why the persecution of believers? Why the sin I still struggle against every day?

If we say that Christ has not come, we are still dead in our sins.

Did you mean 1 John 4:1-2?

1Jo 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
1Jo 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the {spirit} of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

John wasn't writing after the Parousia, was he? No, not even according to you. And the whole point is to respond to Gnostics, who claimed (contra Dan Brown) that Christ was never a real man, that He was God only, not man also. Those who deny "Christ has come in the flesh" are antichrist. 1st Coming.

If we say that Christ has not come, then we make Christ a liar. (Matthew 16:27-28; Revelation 21:20)

Dealt with Matt 16 already.
Rev 21:20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.

I leave it to the reader to decide just how rational and coherent Mr. EZE is.