Tag Archives: Bible

Bible Test for False Gods

With so many religions in the world, and people worshiping so many different deities, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to determine which gods were real and which were false?

Imagine you find yourself in a city where the people worship two gods, how could you go about proving which of them, if either is the real “God?”

Well, if you believe in the Bible, the answer is simple. The Bible lays out a specific solution to this very problem. In 1 Kings chapter 18 Elijah comes to a town where the people worship Baal and the LORD. Elijah tells the people they need to figure out which is the real God and worship him, whether it’s the LORD or Baal.

“How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21)

Elijah didn’t simply assert the validity of his god, he didn’t simply tell people to pray about it. He needed to demonstrate that the LORD was real and more powerful than Baal. So, he devised a test for both gods.

Elijah suggested that he and the prophets of Baal both offer a sacrifice to their deity. They will both choose a bullock and place it upon the altar but place no fire underneath. The god who can light his own altar will be considered the real god.

“And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answerth by fire, let him be God.” (1 Kings 18:24)

In the Bible story, Elijah allows the prophets of Baal to go first. They pray from morning until noon. When Baal still hadn’t answered their prayers, Elijah mocked those who prayed to him saying they needed to pray louder because their god must be talking, traveling, or possibly sleeping.

“And when it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.” (1 Kings 18:27)

The prophets of Baal prayed louder and started flagellating themselves until they were bleeding profusely. They prayed all day until the time of the evening sacrifice, however, Baal still did not answer their cries.

“And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, not any that regarded.” (1 Kings 18:29)

Then it was Elijah’s turn. He built an altar out of 12 stones and dug a trench around it. Then he placed wood and the pieces of the bull upon the altar. Next, Elijah had the people dump barrels of water on the altar and the wood until it filled the trench surrounding the altar.

“Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood. And he said, Do it a second time. And they did it a second time. And he said, Do it a third time. And they did it a third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.” (1 Kings 18:33-35)

Now, it was Elijah’s turn to pray. He only needed to ask once, the LORD answered immediately.

“Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:38)

The people were instantly convinced.

“And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.” (1 Kings 18:39)

It should be a simple matter to prove that your god is “the God.” If your god is able to light a fire based on your prayer alone then it is a real god, if not, it is a false god.

If a Christian wants to prove their God is real, hand them a match and ask them to pray to the LORD to light it. (They can even dunk it in water first if they want. You can even offer to taunt them and mock them like Elijah did to the prophets of Baal when their God didn’t answer.) According to the Bible, if the LORD is unable to  light the match then he isn’t a real god.

I have never yet had a Christian take up the challenge. Which means the prophets of Baal had more faith in their “false god” than the Christian has in the “real God.”

Christians refuse to take up the challenge because, regardless of how much faith they claim to have, they KNOW their prayer will not be answered. They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the LORD will not light the match. It doesn’t matter how fervently they pray, their prayers will go unanswered, just like those of the prophets of Baal.

One Christian I asked to take the challenge refused and quoted Matthew 12:39.

“An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign…”

I simply had him continue reading:

“… and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)

I pointed out that Jesus fails that test as well because he wasn’t “in the heart of the earth” for “three days and three nights.” According to all of the gospels, Jesus died on a Friday and was buried that evening then was raised the following Sunday. That’s only one day and two nights. It’s a false prophecy, he failed his own test.

Back to the subject, why was the inability of Baal to light a fire by prayer considered proof positive that Baal was not a real God, but Christians won’t consider it proof that the LORD is not real?

One last thing. After proving his God was real, Elijah had the people capture all 450 prophets of Baal and then he slew them all. Perhaps he wanted to demonstrate the loving nature of the LORD.

“And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.” (1 Kings 18:40)

Biblical “Science” – The Water Cycle

Christians, especially Young-Earth Creationists, often claim that the Bible contains accurate scientific information which would have been impossible for anyone to have known at the time the Bible was written. The claim is that the existence of advanced knowledge could only come from divine revelation and is proof that the Bible is the word of God.

Does the Bible contain scientifically accurate information which could only be recorded if it had been revealed by God?  Before we can determine the best explanation for any advanced knowledge in the Bible, we first need to verify if there is information beyond the scope of what the primitive authors could have reasonably known at the time.  Usually, a claim is stated and several verses which supposedly support the claim are listed; however, apologists don’t usually quote the verses directly – and they almost never include any context.  Let’s look at one of example and review the verses listed and see if we can determine why apologists would choose to be intentionally vague.

The water cycle was discovered by a Roman engineer named Marcus Vitruvius in 30AD – so how is it that Solomon wrote about it in complete detail 1000 years earlier

You’ll find this argument on many Christian apologist websites along with a list of several Bible verses which are supposed to prove the claim.

Eccl 1:6-7
“The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again”

The author of this verse recognized that the sea levels didn’t get higher despite a constant inflow of water  from streams and rivers – no deity is needed to make that observation.  The author then concluded that the water must somehow be returning to the river. I see nothing miraculous about making an observation and inferring based on that observation. The author was correct but no mechanism was described, no advanced scientific information was revealed.  The verse simply describes an observation and inference which could have been made by any ancient person living by a body of water.

Eccl 11:3
“If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.”

Nothing about the water cycle is revealed here. This verse says clouds drop rain, and trees fall. Why would this require divine revelation? Couldn’t ancient people recognize that it only rained when it was cloudy without a God to reveal that information to them?

Job 26:8
“He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them”

This verse shows a lack of scientific understanding and demonstrates that the author did not understand how rain and clouds work. He thinks water is stored in the clouds and he seems amazed that clouds don’t break under the weight of all the water they are carrying.  The author doesn’t recognize the clouds ARE water. If he understood that clouds are water vapor he wouldn’t have been surprised that they don’t break.  Again, I see no evidence of divine inspiration.  I see evidence of erroneous ancient beliefs.

Job 36:27-28
“For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.”

Rain falls from clouds, this is nothing new. There is nothing in this verse that wouldn’t have been noticed by every person on the planet for thousands of years.  To suggest that the author wouldn’t have recognized this phenomenon without revelation from a God is highly insulting to the intellect of the author.

Amos 9:6
“It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name.”

At first glance this one could look promising, after all, we now know that water from the sea evaporates, condenses into clouds, and then is falls upon the face of the earth as rain.  Is this verse evidence of God describing the water cycle?  Unfortunately for believers, no.

When you read the entire chapter it becomes apparent that the verse is describing magic actions God will take to destroy his enemies. This verse is describing God’s vengeance and his magical powers. Amos 9, verses 1-3 describe how enemies can’t hide from God on top of mountains or at the bottom of the ocean.  In verse 4 God says, “I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good.” Verse 5 says God will touch the land and melt it so that it rises and falls like a river, verse 6 (quoted above) says God will pour water from the sea upon the earth.  Verse 8 says he will destroy (the sinful kingdom) from the face of the earth.

Does it make more sense that verse 6 is describing the water cycle or that it is, like the rest of the chapter, just describing another violent magical method God could use to cause death and destruction to his enemies?

So there we have it.

I’m not surprised apologists don’t usually quote the verses when they make this argument, the Bible simply doesn’t say what the apologists want to pretend that it says.  Most believers will simply accept the arguments on faith and repeat it uncritically.

Wacky Bible Stories 4

Most people who are even remotely familiar with the Bible have heard the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, but they may not be familiar with the WHOLE story.

  • According to the Bible, Lot (the hero of the story, and the only person God considered good enough to save from destruction) offers his “virgin” daughters to a mob of angry men to do with as they please.
  • The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah would’ve included a 3rd city if Lot and his family would’ve been able to reach the mountains a little faster.
  • Lot’s wife was killed by God for the “sin” of looking the wrong direction.
  • Lot was “date-raped” by his daughters.

Remember: this is supposedly the book we’re supposed to use to get our morals. Is Lot really a moral character? Is God? If God had the ability to arbitrarily turn people into salt, why did he bother sending fire and brimstone? Why not simply turn everyone into salt?

Wacky Bible Stories 3

1 Samuel, Chapter 5.

Now, when this chapter starts out, the Ark of the Covenant has been stolen. (For those of you who don’t know what the Ark of the Covenant is, it’s that box that Indiana Jones was looking for in Raiders of the Lost Ark.)

Well, apparently it was stolen. The Philistines captured it and took it to a city called Ashdod.

Now when they carried the ark in, they put it into Dagon’s temple and put it right next to a statue of their God, Dagon.

The next day, the statue had fallen over… Wow.

So they stood it back up again. And it fell over again the next day. And this time, his hands were broken off and his head was broken off. (Clearly, this is a very powerful God, he can tip over a statue and break it.)

The Lord’s wrath didn’t stop with just breaking a statue, no. The Lord’s hand was heavy with the people of Ashdod. He killed lots of them, and afflicted the survivors with… hemorrhoids! (Some translations say “tumors,” or “tumors of the groin.”)

That’s right, the Lord’s wrath is inflamed and itchy – and about the size of a small grape.

When the men of Ashdod saw what was happening, they said, “The ark of the god of Israel must not stay here with us, because his hand is heavy upon us and upon our god Dagon.

So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and asked them, “What shall we do with this box?”

The Philistines said: “Move it to Gath.”

So they did.

But after they moved it, the LORD’s hand was against that city! And the people of Gath were destroyed and injured and those who were still alive, both old and young, were afflicted with hemorrhoids!

So they moved the Ark as well, they moved it to Ekron.

The people of Ekron called together the Philistines rulers and said, “Hey we don’t want it. How do we get rid of this thing?” For they to had death and panic fill the city and everyone who wasn’t dead had hemorrhoids!

When the ark of the LORD had been in Philistine territory seven months, they called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with this thing, how can we send it back?”

The priest answered, “If you return the ark, do not send it away empty. Make 5 golden rats, and 5 golden hemorrhoids… that’s right, 5 golden hemorrhoids. Make models of the rats that are destroying the country, and of the hemorrhoids that are destroying your ass. Maybe that will solve the problem.”

“Then, get a brand new cart, take two cows that have calves, the cows can’t have ever been yolked. Hitch the cows to the cart. Then you take the ark, put it on the cart, and put the golden rats and hemorrhoids in a chest next to it. Then send the cart on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to Beth Shemesh, then the LORD has brought this great disaster on us. But if it goes in anywhere else, then this was obviously just a miscommunication – a misunderstanding – accompanied by massive municipal destruction and an epidemic of ass-sores.

So they took two cows, took away the baby cows and hitched the momma’s to the cart. And placed the ark on the cart along with the chest containing the gold rats and golden hemorrhoids… and they sent it on its way.

Of course, it went straight to Beth Shemesh.

The rulers of the Philistines followed the ark all the way to Beth Shemesh.

When the ark made it to Beth Shemesh, the people rejoiced. They chopped up the wood of the cart, then killed the cows and burnt them as a burnt offering to the Lord.

God then immediately slew 50,070 of them because a couple of them peeked into the ark.

This is PROOF that those Israelites in Beth Shemesh were God’s chosen people. Because, although 50,000 of them were slaughtered, God didn’t give any of them hemorrhoids. He left their ass completely affliction free! Proof that God loves them more than the Philistines.

The people of Beth Shemesh mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them, and the men of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who would want this thing, where can we send it?”

(Even they didn’t want God’s Box, and they were the Israelites.)

So they sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim, saying, “Hey, um, the Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to your place.” (Notice they didn’t mention anything about the 50,000 people that had just been killed).

So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark of the LORD. They took it to Abinadab’s house upon the hill outside the city and had his son, Eleazar, guard it.

And the rest is for a story on a different day. I don’t even think that story needs a recap.

Tough Questions for Christians 28: Earth vs. Heaven

When the Earth was created it was perfect. Flawless and sinless, created by a perfect being, for his perfect creations. And that’s the way it existed for a while. Um, up until Adam and Eve actually took a bite of that forbidden fruit. And then suddenly everything went to Hell… literally.

Now God is perfect, he doesn’t make mistakes. So you figure Earth was literally the best he could do. He wouldn’t build something substandard, right? The “perfect” planet, the “perfect” creation, and his “perfect” humans were as “perfect” as they could possibly get.

He wouldn’t ever build something less-than-perfect, ’cause that would, therefore, make him less-than-perfect.

Now, the idea is: Once you die, you go to Heaven. Which is, again, a “perfect” place, built by a “perfect” God, for his “perfect” creations. He has some other “perfect” creations there already, his angels and so on.

But if Earth was a perfect place, and it went to shit, and God is all-powerful… Why should we believe he can do any better with Heaven?

What makes us think that Heaven is not going to suffer the same fate that Earth did?

If God is all-powerful and perfect, we have absolutely no reason to believe he can do anything better than what he did the first time around. Because the first time would’ve been “perfect” and as good as he can get! (By definition you can’t improve on perfection.)

So what reason do we have to believe that Heaven is going to be any better than Earth?