Saturday, July 3, 2010

301: Multiplying Disciples

Luke 10-11
"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go." - Luke 10:1

We start the day off with a change. Luke tells us that Jesus appointed another 72 disciples and sent them out (much like his original 12) to towns around Israel, two by two. Like the other disciples, these 72 seem to have most of the power of Jesus (namely healing the sick). Jesus says that if the town welcomes them, they are to heal the sick and eat their food. If the town doesn't welcome them, they are to tell them that their fate will be worse than Sodom in the end times.

Next is the parable of he good Samaritan. The story starts out with an expert of the law asking Jesus what he needs to do to get eternal life. The rich boy asked Jesus this question in the other two gospels. This time the answer is different. The teacher says, to receive eternal life you should "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus agrees that this is what should be done.

Wait a minute. That was the "most important" commandment from the other gospels. Not what you needed to get eternal life. I'll quote the story:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
... You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' "

"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." [Mark 10:17-21]
So which is it? Do I have to follow these randomly picked commandments? Do I just have to love God and my neighbor? Or do I just have to "accept Jesus" like I've been told by so many Christians? For something as important as eternal life, Jesus certainly doesn't give us a clear route to it.

The actual story of the good Samaritan comes about when the teacher asks Jesus to define what a "neighbor" is. Jesus (speaking in parable as usual) tells a story of a man that was beat up and passed by, by all sorts of "good" people (Israelites). Finally a Samaritan helps him. Jesus asks which is the neighbor, the Israelites or the Samaritan. The expert of the law says the Samaritan and Jesus agrees. So only people who do good things for you are neighbors? What happened to love your enemy? I guess that's just another "suggestion", because you only have to love your neighbor to get into heaven.

Chapter 11 is back to the stories we've already heard. There is an abbreviated version of the Lord's prayer, Jesus being accused of working with Satan, Jesus promising the "sign of Jonah" (though he doesn't specify the amount of days), and six woes for the Pharisees.

What's one of the biggest intellectual arguments against God? Right, he's "not fun":
Over the years, people have been taking pot shots at the Bible, stating that serving God is not fun and the Bible is worthless. These intellectual assassins never take the time to read the book. If a critic would read the Scriptures, they would discover that it is loaded with feast days (a.k.a. biblical holidays). When a feast is declared in the Bible, it means "party down" with friends and family.
The "you just haven't read the book" argument is getting more and more ridiculous as I near the end of the bible. Where were these "party down" days in the Old Testament? The feasts were largely about sacrificing hoards of animals to God and worshiping. That's not to mention that not participating in these "fun" feasts was punishable by death. "Have fun, or I'll kill you." Sounds great.

I think "not fun" is the least of God's problems. Not killing people needs to go on the to do list before having more fun.
Under the New Covenant, we have the freedom to celebrate -- or not. That's called freedom of choice.
Oh, so God just recently caught on to this whole "freedom" thing? Slaughtering innocents, flooding the world, just recently catching on to the idea of freedom. Obviously the most intellectual argument against God is that he's "not fun".

(via Indy Star)

Friday, July 2, 2010

300: Shall I Destroy Them, Jesus?

Luke 8-9
"When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, 'Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?' " - Luke 9:54

[300 days, woo... That is all.]

As seems to be the norm with Luke, we have about 95% content that we've already heard. This includes the parable of the sower, Jesus denying his mother and brothers, Jesus stopping a storm, and Jesus driving Legion into a herd of pigs (causing them to commit suicide).

We then come to the story about Jesus healing the dead girl and the sick woman. The sick woman touches Jesus's cloak and is instantly healed. Again, Jesus seems unable to discern who drained his powers and has to run around asking who touched him.

We then come to Jesus resurrecting the dead girl. Like in the stories from the other gospels, when he comes to heal her he claims that she's just asleep. Is she really just sleeping? Either that, or Jesus is lying, which is very un-Jesus of him. This all seems especially absurd in Luke, where Jesus has already resurrected a dead boy in the middle of broad daylight. This leads me to believe that the girl really was just sleeping. In which case why is there a section dedicated in every gospel for talking about Jesus waking a girl up?

Chapter 9 is also several stories we've already heard. Jesus feeding 5000 (I'm still not given any satisfying details), the transfiguration, Jesus healing the epileptic, and Jesus saying that the least are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

At the beginning of the chapter Luke mentions that Herod has already beheaded Jesus. I guess we don't get to hear the story of how/why that happened from Luke.

Near the end of the chapter Jesus sends some messengers ahead to a Samaritan town to "get things ready" for him. However, the Samaritans don't welcome him because they somehow know that he's headed for Jerusalem. When the disciples catch wind of this they come to Jesus and ask if he would like them to "call fire down from heaven to destroy [the Samaritans]". Since when can the disciples call down fire from heaven? Can Jesus even call down fire from heaven?

Jesus, unlike his father, refuses to have a random town destroyed for not liking him.

Florida public schools in Collier County have decided to ban the distribution of Bibles. Ironically, the bibles were to be distributed on religious freedom day.
For years, the school board allowed World Changers to distribute free Bibles to interested students during off-school hours on Religious Freedom Day, but now the school officials claim that Bibles do not provide any educational benefit to the students and the distribution should stop. Many of our founding fathers were taught to read using the Bible. If it had no educational value, then many of them would have been illiterate.
So the claim here is that the bible has educational value because people can be taught to read with it? By this definition any book has educational value and should be allowed to be handed out on public high school campuses. This includes salty romance novels, the Satanic bible, etc.
The school district, like many others, suffers from a misunderstanding of the First Amendment. The Establishment Clause does not prohibit private religious speech or literature; under Supreme Court case law, it prohibits only government religious speech. The distribution of Bibles by World Changers is private speech and, in a forum opened for secular literature, is constitutionally protected.
The government (in the form of a government run public school) is providing a channel for the promotion of religion (in the form of handing out free bibles). Why do these people have to hand out their bibles at a public high school? They could pass out their bibles at almost any other time. Or, God forbid, they could pass them out at church where people actually want bibles. But I suppose that would be contrary to the whole proselytizing thing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

299: Jesus Begins the Zombie Apocalypse

Luke 6-7
"Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, 'Young man, I say to you, get up!' The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother." - Luke 7:14-15

Chapter 6 is largely stories we've already heard. This includes Jesus changing the sabbath laws (even though he said he wouldn't in Matthew), naming his 12 apostles, blessing and woeing (blessed are the poor, woe to the rich, etc.), telling us to love our enemies, and telling us not to judge others.

In the section Jesus tells us not to judge others he makes us a lot of promises. He says that if we don't judge, we won't be judged, and if we don't condemn we won't be condemned, etc. I don't think I have to tell anyone this, but that's just not the case. I could be a perfectly good person and still have terrible things done to me. This is a lot like Jesus's assertion that anything asked for in his name would be given to us. I still haven't gotten my million dollars.

At the beginning of chapter 7 we again hear about the centurion who asks Jesus to heal his servant. The story is again out of order, and this time the centurion, instead of asking Jesus himself, sends some of the Jewish elders to ask Jesus to heal his servant. When Jesus is about to get to the centurion's house, he sends some friends out to tell Jesus that he's not worthy of having him in his house (i.e. the centurion doesn't want to be seen with Jesus). Jesus somehow concludes that the man is faithful and heals his servant from where he is.

First of all, this distance healing is a lot different than having to spit in people's faces and shout words to the heavens in order to work magic. Second, what does the centurion's faith matter when it comes to healing his servant? Shouldn't Jesus heal the servant because the servant has a lot of faith? Finally, what makes the centurion faithful? The centurion somehow felt he wasn't worthy of Jesus, so he was willing to let his servant die. That just sounds like an ass hole.

Next, Jesus goes to a town called Nain where he sees a coffin being carried out of town. Jesus decides that this person shouldn't have been killed and resurrects him on the spot. This brings up a lot of questions. What made this person more worthy of resurrection than anyone else? Why didn't Jesus resurrect all the worthy people when he was on earth? Did the boy just get resurrected because he happened to be being carried out at that moment? Finally, and most importantly, why the hell didn't Matthew and Mark even mention this? Isn't randomly resurrecting someone a pretty big deal?

The middle of the chapter is John sending servants to ask Jesus if he is the one everyone's been waiting for. Did John forget that God ripped the sky open when Jesus was baptized? Shouldn't John (a prophet) know for sure who Jesus is?

The chapter ends with another story that Matthew and Mark don't mention. Jesus is having dinner with one of the Pharisees when a woman starts kissing his feet, crying on Jesus's feet, and pouring perfume on his feet (foot fetish?). Jesus then turns to Peter and rebukes him for not wetting his feet when he came to Peter's house, not kissing him, and not putting oil on his head. Maybe Peter didn't have any money for oil when he gave it all away for you, Jesus.

Jesus then forgives the woman for all of her sins, and says "Your faith has saved you". No, her ability to give a good pedicure saved her.

Have you heard Christians are being oppressed in America?
Many Christians in America have been wondering, at the rate our dominant culture is growing more hostile toward Christianity, how long it will be until all public expression of the Christian faith will be outlawed.

Thanks to an article from LifeSiteNews, I believe we have another indicator.
Right, I'm sure the 76% of American Christians are very hostile toward Christianity. Are you kidding? How can someone have fooled themselves into believing that outlawing expression of Christianity is, in any way, imminent?

The article he's talking about goes on to talk about the Alliance of Romania’s Families (ARF) being banned from joining the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) because they referred to same sex marriage as "human degradation". In the FRA's letter they called the ARF's statement, "a fundamental rights perception that is incompatible with the participation in the FRP."

Let's take a step back and remember what the writer of this article just said. This is supposedly an indicator that Christianity will soon be outlawed in America. A Romanian organization was banned from joining a government organization, because they say shitty things. They weren't banned from saying shitty things. They just weren't allowed to join something. This is obviously a step toward the elimination of Christianity (at least in fundie land).
So to believe what God told us, that homosexual behavior is a violation of His design for the expression of human sexuality, to recognize that this immoral behavior is a health hazard and a threat to healthy families, to maintain that people caught up in this obviously unnatural lifestyle should be encouraged to change…in the liberal lexicon, that is “hate.”
Whoa, wait a minute. When did the ARF say that they thought same sex marriage was "a violation of [God's] design for the expression of human sexuality"? Somehow I don't think they would be banned if they had said it like that. They said same sex marriage was "human degradation".

I love this new "health hazard" aspect to the condemnation of homosexuality. Driving your car is dangerous, is that also immoral? In fact, driving your car is "unnatural" too. If God mean't for us to drive around, he would have given us wheels. I guess by these shallow (probably untrue) definitions, homosexuality is just as immoral as driving your car to work. And yes, for the record, if I say that people driving their cars (or being gay) are degrading humanity, then I'm being hateful. I'm not going to change my definition of hate just because it happens to intersect with your definition of practicing your religion.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

298: More of the Same

Luke 4-5
"The devil said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.' " - Luke 4:3

All the stories today are pretty much the same as stories we've already heard (though some are out of order).

First, Jesus fasts for 40 days and is tempted by the devil. Satan says all of the same things we've already heard (turn stones into bread, jump off the cliff because God will save you, etc.). [Spoiler alert] Jesus isn't tempted.

The next story is Jesus being rejected in his home town (Nazareth). This is very out of order. At this point in Luke, Jesus hasn't even appointed his disciples yet (in contrast with both Mark and Matthew's accounts). This story also has a different flavor. Instead of seeming sad or mad that he's rejected in his home town, he asserts that every prophet was rejected in their home town. There is no mention of Jesus losing him miraculous powers (as in Mark), or refusing to perform any more miracles (as in Matthew) as a result of this rejection.

Next is the story about Jesus driving out an evil spirit (the evil spirit that only exists in Mark, Matthew doesn't mention it). This story is very similar to Mark's. In fact, it could be Mark's story. Luke has admitted to not being a first hand witness, and reading (or at least knowing about) other people's accounts of Jesus. He has to be getting these stories from somewhere, why not Mark?

Chapter 5 is a lot of boring stories that we've already heard. This includes Jesus calling his first disciples, healing a man with leprosy, and healing a paralytic. The chapter ends with Jesus being questioned about why he doesn't fast, and going on his long (seemingly unrelated) rant about clothes and old wineskins.

The supreme court has ruled that every citizen has the right to carry a firearm, trumping a Chicago law essentially banning their possession.

This, of course, has nothing to do with God or Jesus. Or so I thought:
Otis McDonald, the lead plaintiff in McDonald v. Chicago, in which the Supreme Court ruled Monday that all Americans have the right to own guns for self-defense, praised God for his victory.

"I would like to first give thanks to my lord and savior Jesus Christ for giving me the endurance to be where I am today,” he said.
Somehow I don't think that turn the other cheek, love your enemy Jesus approves of your crusade to put a weapon in everyone's hands. In fact, when Jesus is arrested, he says "Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword". Of course, this doesn't pass the litmus test of being a "conservative value", so it's a lesson of Jesus we should clearly ignore.
McDonald, 76, also thanked his attorneys and said God must have brought them to him.
Oh, so God and Jesus are working together to further the goals of the NRA? Actually, God watching innocent people get gunned down on the streets doesn't sound that much different than God watching innocent people getting chopped up by the Israelites. So maybe, at least with respect to the Godly support, this guy isn't that far off base.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

297: Christmas

Luke 2-3
"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." - Luke 2:6-7

The Christmas story in Luke is pretty much completely different from Matthew's account.

Caesar is taking a census, so Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem to register (because Joseph is from the house of David). While they are there to register, Mary has Jesus and puts him in the manger because there is no room in the inn. Nowhere does this happen in Matthew.

Next, some shepherds nearby are visited by angels, who tell them that Jesus has been born and that they should go visit him. There are no Magi in Luke. More importantly, there is no Herod (hence no subsequent escape to Egypt). Isn't Herod's pursuit, and Jesus's escape to Egypt, a pretty big part of Jesus's life? Why would Luke simply leave this out (other than it didn't actually happen, or he's not an expert on Jesus's life)?

In fact, there is not just omissions, there are contradictions. After Jesus is circumcised, Mary and Joseph return directly to Nazareth. This is contradicted by Matthew's assertion that they went directly from Bethlehem to Egypt after Joseph was warned by an angel, in a dream, to flee. Only after Herod dies are they told that they can return to Israel.

The Christmas story I've always heard seems to be a mashing together of Matthew and Luke (e.g. the magi and the shepherds are usually both in the nativity scene). This is interesting, because some of Matthew and Luke's claims are mutually exclusive. I guess if the events don't contradict then they must be true, so they're all included.

Luke then gives us one small story from the childhood of Jesus (better than the nothing we got out of Matthew). Luke tells us that every year Jesus's parents went to Jerusalem for passover. When Jesus is twelve years old, he and his parents make the trip to Jerusalem. On the way back to Nazareth, however, Jesus stays behind in Jerusalem. His parents head home without figuring out that they're missing Jesus. In fact, they don't realize that they've lost him till they've traveled an entire day.

After one day's travel back to Jerusalem, and three days searching, they find Jesus in the temple. When they confront him and ask them why he's treated his parent's so badly (breaking a commandment?), he says that they should have known he would be in his father's house (i.e. the temple). For some reason they don't know what the hell he's talking about. Don't they know he's the son of God?

Chapter 3 is all about John's ministry, and his arrest. This is all very similar to Matthew except for the reason John was arrested. Matthew claims that he was arrested because Herod thought he was raised from the dead. Luke says that he was arrested because he said bad things about Herod's sister in law.

Luke then goes back in time and says that when all the people were being baptized, Jesus was also baptized. We are told that Jesus was about 30 when he began his ministry. Then Luke says, "He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph", and goes on to give the entire lineage of Joseph (back to Adam). I'm still not sure why this is necessary (Matthew did it too). Especially when Luke himself is implying that Jesus is not, in fact, the son of Joseph. Why do we need the lineage of the adoptive father of Jesus?

I have good news (in my opinion, of course) on a story I talked about while ago.

The supreme court recently heard a case about a Christian campus group insisting that they bar gays from their organization (thus breaking their public school's policy). This was part of a "statement of faith". So, of course, atheists and people from other religions would also be barred from the organization. In a 5-4 ruling, the court ruled to uphold the lower court's ruling that the organization would have to change their policy in order to exist.

Of course, I'm not sure why you would want to join a group where you're clearly unwelcome. But it's good to see that, simply because you're a religious organization, that you're not exempt from non-discrimination policies.

Monday, June 28, 2010

296: Gabriel Visits

Luke 1
"In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary." - Luke 1:26-27

Luke introduces himself as someone who has carefully investigated the story (and first hand accounts) of the gospels. More second hand accounts, wonderful.

Luke goes on to tell the story of a priest named Zechariah (not to be confused with the old testament Zechariah). Zechariah is visited by an angel (Gabriel) and told that his prayers about his barren wife have been answered, and he is going to be given a son. The angel tells him to name his son John. This John eventually grows up to be John the Baptist.

Gabriel then goes and visits Mary (all these events are happening before the beginning of Matthew). The angel tells her that she is going to have a baby that will reign over the house of Jacob forever. Mary asks how this can be, because she is a virgin. Gabriel responds, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you [I know what you're thinking], and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." That's it? Is that something like "the stork will bring him"? This is yet another miracle for which we only get a vague, shadowy description.

Mary then goes to visit Elizabeth (the barren wife of Zechariah) who is somehow related to her. When Mary greets Elizabeth, Elizabeth's baby "leaps" inside of her. I'm not sure why this is relevant to the life of Jesus.

The chapter ends with John being born and circumcised.

Did God write the bible?
One vital aspect of our faith is an honest examination of the origin of the Bible. There are only two possibilities. The first is that this book is simply a product of human endeavor, totally unaided by God. The second is that the Bible is the product of Divinity guiding certain men as to what they should write. The first views the Bible as having a natural origin; the second sees it as having a supernatural one.
Isn't it also possible that God told certain men what to write, then humanity screwed it up as we retold it? I'm not suggesting that's what happened, but there seems to be a false dichotomy here.
If the Bible has a natural explanation, it could easily be full of errors and becomes simply a book of suggestions by ancient men about how to live. One's attitude toward it is not too important as he can either "take it or leave it," and it doesn't matter which he does.
Ok, the bible is full of errors. Case closed?
If the Bible has a supernatural origin then it should not have errors and is a book of supreme authority. It is not a book of Ten Suggestions, but one containing Ten Commandments! It does not merely suggest how we might live, but gives firm guidelines as to how we must live.
Ok, the bible is not not full of errors. The writer has ruined his point with his own false dichotomy and his own willful ignorance of how many contradictions the bible contains. By the litmus test of his own dichotomy, the bible is completely man made and has absolutely no supernatural origin.
Luke begins his treatise by mentioning accounts of the life of Jesus that had natural origin and were subject to error. He then claims his work presented the perfect picture of Jesus.
I promise I haven't been saving up this article till I started reading Luke. But it's a good thing that I came across this today. Nowhere in the beginning of the book of Luke does he claim that his work is a perfect picture of Jesus. He does acknowledge other writings, but he in no way discredits them, or implies that his is any better. What book is this guy reading? Also, is he implying that the other gospels are not correct accounts? I had assumed that Luke was talking about the other gospels when he spoke of other accounts of Jesus.

I just said this recently, put Matthew and Mark together and read them side by side. If there are any differences, then (according to this writer) the bible is completely made up by man.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

295: The Passion of the Christ (Bullshit Edition) & Mark: In Review

Mark 15-16
"Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either." - Mark 16:12-13

I'm not going to talk too much about chapter 15, because it's (for the most part) exactly the same as Matthew. In fact, the only changes I see are changes of omission on Mark's part (or additions on Matthew's part, as I'm reminded every day).

Here's a quick review: Jesus is taken before Pilate where the people choose to free Barabbas over Jesus. Jesus is mocked by the guards and given his crown of thorns. Jesus is then crucified and mocked by everyone (including both thieves crucified with him). Jesus then dies and the temple curtain is ripped.

The last paragraph of chapter 15 is where we start going off the deep end.

First of all, we are finally told which day Jesus died. Mark says that Jesus died, and was buried on the preparation day (the day before the Sabbath). If you've been reading this blog for a couple of weeks you'll remember that I told you to keep Matthew 12:40 in mind. For those that have forgotten:
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Three full days, three full nights. Now, at the beginning of chapter 16, Mark says that the Marys visited Jesus's tomb on the morning of the day after the sabbath. So Jesus was only buried from the night before the sabbath, to the morning after the sabbath. That's only two nights and one full day by my count. Jesus isn't quite batting a thousand on his self prophecy.

Before I get too far, I want to mention a glaring omission. Mark never says there were any guards at Jesus's tomb. And obviously if there are no guards there is also no seal on the tomb (not that it made much of a difference in Matthew). Even worse, when the Marys get to the tomb in Mark's account, there isn't even an angel there. There is just some guy saying that Jesus is gone and resurrected, and that they should go meet him in Galilee.

Then my bible says something strange, "[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20]". Excuse me? So in the earliest (read "most accurate") manuscripts, the chapter ends here? Nobody even witnessed Jesus after his miraculous resurrection?

Lets read the part that, the bible admits, was added later. Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene, who tells the others. They (for some reason) don't believe her. Isn't this exactly what Jesus said would happen, shouldn't they be expecting his return?

Then Jesus appears "in a different form" to two of his disciples. What the hell does that mean? Meaning he looked like someone else? That's strangely consistent with that being someone else. Then Jesus appears to the eleven and calls them faithless idiots (good ol' Jesus), and gives them some instructions. He tells them to go around and spread the good news to all of creation, and whoever believes will be "saved". Jesus goes on to say that those who believe will also speak in tongues, drive out demons, pick up snakes, and drink poison without being harmed.

So that's where these nutjobs get the speaking in tongues/handling snakes. Why aren't any churches telling their members to drink a few cc's of arsenic? If you're going to handle poisonous snakes why not go all out? Maybe they're discouraged by the 71 people that have died handling snakes during religious ceremonies. Of course, those people probably just didn't believe hard enough.

Jesus then promptly ascends to heaven. So let me get this right. First, the early manuscripts have Jesus appearing to no one. Then, even when people start adding things, they only have him appearing to his disciples? Well if that's all it takes, then I'm getting together with 10 of my friends and getting Pastafarianism going.

Mark: In Review
Other than being a witness to the contradictions in the bible, I'm not sure why Mark exists. Of course, I would say the same thing if I had read Matthew first. It seems like one of these books should have been thrown out for consistency's sake.

I'm not sure what people are thinking when they say there is no such thing as biblical contradiction. Put these books (Mark and Matthew) side by side and read them straight through. If there are even small differences (there are big differences) then the bible has contradictions.

There's not to much else to say, all the major events I could review have already been talked about in Matthew.

Is God really bad for punishing people?
Imagine for a moment that you’re 8 years old. You have a brother who’s a year older, and the two of you have a wonderful dad. This dad gives you all the things you need. He’s funny, affectionate, wise, caring, generous, kind, and all the things you could ever want in a dad. Now suppose you and your brother are playing around in your room one day, and he hits you so hard it makes you cry.

The good father runs in to find out what happened, but when you tell him your brother hit you, he just shrugs his shoulders. You ask him what he’s going to do about your brother’s bad behavior, and he says, “I can’t do anything to your brother. I’m too good and kind to punish him. He might not like it.” How do you feel about your dad now? Do you still think he’s such a great dad? Of course not. But, as illogical as it is, that’s what some people think about God. He’s too good and loving and kind and caring to punish anyone, so hell couldn’t possibly be real.
Of course a good father would not do nothing. And that's not what I'm suggesting God should do either. But let's take this metaphor to it's conclusion. By the writer's definition of a "good father", the father should take the offending son, throw him in the basement, pour gasoline down the stairs, light his son on fire, and let him burn for eternity. Where has God handled punishment any other way?

As a side note, what is God doing right now to punish people? Nothing that I can see. Which is exactly the bad situation the writer just described. People get away with brutal theft/rape/murder/genocide every day. Where is our "good father" when we need him?
In fact, God’s love for everybody is the reason he showed mercy by sending Jesus Christ to die for sin. In Christ, God offers the only way for a person to escape God’s justice. That’s good news.
Huh? The "good father" puts loopholes in his own justice system? Has the writer completely forgotten the metaphor he started with? The father must have had a third son who he crucified so that the other two wouldn't have to receive any punishment. But isn't that right back where we started, with the father doing no punishment at all?

If this is what a "good father" is, I'll go with a bad one (can't be any worse).


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