Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Amber Strikes Back

This is a follow up to the article titled The Fruit of Believing a False Gospel and Refusing Answers

Amber responded to that article with an article of his own.

BEFORE I START: This is written very quickly as I am preparing a teaching package for a weekend conference. The grammar will, without doubt, be horrendous. If this means to you that I am not to be taken seriously then laugh all you like. Just don't think this gives you an excuse to disbelieve in God.

Amber's description of me is amusing. I would be surprised if the two of us could not be friends (of some sort) in real life. He complains about my use of " LOL!!!!" which was a reaction to absurd tweets of his over our conversation of a few days. It apparently had the intended effect.

Amber's first premise is that he, as an Atheist, IS interested in evidence. This is of course in opposition to my premise that this is not the case. The speed with which Amber was able to answer the multitude of evidence sources I offered belies the truth of the situation. Amber isn't interested in evidence, he is skilled at finding things that claim to be refutations of evidence. It is not physically possible that Amber evaluated very much of the evidence I shared with him at all and also evaluated whether the sources he cites were actual refutations of the evidence provided. He simply searched his resource for things that claimed to be refutations.

This is not the behaviour of one who is interested in evidence at all. This is the behaviour of protectionism. This is the behaviour of one who is desperate to maintain the appearance of being correct, not the behaviour of one who wants to know the truth.

Amber then responds to my assertion that he was not in fact born again. He first says that I was correct in my assessment but then later writes as if he disagrees with me. The fact is that being "born again", or regenerated, is a meta-physical change that happens to those who believe the Gospel. If Amber thinks this does not actually happen, then he must agree that he was never actually born again.  Though his conversion story did not include any details that remotely relate to the Doctrine of Salvation, Amber now (after having read the linked article) includes information that at least in spots does line up with what Scripture says. It is however easy to answer a question when you know the "right" answer to give. 

Amber then brings up his dislike of how God handled the Canaanites. He claims that God ending a civilization that practiced the laying of babies and young children on heated metal idols to cook them to death as being an evil act by God.

Amber says that there are things that context cannot fix. I do not see anything broken. If you have trouble with God punishing those who cook babies to death then I think that speaks of you more than it does of God.

Amber then talks about how he doesn't accept that we are depraved from birth. He doesn't like my challenge to find a perfect man... So I'll lower the standard for Amber, just for Amber though... because I like him. One wonders if my repeated use of three periods in a row also bugs Amber. Hrmm?

Amber, find a child who had to be taught to lie, cheat, steal, be violent, and so on... The truth is if a 2 year old had the strength of an adult we would have to lock him or her up to protect society from the menace. 

Amber then takes issue with my response to him about the Atonement that Christ accomplished with His death, burial, and resurrection. 
Kevin missed the point of the injustice I tried to highlight in this section, so I’ll state it more plainly. Consider two men. One is an old man who spent his entire life causing serious harm: rape, murder, the worst of the worst. The other is a normal young man in his twenties that tried, and succeeded, to avoid causing serious harm. Now, the old man becomes a true Christian, dies and gets rewarded. The young man does not become a true Christian, dies, and get punished. That is devoid of justice.
The old man's sin was fully and completely paid for. Justice was served for it. The young man's harm, no matter how insignificant it is to a man who is hardly even aware of it remains unpaid for. Just like in our justice systems here on Earth - if the fine is paid you go free, if it isn't you go to jail.

You may not think that a lie is a terrible thing, but Amber you are in danger of eternal judgment because you refuse to take the salvation that is freely available to you, and why? Because you choose to believe lies. You may not think lies are serious now, but like the rich man who found himself in Hell there is coming a time when you will take them very seriously. There is coming a time when you would do anything to have someone warn the people you love. The staggering answer to that desire will be no different than what the rich man heard: they have all the evidence they need, if they refuse it they are themselves responsible. Luke 16:19-31

Next for Amber is the doctrine of Heaven and Hell. He does not seem to appreciate my interaction with the subject. He quotes an analogy of mine, and claims to like it. One assumes that he likes it because he feels he can insert the following into it:

Perhaps the analogy is weak due to the missing context. For it to be a better reflection of what is actually going on, we must consider the following: 1) the judge wrote the law himself, 2) the judge made the law impossible for anyone to follow, 3) the judge created the criminal organisation [SIC] in which the law-breaker was born and raised, and 4) the judge is the father of the law-breaker.
1 - yes the Judge wrote the Law Himself. You know what a Law does? It informs the potential Criminal of what is disallowed, and what the cost of violation is. God didn't just write the knowledge of Good and Evil in a book, He wrote it on your heart Amber. When you do evil you know it is evil. Because God has done this for you, you are without excuse. Romans 2:12-16

2 - The Judge Himself came and lived as a man and fulfilled the whole Law. The Law is not impossible to keep. It is impossible for an evil man to keep God's Law.

3 - The Judge did not create the evil organization. God created Man in His own image. Man had the freedom to live in innocence or to try to live by his own standards. Man choose his own way because the Devil lied to him. The very first murder in all of History was perpetrated with a weapon known as a lie Amber. Man was created innocent and free. Man choose evil and bondage. Have you chosen any differently Amber?

4 - the Judge is not the father of the law-breaker. The law-breaker is the child of Satan. John 8:37-47

Amber says:
In other words, the judge is responsible for the unfortunate situation that the law-breaker finds himself in.
Nope. The Judge is responsible for providing the only way out of this unfortunate situation. He didn't have to. He didn't cause the problem. He is the like the earthly father, who is also a judge let's say, who lets his son drive the family car after making sure the son knew the rules. The son goes out and breaks the rules and finds himself in trouble with the law. The father didn't get the son in trouble with the law. The father is a judge and responsible for the law (I am TRYING to follow Amber's attempt at rebut...), and responsible for the existence of the son, but he is not responsible for the son's law-breaking: THE SON IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OWN SIN.

Amber complained about how terrible it was to put the sins of the father on the son in his previous article. Isn't interesting how he thinks it is OK to put the sins of the son on the father though.

Amber then claims that I overstated his suffering. Perhaps, but I doubt it for some reason. No, not because Amber is a pathological liar, but because IMO his responses come from pain and emotion not rationality.

Yet he makes a very true statement: 

I now think that Christianity failed me, and that Christianity fails full stop, but as a Christian I never once thought this.
I believe, strongly, in the corruption of the Christian testimony; how that the Church Which is His Body, will loose its testimony to worldliness and false doctrine more and more over time. The false Christianity that Amber was exposed to cannot help but fail. He notes many things about different denominations, and one cannot argue. Christendom (all people who think they are Christians or call themselves Christians) grows more and more evil daily.

Amber moves on to say that my assertion that he hates God is false. He says he hates religion and whatnot... I'll let Amber's own testimony speak for itself. OK I'll add one thing. If Amber truly hated all the things that he claims to hate he would argue against those things, not against God.

Under the title of "The Joys of Atheism" Amber quotes the late Christopher Hitchens. 

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way” – Christopher Hitchens
Yet when he offers answers to the evidence I shared with him he doesn't once think for himself. I doubt he even looked at all the evidence I shared. I know that I gave him more than he could have physically viewed in so little time, let alone honestly evaluate them.

No, instead of thinking for himself Amber did what all people are prone to do. He received a challenge and searched his resources for any potential answer to the challenge. Christians do this too. There is even wisdom in using someone else's answers, but ONLY if you have carefully evaluated them to ensure they are actually reliable (they address the real arguments, and the actually rebut them.... among other criteria).

Amber is far from the first Atheist I have ever interacted with. It would be wrong for me to paint him with the same brush (as it were) but I can comment that his argumentation is not unique or remarkable. I am not trying to be dismissive, I'm trying to be real. However, this may be a distinction without a difference.

Under the title "Historically Accurate" Amber demonstrates his ability to inaccurately quote those he disagrees with and then argues against the strawman he created instead of what I wrote. I'm going to quote almost this entire section. 

Weirdly, Kevin lists historians of the time—Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Julius Africanus, Origen, and Pliny the Younger—in this section on Daniel’s prophesy. All of these historians were born after Christ’s supposed crucifixion, so I’m not sure of the relevance. Unless Kevin is saying that they specifically reference Daniel’s prophesy, which I highly doubt. 
Kevin also claims that all historians at the time wrote about Jesus. Let’s forget about the fact that none of them were even born before Jesus died. The more pertinent question is why were there not hundreds of historians, during Jesus’s lifetime, documenting His every word and action, to prove his historicity? Why have a handful of scholars write about him after he had died?
Here is what he is talking about:
Extra Biblical References to Jesus at this TimeJosephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Julius Africanus, Origen, and Pliny the Younger.
Not just some of the historians, but every one of them that wrote about this area at this time.
I didn't say that these ancient historians lived at the time of Jesus but that they give reference to Him there at that time. In fact they do confirm the Biblical record. Here is ONE article and ANOTHER article which goes into deep detail about these things.

Instead of dealing with the fact that every ancient historian writing about this period and area puts Jesus there and then doing the things that the Scriptures say He must do, and actually did Amber chooses to distort what I said and argue against his distortion instead of the actual substance of the claim. If there was only a term for that kind of behaviour.

Amber offers several links to failed prophecies from the Bible. I've looked at these things before. Should I say that you said something that didn't happen and so you are a failed prophet I would have to be sure that's what you said not just what I said you said. I'm not sure I've ever said the word said that many times in my mind ever before, as I just said it.

*Update: It should be noted that I did not examine each of the links Amber provided on the subject of failed prophecy in the Bible, even though I have commented on his use of them. Keeping with the subject of Daniel it is irrefutable that the book was written prior to the events it describes and that it accurately describes those events including the (future at the time of the writing) history of the Gentile world. There are some 300 prophecies of Christ many very specific and some typological which were written hundreds and thousands of years before He lived here on Earth which were fulfilled. There are yet future events still in prophecy which have not yet happened. Some call this a failure by default, but the Scripture is not silent on the order of events so it is clear there is no failure. Twisting the Scripture to make it say what it does not and then showing how that failed is not a valid form of argumentation. I don't know if that is the tactic all the links Amber shared take or not, I did not visit them all. However, this is the pattern and my response to Amber was not intended to include refutations of all his links.  If my main premise - that Amber is not interested in evidence after all - is correct (and I believe it has been shown to be so) then spending time and effort on this would simply be a waste. I already know the answer and the answers are freely available for anyone who will look past their atheistic sources.

Amber disputes the heptadic structure of the Scriptures. They are freely available for anyone to look at. Ad hominem against Chuck Missler doesn't invalidate the fact of how the Scriptures are written. I challenged Amber to produce a similar document. I guess he choose to insult Chuck instead.

Amber says that "many of" The Scientific Facts and Concepts in the Bible which were written hundreds and thousands of years before they were "discovered" are unconvincing because they are not specific enough for him. Does this mean that some where specific enough? Interestingly Amber chooses the weakest example to attempt a rebut and even this weak point he is only able to describe as unconvincing to him.

Under the title "No Contradictions" Amber writes:

I made the claim that even if all contradictions could be solved satisfactorily, Christians must, at least, agree that the bible is ambiguous.
The Bible is not ambiguous, as I demonstrated in the previous article. Strangely though he then accuses me: 
Lastly, I submit that Kevin himself is bigoted towards gay people, and uses the bible as justification. The evidence for this is the fact that he recommened that I read the divisive book, A Queer Thing Happened To America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been, by Michael Brown.
Ad hominem aside... I am "bigoted" because I recommended a book that explains how the popular opinions of the public in North America were manipulated? Yes Amber, I link to a dictionary because words have meanings. I know that you enjoy using Dawkins' redefinitions of Atheism and Agnosticism, but I tend to use the plain meanings of words. At least as much as I am able to do. How am I being intolerant of anyone by linking to that book?

Amber is not sure if the manuscript evidence I cited for the New Testament is accurate or not. Here ya go Amber. You can make up stories about how the Text has changed all you want, but I can simply look at the manuscripts and see that it has not.

Amber then gives a number of links in response to the links I provided. You can look at them if you like or not.. it doesn't matter to me. The evidence for God is plain and on display. You can spend your life trying to find ways to ignore it, or you can open your eyes. It's truly up to you.

In conclusion I stand my my previous assertions. Amber was never really Born Again (regenerated), or if he was (and perhaps he was given his late testimony) he was born among the thorns and was choked out by religion instead of being nourished. Mat 13:5-6 I don't think this is the case, but it is possible. Further I stand by the assertion that Amber is not interested in evidence. He did not even consider the evidence I provided him, though he did read at least some of it.

Amber finishes with:

Lastly, in Kevin’s conclusion he said something that saddened me, “I will not be debating, or allowing the debate of, the existence of God. There is no debate, and I won’t blaspheme God by pretending that there is.”Certainty, and the refusal to even evaluate answers, should sound alarm bells. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Do so always, and do not stop.
I am able to critically examine all things without having to endure endless insult by those who have no intention of doing likewise. If an Atheist were to say that they don't believe that God exists but that they want to explore the possibility I would work with that person to see that they had the opportunity to evaluate the evidence. Letting people post links to things they have not carefully considered themselves, while they expect me to rebut every word of it is not reasonable.

Further, there is no debate. I know for a fact that you, Amber, are aware that there is a God and that you know many things about Him. Go make a blog about how you don't believe in purple squirrels and I'll take you more seriously.

You say that people don't claim that a purple squirrel exists so you don't blog about that. Well, isn't it interesting that you don't have some title that says you disbelieve people's claims, but instead you choose the title Atheist. You talk about God and your denial of Him. Your hate for Him, your focus on Him, and the effort you invest in all of this belies your true motives. 

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