Menace to Society

This is a response to a blog entry warning youth leaders of the Assembly of God to watch out for me and my videos.

It’s called “Why The Kids in Your Assembly of God Youth Group May Not Really Be Saved” by David Shedlock and can be found here:

http://caffeinatedtheology.com/why-the-kids-in-your-assembly-of-god-youth-group-probably-aren%E2%80%99t-really-saved/

“he proselytizes not for his youth group or the Lord, but his most cherished belief: his atheism.”

Wrong: my most cherished *value* (not belief), is the pursuit of the truth, no matter what it is. That is what I am trying to promote with my videos.

“Here are eight fatal flaws in E3’s view of salvation.”

These “eight fatal flaws” are ludicrous. Why? Because you aren’t criticizing anything I *did* say about my Christian life. You are criticizing me for what I *didn’t* say. Your criticism rests on the assumption that just because I didn’t mention these beliefs, I didn’t have them.

In reality, I believed in every single doctrine on sin, repentance, and salvation you mentioned. I just didn’t mention these beliefs in the series because I didn’t know that I needed to. I assumed that since I SAID I was a Pentecostal Christian in the Assemblies of God, it would be pretty obvious that I believed in the basic tenets of repentance and salvation that all evangelical Christians believe in.

I didn’t know I had to lay it out for you that, yes, I obviously believed the basic doctrine of salvation from sin by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as told by the Gospel message that any 8 year old in the Assemblies of God could tell you about. I was trying to show the depth of my relationship with God beyond these basic tenets of salvation by focusing on the stories about speaking in tongues and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I have heard the Gospel message repeated hundreds of times throughout my life and so have most Americans. If you really think that you can brush away the very real problems with the Christian belief system by ignoring them and repeating the Gospel message one more time, you are mistaken.

You are right: your churches will become empty. Because the strategy of repeating the Gospel message over and over again to a society that already knows it by heart is empty and robotic. It’s like stubbornly using a hammer over and over again when what you need is a screwdriver. It is the wrong tool for the job. It’s tired, it’s overused, and it’s not convincing.

What our society needs is honesty. What our society needs is a real pursuit of the truth. What our society needs is real solutions. Regurgitating a dogma conceived by humans thousands of years ago in Iron Age Palestine is not what we need.

56 comments on “Menace to Society

  1. superjoe says:

    The caffeinatedtheology article is screaming “No True Scottsman” to me. To further illustrate your point, you didn’t specifically mention that you believed that Jesus told the parable of the eldest son. Hence you didn’t believe that Jesus told that parable, which means you don’t think the Bible is the word of God, hence you are not saved. Ridiculous logic.

  2. alen pasalic says:

    hey man,is there any way to get ur e mail, i am muslim who is in similar place as u are when god is in question…only difference is that i was never a believer,i am questioning god concept all my life…and we share a lot of opinions on this subject matter…

    if u ask, why would i give u my e mail, and it is a fair question, i would love to share some stuff with someone who actually is on the same level of thinking as i am…and i come from different religious background so it would be nice to see how we ended on the same path but in different circumstances…

    my e mail(if u decide to answer):alen_pasalic@yahoo.com

    best of luck.

  3. My favorite part of this article was the line:
    “a mortal enemy of God who would put God to death if he could.”
    He’s actually giving Evid3nc3 a lot of credit with that statement, all things considered… A true enemy of ‘God’ – yet he some how isn’t a smoldering pile of ash; gee I wonder ever to heatedly, as to why.

    A virulent, impotent, pile or rotten snot; good for entertainment value, and arguably nothing more.

    • A smoldering pile of ash only after he dies and goes to hell, keep in mind. Handy how God’s greatest rewards and punishments can be explained as happenstance or are outside the realms of perception. God operates under a strict code of deniability but still has you living in fear… oh my… God is a mobster, and somehow Evid3nc3 ends up being the bad guy to these people. That’s too fucked up for words.

  4. My favorite part was the footnote which said: “Can you picture two atheists hiding behind closed doors debating whether Calvinism or Arminianism is truly Biblical or whether or not infants should be baptized?”

    This is clearly someone who has not spent any time with atheists. My conversations about the doctrines of various theological stances and practices have been much more educated and elucidating than any I have had with mainline protestants.

  5. I’ve watched a few of your videos and read a bit of what you have to say. I must confess that I find myself agreeing with you on many points but not for the same reasons.

    I can’t say I support Mr. Shedlock’s article, but I think, in his defense, that his attack on the things you did not mention is reasonable. Let’s say you were trying to sell a car to me which you assured me works perfectly. To support your point, you then go into great detail about the paint job, the condition of the seats, the multiple functions of the car radio and so forth, without ever talking about any of the important parts of the car that make it run. My reaction would be to say that you haven’t done much of a good job trying to sell me your car. The paint job could be great, but if the engine doesn’t work, the car is useless. In the same way, if you claim to have been a real Christian, there are certain things that you should mention.

    Much of what you’ve noticed about Christian theology seems to be based on your experience of American Christianity. It’s well known in Christian circles that American society is filled with Christian ideology but it is often found to be empty in substance.

    A great concern which Christians have is that the substance of what Christ presents as truth is being largely ignored by people who claim to know God. They walk around talking about their beliefs and their feelings, but there is no real conversion or intimate relationship with God. The people I have met who, in my opinion, were truly children of God, were people who have met (and regularly meet) with God in an intimate, powerful and transformative way. Mr. Shedlock is right to point out the lack of repentance in your testimony because no one who meets God can do so without repenting for their sins. In fact, in the Bible, when people meet God, their first reaction is often to cry for mercy because the realize their own unworthiness.

    Now I can’t speak for you, I don’t have your experiences. But I would like to know why you are so quick to claim to have a been a ”true” Christian when your clearly state in your own testimony that you never really believed in some of the most basic teachings of Christ.

    To me, this is strikingly clear when you speak on prayer. At first, you present ”intercessory prayer” as a time you spend asking God for things. I expected you to move beyond this to something more scriptural but no. Your entire disillusionment towards prayer was that God did not respond to you in the same way as a Coke machine gives you coke if you insert coins into it. In all the time you spent considering your ”deconversion”, did you ever spend time thinking that God’s purpose for prayer might be more than for you to just ask for things? If you look at Jesus’ ministry in Scripture it’s clear that prayer had a completely different emphasis for him.

    Another point I find confusing is how you describe the earth-shattering effect that the reading of two seemingly contradictory verses produced in you. You describe yourself as someone who is intellectual and rational. At the same time, when you encounter a difficulty in interpreting the Bible, you almost immediately discount the Bible as being contradictory. This seems to me to be a very quick reaction. You say that the Bible, to you, was something that required ”very complicated explanations”. Now the Bible does have difficult passages that require thought and research, but is that any surprise if you (a 20th or 21st century American) are trying to interpret a document more than 2000 years old, written by 40 different authors, across 1500 years and in completely different cultural contexts? In any case, the two readings are easily explainable and, more importantly, they are not fundamental to what Christ did on the cross. Does it really matter if Judas’ death is a bit confusing when the Bible is absolutely clear about other more important issues?

    One last concern pertains to your ”No True Scotsman” fallacy. In the video link you provide for that fallacy, there is one colossal assumption that is made without any explanation. That is that the author of the video assumes that the definition of a Christian can be put into a few words found in a dictionary. However, when reading the Bible, it’s clear that there a myriad of characteristics which define the true Christian. Many of these characteristics may be lacking in someone and that person may still be a Christian. Also, many of these characteristics may be present in a person but that does not guarantee that that person is a Christian. Jesus even says that some will come to him and call him Lord and that he will answer ”I never knew you”. The Scriptures are clear that any person calling themselves a Christian should always examine themselves to see if they are the real deal.

    If in your own walk you have found that that is not the case, that’s fine. But don’t claim that you had attained the full measure of what it means to be a Christian and then discarded it, thus proving that you rejected the full package and not just your misconception of it. Most Christians I know come to realize that their conception of God was very small when they began in their faith and that, with time, they’ve come to realize that they were completely wrong about God on many subjects. But as they see more and more of God, the change in their thinking brings them a deeper understanding and wisdom of God’s character and not increasing disillusionment.

    I realize that these arguments are not complete but I would like to hear what you have to say about these things.

    • evid3nc3 says:

      First, you need to learn to use brevity when you respond to someone. Now, you may immediately get offended by me saying that. But the reality is, I don’t have time to read, let alone respond point-by-point to some stranger on the Internet writing a huge block of text. I don’t know anything about you. I don’t know how much of a huge waste of time it may be to respond to you. And I have been burned many times giving people the benefit of the doubt. So, if you want a response to anything I don’t respond to, you need to whittle this monologue down to 1000 characters or less.

      “In all the time you spent considering your ”deconversion”, did you ever spend time thinking that God’s purpose for prayer might be more than for you to just ask for things?”

      I sure did. In that precise video. But apparently you weren’t paying close enough attention to see it. At the end of the video, I made it clear that I used prayer as a means to learn God’s will.

      But let me go further with this. People criticize me for describing “intercessory prayer” as “coke machine” prayer. Well, that is exactly what INTERCESSORY prayer is. Do you know what the word INTERCESSORY means? Let me look the word up for you: “action of intervening on behalf of another”. The video was about prayer that is asking God to act for you. So how in the hell can you criticize me for focusing on the primary topic of the video? There is no other way to define intercessory prayer. At its essence, it is about asking God to do something for you. At its essence, it IS treating God like a coke machine.

      Now, as for “intimate relationship” and your accusations that I didn’t have one, you reveal your ignorance of the series again. I did clearly make a video called PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP. It’s the TITLE OF THE VIDEO:

      You may think this response is rude. But I have no patience and little respect for people who assault me with 1000 words of “correction”, yet don’t even have the patience and intellectual honesty to watch the whole series before thinking they are ready to give it a detailed critique. The very notion is absurd. You are like a book reviewer who only read the preface or a movie reviewer who only watched the trailer.

      A rhetorical question for you: if you haven’t watched the whole series, how can you possibly think you have enough information to critique it? How do you know that I haven’t already addressed your concerns later in the series? And an answer for you: YOU DON’T. And, with this “personal relationship” topic, I clearly revealed your prejudice.

      • Firstly, let me apologize for being too lengthy in my response to your blog post. I do tend to rant I’ll admit. However my purpose was not to overburden you but simply to address a few of the issues you speak of while spending enough time on each one so you could understand what I meant. Often, my experience has been that short sweeping answers to complex questions only bring confusion and misunderstanding between both parties. But no I’m not offended, and I understand that your answering me is a bit of a shot in the dark.

        Concerning your other videos, I did go watch your ”Personal relationship” videos. You must realize however that the format you chose for explaining your ideas is not the most compact or efficient. If it could be found in written form, it would be easier, in my opinion, to sift through it. Just like you, I’m not sure yet if I can devote 3 hours to listening to every part of your videos to make sure I don’t miss some crucial comment that would answer any of the arguments I make here. I’ve only assumed that each video contains the information pertinent to that topic and that it is fair to address the issues raised in it without having to bear the entire video library in mind. I imagined that it would be easier for you to answer me in a few lines or redirect me to one of your videos since this is your life we are talking about after all.

        Maybe you’ll allow me to reformulate my concerns about your prayer video. First of all, maybe my confusion with your depiction of intercessory prayer is that you mixed your personal requests into it. If intercessory prayer is really the ”action of intervening on behalf of another” then I suppose you should not have talked about your own requests right?

        Also, if you include personal prayer requests under the heading ”Intercessory prayer”, then to a certain extent, your seeking of God’s will for your life could also be included into that category.

        Your comments about God’s omniscience are correct but they do not contradict God’s desire for you to pray. In fact, Jesus states that ”Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8). In fact, it’s interesting to ask why Jesus prayed if he was already God and if God already knew everything that he would pray about. Did he need God’s direction? I don’t think so. I think two reasons why Jesus prayed was 1) because he was expressing his trust, confidence and submission to God the Father by making his requests to Him and 2) because he longed to spend time with his Father because he loved him and wanted to enjoy fellowship with Him. I believe we are to emulate that behavior and that out of that kind of faith towards God will flow intercessory prayer, personal prayer requests and discernment of God’s will.

        May I humbly ask if that was your personal experience of prayer to God? I’m genuinely interested in hearing your perspective on the matter.

        Hoping this was not too lengthy.

        • evid3nc3 says:

          No, my personal experience of prayer to God is in the Personal Relationship video I linked to above.

          Also, if you don’t think that intercessory prayer should include personal requests, then you contradict the very Bible verse you quoted ”Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8).

          You seem to not understand the point of the Prayer video. It is to show how verses like Matt. 6:8 contradict themselves (If God knows what you need, why are you asking for it?). Re-quoting the Bible verse doesn’t change that. You seem to not realize that Bible verses themselves are not a priori correct. They can be logically inconsistent and evidentially unsupported. It is your responsibility as a believer to argue how they are true and logically consistent. Simply reasserting something said in the Bible doesn’t make it true.

          And, yes, I am afraid that was to lengthy. I said 1000 characters and you posted nearly 3000.

          • But I think I answered that question with my example of Jesus’ prayer life did I not?

            Also, I did not say that I think that intercessory prayer should include personal requests. I was asking you why you included personal requests in intercessory prayer.

          • evid3nc3 says:

            Okay. So let me verify:

            “I believe we are to emulate that behavior and that out of that kind of faith towards God will flow intercessory prayer, personal prayer requests, and discernment of God’s will.”

            I believed this as a Christian. Done. So there you go: you were incorrect to think that this was something missing from my Christian life. You aren’t telling me anything new. You are telling me things I already believed as a Christian.

  6. So I’ve watched it again.

    You say in ”Personal relationships (Part 1)” at around the 8:08 mark that ”the only time I felt any kind of passionate fire in my life that was indicative of spiritual growth was when I talked to atheists. Because of this I became obsessed and devoted to speaking with atheists. It was the only time that I felt God’s authoritative voice, clear images, and deep passion return to me.”

    You say that the only way you related to God was by arguing about Him with atheists. Do you think that this best represents what Scripture describes as being a good relationship to God?

    I think that the relationship that the apostles had with Jesus indicates that relationship with God is more multi-faceted.

    • evid3nc3 says:

      OF COURSE I am not saying that my 17 YEARS of Christianity consisted solely of arguing with atheists.

      SERIOUSLY? You seriously believe that is what I was trying to say? What kind of crazy Christian do you think I was? What denomination is that exactly? You are bending over backward making some pretty insane and uncharitable assumptions about me.

      In CONTEXT, you would know that was only the state of my Christianity in 2004, when I met the Professor. If you had watched the whole series you would have known that.

      Listen: if you are unwilling to watch the whole series, consider yourself completely unqualified to make the types of critiques you are trying to make. You are unqualified to claim my Christian life was “missing things” unless you watch the series and verify that it was missing them.

      Right now you are showing quite clearly that you have no idea what kind of Christian I was. If you would watch the series, you WOULD know. It’s THAT easy. I made these videos for people like YOU. If you want to know the truth, watch them. If you want to comfort yourself with unjustified assumptions about my Christian life “missing things”, then don’t.

      • But that’s not what I said. I asked you if that sort of relationship you had with God is fully representative of what God wants for our relationship with Him. I did not say that it was your whole Christian experience. In the way you describe it, it seems that this was the result of many years of struggling with the idea of God and that this was the point from which you began to discount the idea of God. Although it does not represent your whole life, it seems to be a pretty pivotal and important point to discuss don’t you think?

        If I was married, and the only way I could relate to my wife after 2 decades of marriage was to argue with my friends about how great she was, wouldn’t you say that I would have to take a hard look at my marriage and see what was wrong?

        Finally, I’m trying to ask you simple questions to know what kind of Christian you are exactly because your videos are insufficient. I want to learn more but you are only getting angry when I quote what you say in your videos and ask you to clarify.

        • evid3nc3 says:

          The PROBLEM is: your questions demonstrate your ignorance of my series. I spent hundreds of hours putting the series together. My series probably already answers your questions. Yet you are asking me to put in even more time ON TOP of the considerable time I already spent to regurgitate the series for you personally. That makes me angry.

          Let me explain what the series is: it shows how, over time a person who, by all Christian standards, has a great relationship with God can progressively experience things that cause them to lose their faith. You are jumping in at the end of the series, completely ignoring the personal evolution that led up to it and trying to say I wasn’t a Christian in the first place. Well YOU wouldn’t know that would you? Because you didn’t watch the progression that led up to it.

          As for your wife analogy: if you had never seen your wife, claimed she was invisible, and had no way to demonstrate that she even existed, I could see how the relationship might degenerate to you arguing to other people that she was real.

          • Alright, I’m sorry if that makes you angry. I had some concerns about some of the claims you make in your videos (the professor does make some pretty large sweeping statements at times: ”In all of academia, we have found no reason to believe that God is anything more than a concept”. That is a straight up lie), and I genuinely thought that I could come on this blog to get clarifications about some of the statements you make. To some extent, I believed that if these videos are supposed to represent you, you would be concerned that they were an accurate reflection of who you are and would be willing to discuss those issues on a website devoted to that cause. I have more questions but I’ll leave you be if that is what you prefer, I’m not interested in making people angry.

          • evid3nc3 says:

            I’m definitely not interested in answering critiques of the series from someone who hasn’t even watched it, no. And if you continue to make critiques of the series without actually watching it, then, yes, I will continue to be angry. And I can detect very clearly that you haven’t watched it by the questions you are asking.

            ‘”In all of academia, we have found no reason to believe that God is anything more than a concept”. That is a straight up lie’

            Really? So you are claiming that we have discovered incontrovertible academic evidence for God? Have you contacted the press with this?

          • HOLYSHIT! Evid3nc3. I’ve never seen you get worked up. I like this…

  7. Ok. So if I watch the whole series (I’ve already watched about half), can I ask you some more questions? And when I ask questions, will you explain yourself or just say that I clearly didn’t understand the videos?

  8. That’s not what I claimed. What I am claiming is that it is not true that all of academia has agreed on saying that there is absolutely no reason to believe in the existence of God. In fact, many scientists and philosophers at least believe in the exist of a God and for some, God is a personal being that we can have a relationship with. So the professor’s statement is false.

    • evid3nc3 says:

      Here is what the Professor said:

      “In all of academia, we have found no reason to believe that God is anything more than a concept”

      That is true. Unless you are ready to present your incontrovertible evidence for the existence of God. That is what he was referencing. We have found no incontrovertible evidence of God. Not in physics, not in biology, not in astronomy, not in sociology, not in psychology. There is NO evidence. That is what this statement means.

      Now, do physicists and philosophers personally believe in God? Sure! But obviously they haven’t discovered any incontrovertible evidence for God or we would all be theists. For the same reason we all believe in the moon.

      • The problem here is that the professor made a large statement about ”reasons” and you have specified it to ”incontrovertible (scientific) evidence”. I’m not sure anyone in the world can make such a claim, but I’m certain that the academic world is more open to the idea of a real God than the professor supposes.

        Also, it’s obvious that physical, material science, with it’s physical, material tools cannot find proof of God because God is spiritual. If God exists, there is no tool in the world that can measure Him or analyze Him.

        In the end, one of the reasons why we have to be open to the idea of a real God is because we don’t have any proof that He does not exist either.

        There does however exist plenty of philosophical and historical arguments as to why God exists which you can find here for example: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=scholarly_articles_main

        I’ll get back to you on these things. For now, I have to stop neglecting my studies :)

        • evid3nc3 says:

          You are interpreting the Professor’s statement as meaning “there is an academic consensus that there is no God”. I think what he meant was “despite years of trying, the academic world has produced no incontrovertible evidence for God”.

          And, no, I’m not only talking about scientific evidence. I’m talking about any evidence that, under scrutiny, can stand as evidence for God.

          “Also, it’s obvious that physical, material science, with it’s physical, material tools cannot find proof of God because God is spiritual.”

          The same argument can be made for ghosts, Greek gods, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Do you believe in these? Also, I would argue that most conceptions of God contradict this claim. If God interacts with the physical world in ANY way (and most religions claim He does), then that interaction must in some way modify the physical world, leaving evidence. Otherwise, you are claiming that he can’t interact with the physical world.

          I’m aware of the logical arguments that people like William Lane Craig try to make in the absence of verifiable evidence for God. I will address such arguments in a later part of the series.

          “In the end, one of the reasons why we have to be open to the idea of a real God is because we don’t have any proof that He does not exist either.”

          Indeed, and I am always open to the idea of a real God. And I wait patiently for the evidence of such a God. Just as I wait for the evidence for trolls, ghosts, fairies, leprechauns, and greek gods. I’m quite aware that the existence of none of them has been disproven.

          • superjoe30 says:

            Regarding cannot prove that Yahweh / Zeus / Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist:

            Actually, we *can* prove that some of these things do not exist. The more specific claims that are made about these gods, the easier they are to disprove. There have been some very specific claims about Yahweh that are logically inconsistent and thus provably false.

            For example:

            …God is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4
            4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 corinthians 13

            Nahum 1:2
            A jealous and avenging God is the LORD;
            The LORD is avenging and wrathful.
            The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries,
            And He reserves wrath for His enemies.

            More details: http://www.truthfinder.org/node/20071/
            (If you want to join the TruthFinder private Beta send me an email)

            So we can say with certainty that this specific god does not exist.

            QualiaSoup has an excellent video which eloquently explains this concept:

          • evid3nc3 says:

            Right. But you aren’t really proving that Yahweh generally doesn’t exist. Just that a Yahweh fitting those specific descriptions can’t exist. But there is no saying that the Biblical writers didn’t just get him wrong.

            Example: let’s say someday there is a cult that worships me. They say, at different points in their scriptures:

            1. Evid3nc3 was always loving when he responded to commenters

            2. Evid3nc3 struck down Matteo with righteous anger when he realized Matteo hadn’t watched his series before critiquing it

            Those descriptions of me contradict. But their contradiction doesn’t mean that *I* never existed. Just that the writers described me incorrectly.

  9. To honest it’s actually kinda scary when you’re mad.

    • evid3nc3 says:

      Yeah. But you should bear in mind that kind of anger is reserved only for those who express the most extreme disrespect and ignorance. Matteo was:

      1) Psychoanalyzing me without even watching the series first

      2) Writing unsolicited posts that were upwards of 3000 words and implying I wasn’t open-minded and honest if I didn’t read and respond to them

      To me, that is a huge disrespect to my time. Both to the time I spent on the series and the time I have now. And my time right now is extremely limited. So I have no mercy for people who aren’t sensitive to that.

      The majority of people on this earth will never exercise such disrespect towards me and, therefore, will never experience such wrath.

    • evid3nc3 says:

      Glad you enjoyed the show when I did get worked up, though. lol

  10. In answer to Evidence,

    God has demonstrated His existence through physical means. I personally know a woman who was miraculously physically healed when she came to know Christ. I know many other people who have seen the same. On top of that, my own life has clearly been changed because of what God has done in my life and I can say the same about many other Christians that I know. And that goes without mentioning the evidence we have from Jesus Christ coming to earth and showing us himself that He was God.

    In answer to superjoe,

    Love and anger can coexist. The best example is that of a person who loves justice. A person who truly loves justice will become angry when he sees an abhorrent injustice happen. It’s a normal reaction. The way he behaves himself in response to that justice will determine if he truly is a loving person or not. In the same way, God is angry at injustice and He is angry at the sin in our hearts. But His reaction has been to send us His Son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. By dying on the cross, Jesus took all the wrath of God against injustice and sin and He put it to death. What better and more beautiful example of the union of justice and love?

    • evid3nc3 says:

      But you are ignoring that superjoe is correct about the contradiction in scripture:

      1 Corinthians 13:4 “[love] does not envy”
      Nahum 1:2 “A jealous and avenging God is the LORD”

      There are other apparent contradictions between the two passages but this one is straightforward and undeniable. Sure, a divine being can exist that is both loving and angry. But the scriptures DESCRIBING such a being screwed up here. This is a contradiction.

      I’m glad you are focusing on what you perceive as physical evidence for God. I will be addressing this as the series progresses. As you may have predicted, I have heard all of the claims you are making before, used to believe them myself as a Christian, and am no longer persuaded by them.

      • Again, I think this is simply a misunderstanding of God’s character. Another example: If you have a wife that you love dearly and that wife goes around and flirts with other men, would you not be jealous? In that instance, you would have a right to. The only time God says that He is jealous is when His own people, the people He loves and defended and gave all that He had for (which He describes as His bride), turn away from Him to other idols. To a larger extent, God is also jealous about His glory. It means that people (whom He created remember) who do not give God the glory He deserves for what He is and what He’s done are committing a massive injustice. It’s like if you gave your entire life and devotion and love to a child that goes off and hugs another adult and says to them: ”I much prefer you in the end”. Would you not have a right to feel hurt and betrayed? All in all, God stays ever loving even though we are constantly betraying Him, disrespecting Him, claiming He does not exist (whether in word or in deed), and not giving Him the respect He deserves. And I’m guilty of all those things. But God has told me He loves me nonetheless.

        • evid3nc3 says:

          The author does not say “love does not envy, except under certain circumstances”. The author says “love DOES NOT envy”. Again, I’m not saying a divine being cannot exist who is both loving and envious. I think it is quite reasonable for sentient beings in general to experience both love and envy.

          But the author of 1 Corinthians 13:4 doesn’t make this concession. So he clearly screwed up. He made an inaccurate, overly strong generalization.

          • Here the problem is that you are confusing envy, which is a desire for somebody’s else’s possessions or qualities, and jealousy, which can be envy, but which can also be a feeling resulting from someone’s unfaithfulness in the relationship. Do you honestly think that any author of Scripture thought that God was envious of anything we possess?

          • evid3nc3 says:

            Do you honestly think that 1 Corinthians 13:4 means: “it’s okay for a lover to be jealous in reference to their partner’s relationships; just don’t envy the possessions or qualities of someone you love”?

            You are clutching at straws. You are bending over backwards to redefine the common uses of “envy” and “jealousy”, as well as to suppress and warp the most straightforward interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:4. A neutral external arbiter would never accept this kind of reasoning. If it were on a Wikipedia page, it would have the label “The neutrality of this article is disputed.”

            In any case, you are inserting meanings that cannot in any way be inferred from the text of 1 Corinthians 13:4. My meaning (“jealousy is not compatible with love”), however, is easily the most reasonable meaning, directly supported by the text with no additional fudging or commentary.

          • superjoe30 says:

            Although I’m with evid3nc3 in spirit – that the Bible being ambiguous and hard to understand is evidence that it is written by man, and not God – I actually think that Matteo Miriello’s definitions of “jealous” are a valid interpretation in this instance.

            If we type “define jealous” into Google search, we get

            1. Feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages.
            2. Feeling or showing suspicion of someone’s unfaithfulness in a relationship.

            Clearly in the old testament, it is referring to #2. However I think in the new testament, it is referring to #1.

            http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm

            According to this document, the Greek word that comes out to “does not envy” literally translates to “is not boiling”. But NIV and this document use the cultural context to translate the word into the English word “envy” which according to Google is the #1 definition above.

            HOWEVER, this does not excuse the other ways in which God acts inconsistent with 1 cor 13:4. For example, keeping a record of wrongs.

            Colossians 2:14
            14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

            Hosea 7:2
            2 but they do not realize
            that I remember all their evil deeds.
            Their sins engulf them;
            they are always before me.

            Jeremiah 17:4: Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever.

            (See http://www.truthfinder.org/node/20072/ for more)

            Nor does it excuse the many, many other discrepancies with the entirety of the Bible, for example the fact that prayer doesn’t work, yet the Bible says it does. (See http://www.truthfinder.org/node/31068/)

          • evid3nc3 says:

            I have to disagree that there is any clear indication, from the text, that the NT version thinks #1 is unacceptable but thinks #2 is perfectly acceptable. Look at the flow of the passage. Allowing any kind of negativity towards the person being loved breaks that flow. I think it is pretty clear that it is meant to reject all such negativities.

            Also, look at the phrase “It always protects,”. How could a God exercising the wrathful vengeance associated with #2 in the OT be said to “ALWAYS protect”?

            So, no, I momentarily thought about giving the concession you are giving, but I still have to disagree. Even #2 is incompatible with the “Love is patient..” passage, ESPECIALLY given the way the OT God violently executes his responses to #2. There is nothing patient or protective about it.

            Again, the problem with 1 Corinthians 13:4 is that it is an overly strong generalization. An unrealistic “angelic” and idealized expectation on a sentient being.

            But please correct me if I am wrong: can you see any indication from the actual written context of 1 Corinthians 13:4 to support the idea that the author thinks jealousy of type #2 is perfectly acceptable?

          • superjoe30 says:

            For my own personal interpretation, I agree with you completely. In a debate, however, I would give this concession.

            I agree that there are (many, many) verses in which God violates “always protects” – but note that my concession is not “OK fine God is consistent with the definition of love in 1 cor 13:4”. It is, “OK fine the word jealous/envy in 1 cor 13:4 means envious of possessions or qualities, not as in a relationship.”

            So, no, I don’t think that the author thinks jealousy of type #2 is perfectly acceptable. But I think that he might not have *mentioned* jealousy of type #2. If he had thought of it, he might have included it, but he didn’t. Again, this isn’t the way I actually interpret it; it’s a concession I would be willing to make in a debate.

            So if he did not mention it, it would be putting words in his mouth to say that he would think jealousy of type #2 is not acceptable. I think you might be right; but he didn’t explicitly say that. So there isn’t a direct contradiction *for this aspect of love*.

            Again, there are other ways God violates this definition of love; you mentioned “always protects”, “patient”, and in my previous post I mentioned “keeps a record of wrongs”.

          • evid3nc3 says:

            Okay. I can accept that correction. You are correct that he doesn’t explicitly mention type #2. But also correct that “always protects”, “patient”, and “keeps a record of wrongs” are all contradicted by other verses.

    • superjoe30 says:

      > God has demonstrated His existence through physical means. I personally know a woman…
      > …the evidence we have from Jesus Christ coming to earth and showing us himself that He was God…

      You really should watch that video I linked above. QualiaSoup does a great job explaining why this is not valid reasoning, while remaining respectful to Christianity in general.

      So think about it from my perspective. I have never personally experienced a miracle like this. I have seen many weird, seemingly unexplicable things that turned out to have an explanation. Some guy on the Internet says that he personally knew a woman who was miraculously cured, and that he knows other people who have seen miracles. How could I possibly use this as evidence for the existence of the Christian God? It would be dishonest of me to do so.

      Think about this: There are thousands of Mormons, Muslims, other religions, who claim that they have seen miracles with their own eyes. Plenty of people who claim that GOD HAS SPOKEN TO THEM DIRECTLY. As this has never happened to me, why would I believe them? And if I did choose to believe, why would I believe YOU (or a Christian) as opposed to a Muslim?

      In short, personal anecdotes are NOT evidence.

      What evidence do we have that Jesus proved he was God? Note that the Bible is also a collection of personal anecdotes, arbitrarily put together and not entirely consistent. Once again, it would be dishonest to put faith in it. Why not put faith in the Koran or Book of Mormon instead?

      > By dying on the cross, Jesus took all the wrath of God against injustice and sin and He put it to death. What better and more beautiful example of the union of justice and love?

      I used to think this, even after I lost my faith. Recently I realized how actualy perverted and wrong this is. I actually think that being indoctrinated as a child that this kind of justice was good warped my sense of morality and I am just now recovering.

      So here are some obvious problems with John 3:16, which is arguably the most fundamental Christian verse.

      16″For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

      Problems:

      1. God is “sacrificing” his only son to himself. God doesn’t need to do anything to appease himself. He could just change his mind. He invented justice, after all, so he can do whatever he wants. He’s not limited by a greater concept of justice since he invented justice itself.
      2. If Jesus is God, then God is sacrificing himself. This simply does not make sense.
      3. Jesus comes back to life so it’s not really a sacrifice is it? Definition of sacrifice is “destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else”. Jesus wasn’t destroyed or surrendered, because he came back to life.
      4. Jesus did not pay the price for our sins. If we don’t believe in him, we go to Hell, which means eternal torture. Jesus will spend eternity in Heaven, which is eternal paradise. At which point exactly did he “pay the price” for our sins?

      This video does a good job giving a new perspective to the “justice” of Christianity.

  11. Just for info, Muslim never ever talk to God by himself except some of the prophets, Moses and Muhammad. If any Muslim say he talk to God, he is moron – He is no more Muslim. There have miracles coming from God, but it doesn’t mean all is coming from God, it may coming from Devil or science which we do not yet discover.

    I think evidence video is coming from criticize thinking toward Biblical that are confusing. Churches doctrine is clashing with Bible itself.

    I especially like the way he describe God which is One, infinite, creator, and etc. http://hifzanshafiee.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/god-of-islam/

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” can also be describe God love his servant, then he sent his son (prophet) to guide people, whoever obey and submit to God will be guided and life in Heaven (which is eternal).

    In Bible where got Jesus claim to be a God. He ask to bow down to Father. The video “Why I am no longer a Christian” is clearly showing something wrong with Christianity doctrine. He just finding his God as what Abraham does. http://hifzanshafiee.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/abrahams-childhood/

    • superjoe30 says:

      “If any Muslim say he talk to God, he is moron – He is no more Muslim.”

      So what about Muhammad? He was a Muslim who said that he talked to God. Are you calling Muhammad a moron?

      Why would you believe Muhammad that he really did talk to God?

      • May be you missed my quote “except some of the prophets”. Prophet is different, they are a chosen man among human, a man with honor, dignity, love.

        Even I said Muslim cant see God, it only on earth. In Judgement Day, we will see God to be judge either Hell or Heaven.

        If Moses and Adam have talk to God, so why cant Muhammad? It was nothing impossible to God, if he can created Universe, why he cant destroy it and remake it again for Judgement Day?

        If he can do that, to forgive human being is a matter of peanut. The problem is; did human repent to him? That another criteria of God, Merciful.

        God is Almighty, he not required human (Jesus) to be a mediator between human and Him.
        How many times Bible said ” Fear God” to gain wisdom.
        How many time Jesus said follow 10 Testament.

        No body care about that verse.

        • superjoe30 says:

          Neither Moses, nor Adam, nor Muhammad talked to God.

          Why is Muhammad so special? Why is he different, chosen? More importantly, how do you *KNOW* that God talks to him? If *I* told you that I am a prophet; since I have honor, dignity, and love, I am a chosen man among humans, and that God talks to *ME*, you wouldn’t believe me. Yet you believe Muhammad. Why?

        • Talk?
          When we said talk it is not something human to human talking, then you are very wrong. Christian think God is like human form, they think God talking like in mouth. There was no creature like God. You cant imagine Him.

          Muhammad declared him as prophet, no one belief him, but no one either said he is liar. They (pagan) think he is moron. In his entire life, he never lie, anything come out from his mouth is truth. That why pagan arab give a title to him Al Amin (The Trustworthy) before him become a prophet. Later in his life all tribe of Mecca and Medina believe in him.

          How many prophecy from Quran & hadith have been fulfill. Prophecy of Rome and Persian to be capture have been fulfill long time ago. If we make comparison today, a small tribe in desert try to attack Europe and America and win.

          That just one prophecy of many other prophecy. Too much coincident to make it unreasonable.

          There was no single ideology that make such big contribution to world except Islam.

          • Visitor says:

            “There was no creature like God. You cant imagine Him.”

            Then by that logic how can you even KNOW what someone says about him is the “truth”?

            “How many prophecy from Quran & hadith have been fulfill. Prophecy of Rome and Persian to be capture have been fulfill long time ago. If we make comparison today, a small tribe in desert try to attack Europe and America and win.”

            But they haven’t won. American and European forces are still in the Middle East. Besides, when was Rome ever captured?

            “There was no single ideology that make such big contribution to world except Islam.”

            I disagree. Science has made great contributions to the world like vaccines which have saved millions of lives. Besides, as far as I’m aware, it was a non-muslim researcher who discovered vaccines.

          • I only provide the one that most significant only. Others you can make your own studies, if not I will writing a long comment here.
            My opinion is when the capital of Rome, Constantinople is being capture (now Istanbul) and the kingdom have now no more existed. Your opinion may differ from myself.

            Science is not about vaccines only, and it is not belong to anyone. Today, it may lead by Europe and America, but it never being owned by anybody. The scope of science itself is too wide.

            Regarding God, just forward the message to this post http://hifzanshafiee.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/god-of-islam/
            It not proper to talk here.

          • Visitor says:

            Just wondering, why is it not proper to talk here?

          • Why it not proper? Because this is not my blog, here is not a Q&A about Islam and it is very lengthy and I think my link provide to you is sufficient to answers the question.

            Because Muhammad pbuh is a man who illiterate, living in a middle of desert, surround by pagan, calling for one faith, one God. He is being called al-Amin (trustworthy) before he becomes a prophet, why he would lie? His early follower is slaves, minority, and weak citizen, but later become a strongest faith and keeps growing. He, himself is being inspired by 2nd largest religion in the world. Unlike other faith’s book, Quran is read by his entire follower who believes in Allah. Quran being remembered word by word by more than 1million people, we called it hafiz. If today, all books in this world were being burned, Quran still can be reproduced in original content again. His journey is being recognized by Gandhi, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, & etc. He is no1 leader in TIME magazine leader ranking superseded other leader such Gandhi, Lincoln, Napoleon, Chinese Emperor, Buddha, Dalai Lama, Jesus. His quote (hadith) is the largest in world today. With aid of video, photo and etc, still there was no single human that can surpass him yet.

            If you do not believe him, he still deserves recognition as one of world’s great leader. Many would see Islam as a religion only and they read Quran like they read others book. Muslim sees Islam as an ideology, faith, laws, religion, knowledge and social engineer. This is not a religion that people can take it lightly.

          • Visitor says:

            “I think my link provide to you is sufficient to answers the question.” Well, I’ve read it, but I don’t feel that it did. If you can’t imagine(conceptualise) something, you have no point of reference with which to assess someone’s claims about something, thus the only thing you would have to go on is their word, which isn’t usually the best way to ascertain things about reality. Now before you say something like “What do you want, a picture of God or something?” let me just say that my issue was not that nobody, including you, has been providing “pictures of God” as evidence, but that your particular comment didn’t really make much sense to me. Perhaps in hindsight it was a minor issue but I come from an Atheist-Materialist background, so I’m still often bothered when religious people make specious-sounding statements.

            “Because Muhammad pbuh is a man who illiterate, living in a middle of desert, surround by pagan, calling for one faith, one God. He is being called al-Amin (trustworthy) before he becomes a prophet, why he would lie?” Well according to what I’ve read(which is based on one of Muhammad’s earliest biographers Ibn Ishaq), he wasn’t just “calling for one God” but actively antagonizing those around him(including his own tribe) by insulting and belittling their faiths. Muslims often talk of how much Muhammad and his followers were being “persecuted” by the pagan Meccan Arabs, but the things that I’ve read make clear that these so-called acts of persecution were never enacted without provocation.

            As for being called “trustworthy”, well, he certainly ruined that reputation through actions such as making a military alliance with Medina against the Meccans whilst he was still living among them! The justification for this which is usually given is the aforementioned “persecution” which had taken place, which is only valid if you ignore what Muhammad and his followers had done and said to provoke the Meccan Arabs.

            “Unlike other faith’s book, Quran is read by his entire follower who believes in Allah.” Yes, if by “read” you mean taught to recite it in Ancient Arabic, which neither they, nor anyone else who is not a Quranic scholar can readily understand. Plus, those translations which ARE in languages which might be readily understandable by the common believer(especially English, I have noticed) are denigrated as “corrupt” and “unreliable”, thus handing over the power of understanding and ‘correct’ interpretation to the aforementioned Quranic scholars(mostly Mullahs and Imams). How is this a fair arrangement? How are believers in Islam supposed to properly evaluate their beliefs if they cannot readily understand the words they are saying without the ‘help’ of a Mullah or an Imam?

            “His quote (hadith) is the largest in world today.” I don’t know, Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba’s oral “discourses” are pretty large in volume.

            “With aid of video, photo and etc, still there was no single human that can surpass him yet.” I’m not entirely sure what you mean by this.

            “If you do not believe him, he still deserves recognition as one of world’s great leader.” Only if you approve of his questionable actions, such as asking his followers to “deal with”(kill) three different poets who wrote unflattering things about him(does such an action justify murder?) and telling a man who tried to choke him with his own cloak(not without provocation) that his children would be looked after by “hell” and letting his followers slaughter him. Such actions are not necessarily the actions of a “great leader” unless your definition of “greatness” is an uncompromising person who will do whatever he sees fit to beat and frighten people into submission without necessarily having a good justification for it.

            “Many would see Islam as a religion only and they read Quran like they read others book.” People are free to see Islam and the Quran in whatever way they choose. They don’t need your or any other Muslim’s permission to do otherwise.

            “This is not a religion that people can take it lightly.” Yes, I’m sure it’s followers don’t take it lightly, neither do the people who experience aggression and violence from its members either.

          • When I read your last statement. I think it was a wasting of my time to reply it, so I don’t need to defend it because what I ever I said to you, you already have your own definition.

            “People are free to see Islam and the Quran in whatever way they choose. They don’t need your or any other Muslim’s permission to do otherwise.”

            So, it your choice, you don’t want to believe it, still it your brain, not mine. People can think what ever they want to believe. I don’t have nothing to lose.

          • Visitor says:

            “I don’t have nothing to lose.”

            And neither do I. The fact that you don’t have any refutation to the points I have made mean that they still stand in my view until I encounter a logically sound counter-argument.

      • As earlier I said, thing like this going to take a long debate. There have an open discussion blog just to debate with who ever you concern,- http://thedebateinitiative.com/

        To make it short, People are rejecting our prophet, the was a death threat.So Medina have ask for his help, what offer is better. Still he is not an angel, he is human (I think all Muslim notice this thing). What do you expect, thunder and bolt striking Mecca?[Say, “I am only a man like you,… Quran 18:10]

        If you think English translation not good enough for you. Go back to original, that how we do. My mistake last time it was 10million (not 1m) who can remember in Quran. If you think they are wrong then challenge them, if they not accept may be you name is too small. Or can I say anonymous.

        As I said this going to take a long debate. If you want to debate go to that link. They can provide you a long a speaker for free and they are welcome you.

  12. Julian Keith says:

    Stumbled on your video series yesterday. Ironically, it appeared over on the side of the youtube panel when I clicked on a link of a video made by a christian apologist that a fundamentalist friend of mine sent to try to reconvert me. I watched the entire series yesterday and enjoyed it immensely. It really is a very high quality body of work. It is thorough, honest, and scholarly. Though we have never met, you and I have hiked many of the same trails and reached the same vistas. I went to college in 1978 with the firm intention of becoming a minister, majored in religious studies, became interested in philosophy and psychology, and ended up with a Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience. I have been a university professor for 21 years and have had many exchanges with students over the years that remind me of the sort that you had with the linguistics professor. The next time I teach my course on the psychology of religion your video series will be on the syllabus. Thank you for what you are doing here.

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