Friday, December 4, 2015

FBC Watchdog Part II: The Epitome of Godless Irrationalism

Here is my continued review of FBC Watchdog as promised. I pick up right where I left off the other day.

FBC Watchdog then made this ridiculous and outrageous statement in a personal exchange in the comments section of his blog, Ed says "You can hate God's Word and love Jesus? Impossible!" No one has said they hate God's word. They just said they don't have to believe it ALL to place their faith in Christ Jesus. The atheist and fundamentalist seem to agree on this view. Their position is that no one should trust Christ or believe in God unless they believe in the sun standing still and talking donkeys, which NONE of us do. Fundies might want to rethink their position.

Here is the claim in as clear a language as one can state it: “You do not have to believe all of God’s word in order to love Jesus!” Now, why should we love Jesus? Why should we even believe that Jesus is a literal historical figure? Why should we believe God has a word and that some of it should be believed while some of it can or even should not be believed? I intend to show that FBC Watchdog not only destroys a particular brand of Christianity by his arguments, I will show he destroys even those parts of Christianity he wants to keep. FBC Watchdogs arguments are not only irrational at their very foundation; they are patently unbiblical, and therefore false.

FBC, as we shall all him, wants to pick from the Bible those accounts and teachings and doctrines that he likes and reject those that he does not like. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Men have been doing this to Scripture since Scripture began to exist. Even in the garden, the whole point was that Adam and Eve wanted to take that part of the covenant they liked and reject that part that they did not like. Now, FBC is pretending to use reason and science as his principle for rejecting the story of Balaam and his donkey. Scripture records this astonishing event in Numbers 22, And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” FBC unequivocally rejects this event as true history, inferring that it is rubbish. The inference seems to be that such a story is foolish top to bottom. Donkeys do not speak. We have never observed a talking donkey. Everything we know from science tells us that a donkey cannot speak. FBC completely ignores the phrase, wayyiptaḥ yhw ʾet-pî hāʾātôn, “and the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey.” On the one hand, FBC believes that God created the donkey to be what it is, but somehow, God is helpless to make the donkey speak. Perhaps FBC should contemplate why it is that humans can speak.

There is another story that I believe FBC probably believes. That story is located in Matthew’s gospel. And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. Here we have the story of ‘the Jesus’ FBC claims to love and of his human conception. Mary apparently conceived Jesus, not from copulation with a human man, but as a result of the divine action of the Holy Spirit. That’s right. A virgin became pregnant by the supernatural work of God. Now, I am going to suggest that if God can bring Mary to conceive Christ without sexual intercourse, it is no great thing for Him to make a donkey talk. Just like the Balaam story, where there is an angel and supernatural phenomenon taking place, the Christ story begins in precisely the same kind of circumstances. One has to ask, why does FBC cherish the latter and make fun of the former.
A --> B

If miracles are possible, then God can make a donkey speak.
Miracles are possible
Therefore, God can make a donkey speak.

From this argument, we have no rational ground to reject the possibility that a donkey could have spoken. We can also believe in the virgin birth and even the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let’s use the same Modus Ponens structure and change our referents.

If miracles are not possible, no donkey could speak in the history of donkeys.
Miracles are not possible
Therefore, no donkey has ever spoken.

From this argument, we can agree with FBC that the Balaam story is rubbish. But if we are going to be logically consistent, that is, if we are going to reject Balaam’s story on principle of accepting the above argument, then we must also reject the virgin birth and the miracle of a physical resurrection of Christ as well. Now, Paul tells us that if Christ has not risen from the dead, all our gospel preaching is in vain. Paul writes, kenon ara [kai] to kērygma hēmōn, kenē kai hē pistis hymōn;. And if our preaching is in vain, then our faith, the Christian faith is in vain. You see, Mr. and Mrs. Enlightened emergent ones, if we remove the talking donkey or a talking snake, we destroy Christianity.

He had also already made this remark, Can I believe that I'm a sinner and trust Jesus for my salvation without also believing in talking donkeys and stoning disobedient children? You tell me. Read my previous posts. Why can't I believe that I'm a sinner in need of a savior without also believing that the sun stood still? Why can't a Muslim believe parts of the Quran without believing he must kill the infidel. Because fanatical "holy men of Gawd" manipulate him into believing all or none. But I've already written a few posts on this. Go back and read them. I believe the gospel. Not in talking donkeys. The atheist says then I must also reject God and Christ. The fundy agrees with the atheist on that point. And the church continues to decline in numbers and depth.

FBC Watchdog wants to accept the supernatural principle of salvation, that a man dying 2,000 years ago could really, really, really do something amazing in me today, while at the same time rejecting that very principle because it seems unscientific and irrational when it comes to a talking donkey, snake, or particular ethical code. Somehow a man hanging on a cross claiming to be God and claiming to not only be capable of atoning for sin, but actually atoning for the sins of millions of others is rational while believing that this same God could make a donkey talk is in someway, irrational. Such a man holding to these kinds of beliefs is a living, breathing, wandering contradictio.

You see, the entire idea of salvation in Christ transcends both science and human reason. Now, if Christ is the very core of the unfolding plan of redemption in the biblical record, and Christianity certainly affirms this to be the case, and it is necessarily true that such redemption transcends both human reason and science, then it follows that neither of these methods could be used as criteria from which to judge the credibility, truthfulness, or reliability of the biblical record. But I must be careful here not to send the signal that I believe that science and reason are somehow hostile to revelation. I do not believe something so absurd as that revelation is inherently inconsistent with science and reason. What I do mean is that fallen men, men who have not been endowed with the gift of faith, misuse science and reason and by that misuse, they not only pervert Scripture, but they also corrupt natural science and human reason.

Summary Facts Regarding the Basic Claims of Christianity
Before I cover a few of the most basic tenets of Christianity I want to make this statement loud and clear: Christianity is a supernatural religion. It is a religion that is built on truths that are transcendent. These truths reach beyond the bounds of finite human reason and natural science. Christianity makes claims that are at their core, paradoxical in nature. Many of these beliefs, if shown to be false, would change Christianity so radically that Christianity as we have come to know it would cease to exist. In Short there would be no Christianity, at least not in any meaningfully objective sense.

God, a being no one has ever seen created the universe and all that is in it from nothing. Not only is this view unscientific based on the criteria of science, it is irrational based on the criteria of autonomous human reason. Yet, unless you believe this claim, you are not a Christian. And unless this claim is true, Christianity is false. In other words, the principle FBC uses to reject a talking donkey also requires that we reject this claim as well.

The Fall
Adam and Eve were created miraculously from the dust of the earth. They were created perfect and without sin. God spoke to them and commanded them not to eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And if they ate from that tree, they would surely die. If I embrace FBC’s principle, there is no way I can reasonably accept the story of Adam and Eve with a straight face. I must reject the story of man’s creation and fall if I am going to consistent. Once again, rejection of this account is to contradict and disagree with Jesus Christ Himself, not to mention the divine revelation, God’s word that is. To reject this account of history is to reject Christianity. The fall of Adam and the redemption of mankind from out of that fall become a myth, a fairy tale and the Christ event becomes absolutely meaningless.

To reject a talking donkey because it is supernatural and therefore unscientific is to reject that God spoke to Moses from a burning bush. It is to reject the snake in Eden. It is to reject the miracle of fulfilled prophecy of a coming Messiah. It is to reject the virgin birth, all the miracle claims of the gospel writers account of Christ. It is to reject the resurrection. It is to reduce Christianity to legend, an interesting myth but nothing to be taken seriously.
Christianity teaches that the God of Scripture is the self-contained ontological Trinity. He is three persons in one being, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. There is a unity and a diversity in the Trinity that defies human logic. The doctrine of the trinity is an essential doctrine of the Christian faith. It is Christianity. Without the Triune God of Scripture, Christianity is no more. But if I accept FBC’s principle that results in the rejection of a talking donkey, I also have to reject the Trinity. Essentially, I have to reject Christianity. Looks like the atheists and fundies are far more consistent in their reasoning than FBC.

I could go on to talk about other essential doctrines of Christianity, like the Christ Event for example and how no one could ever explain the person of Jesus Christ within the bounds of biological science and human reason. The existence of Jesus Christ as the God-Man defies all scientific explanation and reason fares no better in its attempts to reconcile the apparent contradiction. Moreover, the very idea that Christians are saved, that we needed saving, needed redemption, needed a new birth is complete and absolute rubbish if I apply FBC’s principle. The same principle he applies to Balaam.

In the end, it comes down to FBC’s view of Scripture. It comes down to his view of epistemic authority. FBC rejects Scripture as his authority for justified true belief and in its place he wants to insert science and human reason. But in so doing, he demonstrates that if he really wants to go down this path, he must become an all-out atheist. Right now, FBC is a closet atheist. The principle that he has embraced does not allow for things like Christian theism. Sooner or later, he will have to give up the ‘Jesus that he says he loves, that he says saved him’ or he will have to believe in talking donkeys and snakes. There is no middle ground. Those who love God hear (do) God’s Word. You cannot refuse to place your faith in God’s Word while claiming to place your faith in God. You cannot accept the miracle of the Messiah and reject the miracle of a talking donkey because it is a miracle. That is the epitome of irrationalism.

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