Just on a whim, I decided to swing back by our old conversation at the Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society, to see if he responded to my last comment there. He did indeed.
The answer is, Professor, that you are right. Christians should be appalled, and far more opposed, to those who bear false witness in the name of Christ. What do you suggest I do about it from here in New Zealand?For example, money-preaching televangelists like Benny Hinn survive because a lot of Biblically-ignorant people give the guy lots of money. Many Christians ministries have critiqued and heavily criticized this cretin but what do you do next? Blow up his home? Assassinate him? That may be the Islamic way, but not for Christians.
Apparently, Mr. Christian Admin has already spent some time thinking about how to deal with Benny Hinn! But he’s right, it is unfair to blame Christian New Zealanders for the sins of American Christians. Only I never did that. My comment was that creationism demonstrates the fact that God does not show up in real life, because if He did, Christians wouldn’t need to resort to lame arguments like quibbling over whether or not some poorly-understood, prehistoric, pre-human events might possibly be interpreted as possibly reflecting some kind of possible interaction by something that may have been like some kind of deity–possibly.
It is Mr. Admin, and not Benny Hinn, who was trying to use anti-Darwinism as an apologetic for God, though I’ve no doubt Hinn would gladly agree with him. And it’s the kind of argument you have to use when you can’t point to any verifiable instances of God actually showing up in the real world.
But wait till you hear his rebuttal to my observation that God does not show up in real life.
As for God not showing up — well, I think it is totally understandable that you would make that claim. Looking thru the glasses of Christian theology and apologetics, we would certainly not see it that way. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, when we look out the window and see something, perhaps a beautiful woman, we see creation as being a reflection of God’s beauty.
Apparently, murdering Benny Hinn isn’t the only thing Mr. Admin has been thinking about, eh? But notice that, once again, Mr. Admin gives us further support for the observation that God does not show up in real life. His counter-example is not that you look out the window and see God walking past. You see a woman and say, “God, is she hot! Surely natural processes alone could not have produced such a sexy babe!”
Mr. Admin’s response is an appeal to superstition, i.e. the practice of seeing something in the real world, and arbitrarily assigning the credit to some unverifiable cause, even though you cannot show any connection between the alleged cause and the observed effect. For extra superstitiousness, Mr. Admin cannot even specify what such a connection would consist of if we could verify it. Did God supernaturally tweak the woman’s genes while her father’s sperm was penetrating her mother’s egg? Did He miraculously create extra hormones in her body during puberty to lend an extra curve to her hips and a bit more fullness to her breasts? Is this woman’s beauty the product of genuine divine intervention, or did mere natural processes work together, in both the woman and in the men who observe her, to create the subjective perception of sexual attractiveness?
The great thing about superstition is that it does not require God to do anything at all, not even to exist. It’s a perfectly fail-safe approach. No matter what happens, you can always say, “Ah, well, God did that, somehow.” Or Krishna did it, or Allah, or some other group of gods, or leprechauns, or gremlins, or flying spaghetti monsters. Men making superstitious claims about God is not God doing anything in the real world, it’s men.
And if we see war or disease, it reminds us of the fall and the fact that the creation groans, awaiting redemption. What do you see? What are you looking for? Death, then nothing? No justice for Hitler or the various other atheistic murderers that have killed 130,000,000 (see Wikipedia) people in the last 100 years.
Hitler and all those other murderous despots were right-handed. If there is no God, does that mean there will not be any eternal justice meted out on all those wicked right-handed people? Besides, the Bible says that the wages of sin is death, and Hitler died, so he has paid for his own sins.
But let’s not get side-tracked. See if you can follow Mr. Admin’s logic here. I point out that God does not show up in the real world. Mr. Admin offers a counter-example in which a beautiful woman shows up instead of God showing up. He then brings up Hitler, who he claims was an atheist despite Hitler’s numerous appeals to God and his well-documented religious justifications for the policies of his regime. Then he suggests that, under atheism, there will be no justice because there’s no way to make dead villains suffer infinite torments as punishment for the finite crime of hastening people’s entrance into immortality.
This is your brain on Christianity. Any questions?
What do I see and what am I looking for? I should think I made that fairly clear. According to the Gospel, God loves me and wants to be with me forever. He loves me so much that He was willing to show up on earth to teach men the Gospel and then to die to remove the barrier between God and men, and then to rise again as proof that the barrier had been removed. So if He wants to be with me forever, and He has removed the barrier between us and made it possible for Him to be with me forever, then what do you suppose I’m looking for? I’m looking for God to show up to participate in this relationship He allegedly died to make possible. And like Mr. Admin, I’m not seeing Him either.
Picture a divorced mom with a preschool son who wants to know why deadbeat dad never shows up to spend any time with him. “Oh, of course your daddy loves you,” she claims. “Look–we’re in this cheap apartment because of him, and once in a great while a miracle occurs and he pays his child support, so that I can buy you cast-off sneakers and second-hand clothes.” Will she succeed in fooling him into believing that his dad really does love him? Possibly, but there’s no getting around the fact that dad is not showing up, and even his by-proxy contributions (the child support checks) are so rare that if mom ever gets one, she says it’s a miracle.
The reason we use “it’s a miracle” to refer to things that virtually never happen is because the term “miracle” is the word for God’s (alleged) interactions with His allegedly beloved Children. The rarity (not to say “complete absence”) of such events is why the word “miracle” has become a by-word for things that never happen in real life. God simply does not show up. Christians know this. Even Mr. Admin knows this. He’s just become so accustomed to God’s absence that (he claims) he can no longer even properly conceive of what it would mean for God to actually show up in the real world. He regards superstition as being enough, because it’s all he’s got. And that’s just not the way things would be in real life if the Gospel were true.