Tag Archives: Christian

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)

Choosing Your Religion Before You Are Born.

I overheard a couple of Mormons talking the other day.  One of them said: “We are the lucky ones, we were born into The Church, we have been able to live with the fullness of the Gospel for our entire lives!  It’s our duty to share that love with the world.” 

To which the other replied: “It’s not luck. I believe we choose where we will be born and what trials we will face in the preexistence.  I believe we even select the time and method of our own death.”

For those who are unfamiliar with Mormon theology, they believe our souls were born to spirit parents long before we were born to physical parents. They call this time before physical birth the “preexistence.”

I wasn’t part of the conversation but I still had to hold in my laughter.  I could just imagine God talking to their unborn soul and asking: “Would you like to be born into the One True Church and live with the fullness of the gospel or would you prefer to be born into a false religion and raised to THINK you were born into the One True Church?”

How would you know the difference once you were born?

And what about picking your trials in advance? How does that work with freewill?  If you “choose” to be raised by abusive parents, does that mean your parents didn’t have the freewill to choose any other action? What about people who are raped in this life? Did they choose that? Did the rapist have any choice in the matter?

The whole idea reeks of victim blaming.  (I’m sorry your life sucks, but you picked it.)  It seems like a way for people living comfortably to ignore those who are not as comfortable without feeling guilty.  After all, if a child is born into a poor family and dies of starvation that’s okay – they selected those trials and that death.

I don’t think Mormons realize how sadistic this belief makes their God.  Does he hand you a checklist with different ways you can suffer and require you to select a specific number of experiences?  “Please select at least 50 painful experiences from List A and 150 mild irritants from List B.”

Some people suffer extreme pain and even torture in this life, why would anyone VOLUNTEER for that ahead of time?  Imagine the spirits in heaven talking with each other: “You can choose to be killed by being burned alive when you are 14 or you can live until you 80 and die peacefully in your sleep. I’m so torn, I don’t know which to choose. Living to 80 would be so cool, but I wonder what fire feels like when it burns your flesh?”

Other Christian denominations don’t claim you pick your method of death or your trials – and whether or not you are born into the right religion is usually considered a matter of luck — of course, if you don’t get it right before you die God will still torture you forever… so God doesn’t look much nicer according to that theology.

Oh well, people believe crazy things.

Email — Adam and Eve

Not all my email is from people who disagree with me.  Below is an email from someone who enjoys my  blog posts.

I love your stuff.  I just wanted to tell you that, and offer you words of encouragement.  I know the pain of telling someone a truth and having them rationalize it and dismiss you without having presented any argument.  Most of the time, they don’t even have the capacity to recognize defeat in a debate.  I think that the faith philosophy forces them to repress their natural inclination to logic, reason, and skepticism.  I sympathize with them because I used to be a Christian: terrified to even think anything critical of my faith or my savior.  This is an exchange that really sums up the frustration if you want to read it.  I just wanted to say keep it up.  You’re welcome to post my response all over your blog.

Best wishes,

Brad

Her first response to the knowledge of good and evil argument:

I think you misunderstood the story completely. The point was that, they were created so pure, without a sin, they were innocent like children, but they were not like children incapable to sin. Adam an Eve was able to choose. They also were free to choose. They were not slaves. As you don’t force your loved ones to love you, God didn’t force them to love Him, even though he made a very wonderful world for them and loved them very much. But they chose not to obey his rules, they cheated God, so they were actually evil in God’s eyes! So how could God then let them live forever as long as they didn’t keep his word? Can God live together with evil? Of course not! And that’s when God chose to make us mortal, and let us suffer in this world.
As you know from that time men were sinners, and never could stop from sinning all over again more and more. Now we inherit the sin to each other, also help each other to do it.

My response:

Maybe you’ve missed the point I made: Adam and Eve were ignorant about the WHOLE subject of good and evil—they were utterly incapable of thinking about it, talking about it, or making any decisions about it. There is no way you can say it is morally just to punish someone for doing wrong when they have no concept of wrong. Likewise, it would be moral abasement to praise the creature for doing something that was morally proper, because he couldn’t have known it was good. Any decision he makes concerning good and evil is nullified by his ignorance. And if he does something good or evil, it is completely by accident and has nothing to do with his ability for discernment in such matters—because he has no discerning ability whatsoever. Let’s pretend that you had a child with a disability. And you told him not to do something, but he did it anyway. But also pretend that a part of his condition means that he cannot decipher language very well. In essence, it doesn’t matter what you told him, he can’t understand you. But after you discovered that he disobeyed you, with the full knowledge of his condition, you begin to beat him mercilessly until he screams in anguish and tears fill his eyes. You continue to beat him and as he begs for mercy, you kill him. This what god does in that story; could you do that to your own child? Adam and Eve are not human beings, they are Ken and Barbie dolls. They have a severe mental handicap: they are not just under informed, they are absolutely ignorant. The only thing happening before the fall of “man” was Adam naming animals all day and Eve lounging around with snakes. There may not have been a care in the world, but they wouldn’t have known it because they were just two oblivious husks of human beings. If anything, the “Fall of man” was the best thing that ever happened to him. The problem with the theological connotations behind that wretched story is that it tells people that they are wicked, evil sinners, and there is nothing they can do about it. What a terrible concept! First man is given the boot (from what we are told is a good place) for, when it comes down to the details, being ignorant. Now, post-Fall, he’s born evil, capable of nothing but sinning, except for the chance occasion that something else (but never him) commits a good act but uses his body like a puppet—and he had better make sure to direct the credit for such good deeds to the higher power and not himself or else it will be hubris. I don’t see how it’s defensible but through blind faith and a mind always prepared to rationalize every truth that contradicts it’s belief—which, as I showed earlier, is based on obfuscation. The main point that I want to underline concerning the texts, which is true of the Ark, the Fall, and every other story in the Bible is that they should never be interpreted as historical facts; they should be interpreted as symbolic, metaphysical ideas. To interpret the stories as historical facts is to miss the whole point behind them which is to present a metaphysical or symbolic idea.

Her Response:

Adam and Eve were not ignorant at all. God let them know that you must not eat from this tree, and that was an order, but they didn’t listen to God, can’t you see the difference? They did something that God didn’t want them to do, so that a sin. They were not incapable to understand as you are saying, it’s the opposite, they knew God but just liked “more” than what they got, but lost even what they had.

There are very evil and wicked people ,very bad bad people, so it’s not a terrible concept, it’s reality.

Thank you for the kind words, I will definitely put that on the blog. I always appreciate a good well-worded argument. Here is the approach I like to take when I’m discussing the Genesis creation story:

God told Adam and Eve “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

The serpent told them: Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

Now they have heard 2 claims, one from God and one from the serpent. Both claims were told to individuals who do not yet possess the ability to tell right from wrong or good from evil. (The tree was the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” to say they already knew good from evil means this was just a normal tree and not a tree of “knowledge” as the Bible God claimed.)

According to Genesis 3:22, God said: “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” confirming that the serpent told the truth when he described the results of eating the fruit.

Adam and Eve didn’t die the day they ate the fruit, but they did become “as gods, knowing good and evil.” God said Adam and Eve would “surely die” the same day they ate the fruit – that didn’t happen – instead, God realized they could still become immortal so he kicked them out of the garden. “… lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden…” (If someone uses the “a day to God is like 1000 years to mankind” argument, they’re saying God lacks basic conversion skills.)

Sure Adam and Eve knew something would happen if they eat from the tree, they had been told they will either “surely die,” or will “not surely die” and will become “as gods, knowing good and evil.” They didn’t know that obeying God was good and disobeying God was evil. They simply had two contradictory accounts of what would happen if they ate the fruit… and to top it off, the Bible says the fruit looked good.

Notice what God did NOT tell Adam and Eve.

He did not say: “Watch out for the serpent, he lies.”

He did not say: “If you choose to disobey me you will condemn you and all your children and every future generation of mankind to be tortured for eternity.”

He did not say: “If you eat the fruit you won’t actually die the same day, but you will be kicked out of the garden and forced to work for a living and have painful childbirth – and I will create poisonous plants and man-eating animals, and microscopic flesh-eating bacteria who will eat your future children alive.”

It’s like me telling you I have a quarter is in my right hand, and someone else telling you it is in my left hand.  Then asking you to guess which hand the quarter was in and telling you I will kill you if you get it wrong.  You didn’t see me place the quarter, so you wouldn’t know who was telling the truth.

Christians often argue that Adam and Eve did die that day, spiritually.   Saying they died spiritually is to simply ignore the meaning of the words used. The word translated as “surely die” in Genesis 2:17 is “muwth” it is the same word used in Genesis 5:5 to describe the physical death of Adam “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.” It’s also the same word used to describe the physical death of: Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Haran, and Terah. (And that’s just in the first 11 books of Genesis) It’s also the word used for the “thou shalt surely die” threat God made against Abimelech in a dream (Gen 20:7) if he didn’t return the prophet’s wife.

The same word, the same threat, from the same God, in the same book – yet the same people would argue that the meaning is completely different. The same word is used more than 500 other times in the Bible, each time referring to physical death — except (according to some apologists) this ONE time.

I hope that helps with your discussion.

Thanks again for the email,

Your friend,
Shawn

More Mormon Questions

I received a reply from our Mormon defending friend.  You can see my response to the original email here.

A tactic I’ve noticed that seems to be more common among amateur Mormon apologists is “denialism.”  I discuss any controversial topics, at least I didn’t think so.  I simply restated common Mormon beliefs in an unflattering way.  However, this person has denied that many of the topics I mentioned are actual Mormon teachings. And he continues to deny it even after the evidence is presented in the form of direct quotes from Mormon “prophets.”

Here is a continuation of the discussion.

I notice that you didn’t say whether or not YOU believe God was once a man.

my answer to that is that i have no definitive answer and i love god and accept him as he is.

And here I thought you were just avoiding the subject.  Since you don’t have an opinion on the matter, does that mean you question the truthfulness of the teachings of Joseph Smith Jr, Brigham Young, Spencer W. Kimball, Orsen Pratt, and Lorenzo Snow?

Some pretty important members of the Mormon religion have expressed this as true. Perhaps you’ve heard of a few of these people:

If a historical tidbit seems inflammatory, we should read it in context with the time, setting, and conditions under which it was said.

I never said the belief was inflammatory, only that it was a Mormon belief.  If you disagree that this is a Mormon teaching, please explain why.  I provided quotes from 4 Mormon prophets, 1 Apostle and a member of the council of the seventy to support my claim.So far all you’ve done is

So far all you’ve done is say the quotes need to be taken “in context” (implying that I have somehow taken the quotes out of context), but you have failed to provide the correct context or clarify the actual meaning of the quotes I provided.When Brigham Young says ”

When Brigham Young says “He [God] is our Father–the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are,” what possible context could that be read to make it mean anything other than that God was once a man?

Many of Jesus’s own statements could appear inflammatory when taken out of their cultural and historical setting. Examples are when Jesus is preaching to “resist not evil” (Matt. 5:39), or when Jesus is being led by Satan (Matt. 4:5), or advising others to eat flesh or drink blood (Matt. 26:26-28). If the perfect master’s teachings can be made to appear preposterous when taken out of context, how much easier would it be to ridicule his imperfect servants’ statements?

Are you saying that you shouldn’t resist evil?  Or that any other of Jesus’ teachings are wrong?  If not, I don’t understand why you would use this example.You’re claiming that I have taken the quotes about God being a former man out of context and that I have somehow perverted the meaning, then you use Jesus’ teaching of “resist not evil” as an example.  Please explain the correct context for each quote, and why they should be taken to mean anything other than exactly what they say.

You’re claiming that I have taken the quotes about God being a former man out of context and that I have somehow perverted the meaning, then you use Jesus’ teaching of “resist not evil” as an example.  Please explain the correct context for each quote I provided, and explain why they should be taken to mean anything other than exactly what they say.

In addition to which, Joseph Smith once said: “This morning I visited with a brother and sister from Michigan, who thought that a prophet is always a prophet; but I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such” (History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 265).  Prophets, express personal and private views on many topics, including doctrine. These comments, if they are out of harmony with revealed scripture, can be rejected. Certainly, they are not doctrinally binding comments.

Are the sermons given by the “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator” of the Mormon church during General Conferences (which are translated into multiple languages and transmitted via satellite to church members all around the world) simply “private views?”  Or is he “acting as” the prophet at that time?One of the quotes I provided was from a speech given by Spencer W. Kimball during the priesthood session of General Conference in 1977.  Another quote was from Brigham Young as quoted in the

One of the quotes I provided was from a speech given by Spencer W. Kimball during the priesthood session of General Conference in 1977.  Another quote was from Brigham Young as quoted in the Journal of Discourses, which is a collection of Conference sermons and talks.  Wouldn’t giving an address to every member of the church in an official church meeting qualify as “acting as” a prophet?  If not, I’m not sure what would.

If the belief that God used to be a man is not a Mormon belief, as you appear to claim, can you please provide some quote from a Mormon prophet “acting as such” clarifying this issue?

This apparent misconception about Mormon beliefs has been around for a very long time.  Surely you can find one quote from someone trying to clear this up and give the “official” church opinion on the subject.  (If you can find something explaining why the views expressed by Mormon Prophets during General Conference sermons should not be accepted as actual church teachings, that would also be helpful.)

How can you believe something without knowing what it is you believe? Something that is “impossible to comprehend” is also impossible to believe.

blessed is ye that has not seen but yet believe.

You didn’t answer the question.  I understand how you can believe something without seeing it (I believe Australia exists even though I have never been there), I don’t understand how you can claim to believe something without knowing what it is that you believe.

If you don’t know what you believe, then in what possible way can you be said to actually believe it?

What color shirts do the missionaries wear when then deliver the gospel to the souls trapped in Spirit Prison? If the gospel is not shared by missionaries, how is it shared?

it is shared in whatever god allows knowledge to be shared in the spirit world ive never been there to see it myself. if you think that we belive that missionaires knock on doors and have them slammed in their faces in the spirit world then you have a very earthly take on what spirit life is like.

I have no take on what the spirit life is like, and apparently neither do you or you would have offered some alternative rather than simply telling me I’m wrong.

Why is a physical body necessary?

because god thinks it’s necessary and that’s good enough for me. i do not question god’s ways he knows what’s best i don’t.

Have you ever spoken with God yourself? If not then you are unquestioningly taking the word of someone else who may or may not have actually spoken with God. You’ve moved your faith from God to man. It’s not “God’s ways” you are necessarily following.

How does getting dunked underwater change your ability to make an agreement with God?

read the scriptures. ”unless you are born of water and of the spirit you cannot enter the kingdom of god”.

That’s not an answer.  I’m not asking what the scriptures say, I’m asking why it’s necessary. Why do you need to get wet to make an agreement with God?  Please, rather than regurgitating some verse about baptism, please try to actually think about the question before you answer next time.

Why does God need a living person to get wet before he can enter into an agreement with a deceased person?

the same can be asked of the living person.why does god need a living person to get wet before he can enter into an agreement with the living person?

I did ask the same question about living people, you didn’t answer that one either.

Come to think of it, you haven’t actually addressed anything so far.  You’ve accused me of taking things out of context, while not providing the correct context.  You’ve claimed my “take” on spirit life is wrong, without providing a correct “take” or explaining how you know my “take” is wrong.  You’ve quoted scripture to address a question, when the verse quoted didn’t actually answer the question.  Now you’ve repeated my question – and still haven’t answered it.

Why is the living person able to force the hand of God?

they do not force god’s hand they are instruments of god’s will.

If God is unable to enter into an agreement with the spirit of a willing deceased person until some random living person get’s dunked in a bathtub on his behalf, then the living person is more powerful than God.

Again, this video was to address a few specific issues with Mormon beliefs, not a be-all-end-all video designed to address every single problem with every Christian denomination. (I didn’t even address all the problems with Mormonism.

regardless, the issues raised about Mormonism can be paralleled to issues in the bible and in other christian sects.

I agree, there are issues with other flavors of Christianity as well.

Mormons are almost non existent on the face of the earth. why pick on them? might as well pick on people who sing to trees or people who scream in pillows when they are frustrated. most people don’t know what a Mormon is and many of them laugh at Mormons and make fun of polygamy and call Mormons racist and satanic. remind me as to why you bother to pick on us?

When did pointing out the problems with Mormon doctrine become “picking on Mormons?”

Don’t feel flattered.  I haven’t singled out Mormons.  I had an entire series called Tough Questions for Christians detailing questions I have about standard Christian dogma.  (Most of the questions also apply to Mormonism, but not all.)  I had a series of called Wacky Bible Stories showing some of the absurd stories found in the Bible.  I started a series of Tough Questions for Muslims, and I was invited to be a guest on a Christian Podcast called Intelligent Christianity, which was hosted by a Lutheran.  I point out absurdities wherever I find them, the fact that there aren’t as many Mormons as there are members of other religions doesn’t make their beliefs any less absurd.

Come to think of it, I probably should have made a Tough Questions for Mormons series.  People would probably enjoy a more detailed questioning of the Mormon religion.

Thanks for your email,
Shawn
AKA: AZSuperman01

Bill O’Reilly Thinks it’s “Fascist” to Teach Science in Science Class.

Bill O’Reilly is a huge fan of the “God of the Gaps.” His entire argument consists of saying that science doesn’t know everything, so until it does he is justified in making stuff up.

Oh, and he thinks it’s “fascist” to limit science class to teaching SCIENCE! Heck Bill, maybe you’re right. Maybe we should be teaching the kids how to read tarot cards and show them how to balance their chakras too.

If we’re going to teach that unverified claims are as good as evidence based, peer-reviewed, scientific theory, then why bother teaching the scientific method at all?