This is a follow-up to my previous post, An Astonishing Admission. Graeme, who wrote the comment that prompted my earlier post, has not responded to my questions yet. Two Christians have chimed in with answers that were predictable, and revealing.
The first response came from Bob. Regular readers may remember him from a thread we had going here about 15 months ago. This time around, Bob is no happier with Graeme than he was with me:
If people “seemingly” disprove the Bible as the truth from God then they can live a life of sin and dabble in what ever turns them on. If you “seemingly” disprove that Jesus is God then anything goes and there is not Biblical truth at all. You may as well eat , drink, and be merry for tomorrow you may die. What is the sense in even responding to such a site or the claim that Jesus is God if you do not believe it? Graeme , you sometimes bite off your nose to spite your face.
Honestly, what I see you writing , I have found on atheist sites and those of agnostics.
If Jesus is not God then He is the best imposter of all time. If Jesus is not God then I have wasted 26 years in ministry plus more as a Christian. But, I know in whom I have believed. Atheists and agnostics despise hearing or viewing those words. As we have been in the last days since Jesus walked this earth and was resurrected the scenario of doubt and mockery will only continue and the spirit of the age will only get worse. That is found in Scripture but some will ignore it as their freedom of choice but there is a high price to pay.
Bob opens the round by playing the immorality card. He apparently has no idea that people can devise moral systems entirely independently of godly authority, and have been doing so for millenia. His next sentence is mostly nonsensical. “Disproving” (Bob’s word, not mine) that Jesus is God does not mean that “anything goes;” disproving that Jesus is god is only problematic for a religion based on that assumption. Other religions and philosophies do just fine without Jesus as god. Many of them even do just fine without any gods at all. Bob recovers somewhat from that error, though, by noting that, if Jesus is not god, then “there is not Biblical truth at all.” If one interprets most (or all) of the Bible literally, as Bob appears to do, then his conclusion is correct. If one does not read the entire Bible literally, then one can find true, sometimes even wise, ideas within its pages. Every word of the book from cover-to-cover is not literally true, but it does contains some true statements. Bob’s recovery is short-lived, though, as he stumbles again by citing the biblical “eat, drink and be merry” bromide. He apparently can’t comprehend that many godless people live meaningful, fulfilling, even moral, lives.
I don’t take at face value Bob’s assertion that Jesus was either god or the best impostor of all time. Jesus may have been a good impostor, but one may argue that others before or after him have been better. I will concede that, if Jesus was an impostor, then he was a fine exemplar for such latter-day Christian charlatans as Mike Warnke, Peter Popoff, Benny Hinn and scores of others. On the other hand, Jesus could have been mistaken about his identity – in other words, deluded. Or, he could have been mistaken about his mission – not necessarily deluded, but mentally disturbed nonetheless. Or, he could have been fabricated. Bob did get the next bit right, though: If Jesus is not God then I have wasted 26 years in ministry plus more as a Christian. Yes, Bob, that’s correct. Join the club. There are many of us who wasted countless years fussing over Christianity, God, Jesus and such rot. You’re one of us. But, the good news is, it’s not too late to change.
Following true to form, Bob says something sensible, then reverts to nonsense. He does not “know” the one in whom he has “believed.” If Bob “knew” him, he wouldn’t have to “believe” in him. Then, predictably, he closes with a “last days” statement and a thinly veiled warning that people who don’t believe in Jesus will spend eternity in hell.
John takes the next turn:
As Josh McDowell wrote many years ago:
“Jesus is either Lord, Lunatic or Liar”
Graeme and others should remember this.
I prefer to accept that Jesus is Lord. There are any number of reasons for this based on such diverse things as history, miracles performed in Jesus’ name, change seen in lifes of those following Jesus and consistency in the message Jesus brings.
And if I am not correct then what have I lost–nothing but I have lived a good life.
If I chose either lunatic or liar then what have I lost–possibility of eternal life and fellowship with God in Heaven rather than eternal pain and punishment with Satan in Hell.
John opens with C.S. Lewis’ trilemma and mistakenly attributes it to Josh McDowell. Yes, McDowell made quite a big deal of Lewis’ argument in Evidence That Demands a Verdict, which was initially published in 1972, but C.S. Lewis stated the argument a full 20 years earlier, in Mere Christianity. Since I’ve already dealt with the trilemma in my discussion of Bob’s comment, I’ll just note, as I explained above, that the trilemma can easily be expanded to include at least one more possibility: in addition to being either a liar, a lunatic or lord, Jesus could have been a legend.
John goes on with a vague list of what he considers as evidence that supports his belief, then closes with his version of Pascal’s wager.
My initial reaction to these two comments was amusement. As I’ve considered the matter more, though, my amusement has changed to pity. Every time I read their comments, I see two grown men who are trying, and failing, to disguise the fact that at least a portion of their religious belief is based on fear of an ostensibly loving god. What a sorry state of mind that
must be is. Instead of laughing at Bob and John, I hope that they’ll one day have the courage to face their fears, unlock the shackles that bind their minds, and live life to its fullest. That’s the greatest hope I can hold out for anyone.
– the chaplain