"We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us." - Acts 27:2
On Paul's trip to Rome the ship runs into a storm. This storm is so bad that the ships crew begin throwing supplies (including food) overboard. Paul continues to have visions and tells the men that and angel said everyone will be ok and only the ship will be lost.
After 14 days of this storm, the crew decides to run the ship aground on an island they've found. The Roman soldiers plot to kill the prisoners so they don't escape, but the centurion in charge wants to keep Paul alive.
When Paul reaches the shore, he starts to make a fire. As he is gathering brush, a viper jumps out and bites him. He has no adverse effects to this snake bite and the islanders declare him a god. I'll presume that this is meaning to imply that people with the Holy Spirit can withstand snake bites. For the sake of argument, lets presume that we can prove this was actually a venomous snake. Then why do people with the Holy Spirit die of snake bites today?
Paul then proceeds to cure a chief official on the island. This causes all of the islanders to bring their sick to Paul, and he heals them. This is the same situation as the snake bite. We're never told that Paul is endowed with any special power besides the Holy Spirit (he's not one of the twelve). So why are millions of people today who claim to have the Holy Spirit unable to miraculously cure people? This would certainly be a convincing conversion tool (which is essentially what Paul is using his powers for here).
Paul eventually does arrive in Rome. When he arrives there, he is given his own personal guard and allowed to wander around where ever he wants. He is even allowed to go to the Jews of Rome (weren't the Jews supposed to be kicked out of Rome?) and preach the message of Jesus. Isn't that the very thing he's being imprisoned for?
The book of Acts ends by saying that Paul stayed in Rome for two more years preaching the message of Jesus. Paul is getting a pretty sweet deal here. He got a free trip to Rome, and now he gets to hang out and do whatever he wants. Is he going to get a trial eventually? Maybe we'll find out it some other book.
Acts: In Review
Acts is interesting as the first New Testament book that's post-Jesus. It helps tell us how at least the disciples translated the messages of Jesus into action. Unfortunately, some of the ideas of Jesus seem to have been forgotten. Acts also helps illuminate what we (as mere humans) should be able to with this mysterious "Holy Spirit".
The new church run by Peter seems to be a tyrannical, money-centric organization. This is evidenced by people being killed for withholding money from the church. I'm not sure how this could be any further from what Jesus had in mind. Everyone was supposed to give away their money to the poor, not give it to the disciples. It's no wonder the Catholic church claims Peter as the first Pope. "Steal from the rich. Give to the richer and hope they'll give a little to the poor" seems to sum up both Peter's and the Catholic church's ideology.
My second problem is what the disciples (and others) seem to be able to do with the Holy Spirit. They are able to speak in tongues (actual other languages, not the gibberish of today), heal people, and withstand snake bites. This is all what Jesus predicted could be done with the Holy Spirit, but then why can't modern day people do these things?
Aside from the theological inconsistencies, Acts reads like a badly written fiction novel. Though it's still not as bad as anything from the Old Testament.
This is a lesson in how an argument becomes circular:
One lie that was in his letter is that "There is no God to save us from our undoing …"
The truth is that there is a God, the creator who created us and who tremendously loves us: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female. He created them." — Genesis 1:27.
This is the long version of "yuh huh, there is too a God". People can write down whatever they want and call it a holy book (see Scientology). This doesn't make it real. And until God can be proven in more empirical terms, "the bible says so" just won't do.
Mr. Kyde says, "… millions of normally rational and intelligent beings get on their knees to beg and worship a figment of their imagination." Let me emphatically state that God is not a figment of anyone's imagination. God exists from eternity past, exists now and will exist forever. God is worthy and deserves our worship.
Well, the writer emphatically stated it, so it must be true. In fact the writer makes a couple of giant leaps. First that God exists, and second that God is deserving of worship.
I haven't talked about this a whole lot, but even if someone could prove to me that God does exist, I'd have some major reservations about actually worshiping him. Is it really good to worship a being just because you're afraid of it? That's like saying an abusive spouse is deserving of worship. And an abusive spouse couldn't get close to the atrocities committed by God.
The reason it is possible to believe that this universe and every living thing was created in six days, some 6,000 years ago by God is simple. Faith. It takes just as much faith, or more, to believe in the theory of evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact.
Now we're getting somewhere. Faith: firm belief in something for which there is no proof (Merriam Webster). In fact, the writer's faith goes a step beyond that. The writer believes in something for which there is contrary evidence. No serious geologist/physicist/scientist believes that the earth is 6000 years old.
As for belief in the theory of evolution, I don't think that fits any definition of "faith". Unless you are in complete denial of all the evidence in it's favor. Incidentally, I think that's probably the problem here.
I and other Christians are praying for Mr. Kyde to accept God's gift of eternal life so you can truly know the truth and so you can be happy.
Yes, I'm sure if it's ever proven that there is a God that wants to send you to hell if you don't obey his every demand, Mr. Kyde will be just giddy with glee. Especially after reading the bible, I'm not sure how the existence of God is supposed to make me a happier person.
(via Sheboygan Press)