WHERE HAS TOM BEEN? PLAYING HOOKY AT THE LION’S DEN

From here.
From here.

From time to time I enter into a debate. Since I don’t have much time for blogging, that sort of activity chews up my blogging time. Still debate is what makes blogging interesting. Celebrating the Word with lions can be especially interesting.

When I read ColorStorm‘s post, Circuits down but the word is good, I discovered Arkenaten taking issue with ‘s post. Whereas  argued for the truthfulness of the Word of God, argued the case for Atheism.

Since I enjoyed ‘s post and agreed, I took his side. Therefore, I expect had a great time as the center of our attention.  Nevertheless, I don’t think we wasted our time.

  •   ColorStorm says:

    You know CT, some think we waste our time by engaging so.

    But God can take our small effort, and sanctify them for His good. It is not only good for unbelievers and atheists to see the uselessness of godlessness, but for us believers to see just how far people will travel to dismiss God above all, and strengthen our faith and prove His word.

    And thx back to you for your always valuable time and commentary done so in the most gracious way.

What was my favorite comment?

  • last I checked, following Jesus was a free choice…you follow or you don’t…nothing about indoctrination in free…or so last I checked…
    and the moniker of imbecile is simply one poor soul’s opinion…
    but based on what I wonder…Is it based on your choice to be free and follow whom you so choose? Reminds me of those who probably watched Noah building that silly arc of his….no rain in sight…silly old man…imbecile some probably said…and then it rained.
    But wait, I forgot…that was just a fairy tale of indoctrination….
    silly me….

What we believe is a choice, and we each have the right make our own choices. What we do not have the right to do is force others to suffer the consequences. So it is that Noah could have been wrong, and he would have wasted decades of work, but it was his time to use as he chose.

What comment of my own pleased me the most? Well, some of them got rather lengthy. So I will just quote of a portion of one comment, but first let’s hear from .

The biblical character , Jesus of Nazareth never, ever once said he was Yahweh (your god) and there are several places he not only flatly denied it, but based on what whoever wrote the gospels stated, it would be utterly absurd to suggest he was, as, for example, who the hell was he talking to upon the cross when supposedly cried out:
.” lama sabachthani”.

or who was he praying to in the the garden of Gethsemane?
Himself?
These are some of the blatantly obvious examples that show the character Jesus of Nazareth was not Yahweh.
The Trinity along with the god hood was devised by the Roman Catholic Church.
Go study some history and don’t come with your whining apologetics to me. (from here)

Here I reply to .

Why did Jesus say “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Have you ever read Psalm 22?

I read that quote, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”, in the Gospels, and for years I was confused. Then I decided to study the Bible, and I finally came to Psalm 22. I was shocked into awe. Here => http://biblehub.com/psalms/22-1.htm is Matthew Henry’s explanation. Here => https://www.gty.org/resources/print/bible-qna/BQ032913 is John MacArthur’s explanation.

What happened on the cross when Jesus died? Frankly, I doubt we will ever understand, even if we have eternity to consider the matter.

That mystery is so great and imponderable that it is not surprising that Martin Luther is said to have gone into seclusion for a long time trying to understand it and came away as confused as when he began.

Some say that for a moment Jesus was split from the Father, and some disagree (=> https://carm.org/jesus-cross-father).

When I want to understand how and why Jesus suffered for our sins, both as man (Hebrews 2:14) and as God (John 14:7), I first refer to Isaiah 53. Then I read the Book of Hebrews. I believe, but I still do not understand. Mostly, I just weep when I think of it.

Consider the typical child. When our mothers gave birth to us, they suffered a price. Both our parents labored to feed, cloth, shelter, and love us. God, as our Father, paid an even greater price for us. He sacrificed His Son on our behalf.

The Trinity bothers you? Who did Jesus pray to in the garden of Gethsemane? Of course, the man Jesus prayed to His Father. The Son communed with His Father.

You want me to explain God? How would anyone? How could man explain this?

Philippians 2:5-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Humbled and Exalted Christ

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When people consider the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, I think many just balk. The evidence is not the problem; it is the very idea of God humbling Himself that they refuse to accept. Since they would do no such thing, they are horrified their Creator would and might expect them to do the same. The horror of humbling ourselves before our Maker, the Creator of the Universe, particularly when He loves us so much, is too much. They cannot bring themselves to stoop (as they see it) so low. So why would God? They think God models their behavior, of course.

Jesus observed both haughtiness and humility, and He explained the crucial difference.

Luke 18:9-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Pharisee and the Publican

9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

(from here)

What do I find most sad about ‘s denial? Because he does not believe (apparently does not want to believe), cannot understand the Bible well. He is so busy trying to disprove the Bible that when he discovers an apparent contradiction he never seriously considers any explanation. At least, I know I once did that sort of thing. Nevertheless, knows the Bible better than most people who call themselves Christian, and that is sad.

1 Peter 3:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

If we don’t know what the Bible says, how can we give a defense? How can we say have any reason for our hope in our Savior, Jesus Christ?

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40 thoughts on “WHERE HAS TOM BEEN? PLAYING HOOKY AT THE LION’S DEN

  1. Well said,Tom. Colorstorm is wonderful, lots of food for thought over there, we can call it bread, even. 🙂

    I enjoy a good debate. Sometimes they don’t feel productive, but there have been times where I have actually changed my perception about things. Sometimes years later I will remember snatches of a discussion I once read on the internet and the pieces will all fall into place.

    The bible is vitally important,The Word, but I sometimes say, you need the Author to read it to you. Jesus Christ Himself is called the Word, so when we become willing to receive His love and sacrifice, scripture really starts to click.

    It reminds me a bit of people trying to bake a cake and looking only at the ingredients rather than the final product. So,I hate eggs, I hate oil, I hate flour, but what they are missing is that when you put it all together you get cake. If you’re unwilling to see the cake at the end of the process, then you can argue without ceasing about how awful flour tastes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. @insanitybytes22

      A sage comment, as usual.

      If we bake it, flour all buy itself with a little yeast can taste quite good.

      Sometimes there is a delayed reaction from a debate. Someone once gave me a copy of Mere Christianity. I did not get around to reading it for decades.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great observations Tom and I agree that a lot can be gleaned from a good, productive debate. The best are those that challenge your way of thinking and force you to think carefully about your positions and whether or not they’ve morphed in to stale talking points. They make both parties better.

    Unfortunately I’ve found engaging with many (not all) atheists pointless because of their refusal to acknowledge they could actually be wrong about something, a trait they share with the far left. Also my strength does not at all lie in defending scripture which is one of many reasons why I enjoy yours and ColorStorms comments so much. I always learn something.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. @Tricia

      Thank you.

      I expect you debate better than you let on, but we all have our gifts, and you definitely have yours.

      I heard God guides us to our gifts by creating us to enjoy what we should be doing. Sort of makes sense, and I have found it to be true.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. By the way, I don’t know if it’s just my computer/browser but your references to other bloggers just show up as question marks with no links attached. I’m on a MacBook using Safari.

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  4. I’ve been putting some time into The Gospel of Matthew to understand scripture more deeply.

    The one thing I will say is that if one is presented with a challenge by an atheist, go look for the Christian explanation because it exists. All objections have been explained and refuted by other Christians, these ideas are hardly original.

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      1. I read through some of the comments on CS post. Briefly, The Bible needs to be examined as a history, the Gospels fit the genre of Ancient Historic biography–much like Plutarch’s nine lives and others. Of course, many empiricists will reject the text for having “miracles” but this minimalist approach on the Gospels is absurdly anti-intellectal; or at least hypocritcal, as other texts on ancient figures are given the benefit of the doubt.

        In regards to the Noah’s Flood, as a Catholic who views some of the Old Testament’s text to fit in many different genres; for example–Poetic Narrative, I am of the opinion that there doesn’t need to be a global flood to validate Noah’s story with connection to Christ’s words in Matt. 24, Luke etc. However, Ark’s admitting there’s is evidence for a regional flood fits into the proper historicism of how an ancient author would record a large regional flood–it would appear global!

        Many biblical theologians agree that the story of Jonah is a work of fiction; however, what is the purpose of the story? The purpose of the story is to illustrate obedience, much like the story of Job is teach patience. In regards to Jonah, when speaks about the Old Testament: In Matt. 12:40: He says, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the wale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth?” If Jonah is fictional, does this make Christ a liar? Of course not, Narnia is known Christian fiction that still tells us Truth!

        However with Atheist, If we start at Christianity, we’re wasting our time. In fact, if we’re speaking to militant atheist who are not interested with honest conversation about each other’s beliefs rather than doing whatever it takes to “trip up” or “contradict” a theist then we are also wasting our time. In regards to having a discussion, we must start much like CS Lewis in Mere Christianity with a cosmological argument, a conversation about whether there is a law of nature and a law of man. If the Atheist objects to something I do in name of “justice” to what is he or she appealing to? As Lewis indicates if there are two natures a survival nature vs. a moral nature and something that attempt to balance the two, what is it that juggling the moral dilemma?

        If we can establish in conversation with that there is Truth, then we can articulate and assert whether Christianity is true to its claims through its witness. If there is no establishment within the debate, any discussion about scripture will be manipulated by the other party without end.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @Philip Augustine

          Interesting comment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

          Where it appears the Bible is to be taken literally, I do. So did Noah’s Flood really happen? Was Jonah in the belly of a fish three days? Once we concede Jesus died on a cross to redeem us and then rose from the dead, I don’t see why we would have any trouble in believing in other miracles, which as you suggest makes good sense.

          When Jesus’ apostles used the prophecies contained in the Old Testament to establish His credentials as the Messiah, we run risk undermining the truth of those prophecies if we suggest the stories of Noah’s Flood and Jonah’s trip to Nineveh are the products of poet license. The stories are not presented that way.

          There are assertions of fact that surround the story of Noah’s Flood and Jonah’s trip to Nineveh that make it difficult to understand these events one of limited scale (Noah’s Flood) or merely a fanciful tale (Jonah’s trip to Nineveh). So what I say is I don’t know how God did it or exactly what He did. I just accept the fact these stories are in the Bible for our edification, and they tell us about real events.

          As near as I can tell, the people who recorded the story of Noah’s Flood and Jonah’s trip to Nineveh and the people who first read those stories thought the stories were true, recorded what had actually happened. Were they wrong? Why should we think so? We don’t believe in miracles? We don’t believe Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead? Of course, we do.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. In many respects, If Noah’s flood did happen the way the Bible’s narrative explains–among other things–in a more literal fashion, I will simply praise God for His glory. However, if it didn’t happened exactly as told or if it was recorded with a historic awareness of the author–it doesn’t negate anything.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. @Philip Augustine

          I expect we could spend hours going round and round about that, but our agreements are more important. In fact, I think there is something the Apostle Paul said about that, I have little doubt you could find the passage.
          😀

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoy a good discussion but everything Ark says is either a flat out lie or simply untrue.

    He gets really mad at me and calls me names when after conversing for a comment or three, it turns out that he was trying to peddle his handful of chaff as threads of pure gold.

    Pathetic really, but that’s all atheists have to offer.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Citizen,

        It is really much more sinister than just being totally wrong.

        Atheists have it as there mission to convince everyone that what is totally wrong, is totally right.

        I find that fundamentally immoral and dishonorable.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. And to be fair SoM, your response is echoed by the ones-who-say-there-is-no-God regarding believers; yet there is absolutely no consistency or accountability to the godless mind. Change truth as you go, and in the end, man is his own god.

          But I can think of greater words that describe the treachery of the godless evangelistic outreach, in this you are too kind also.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. @silenceofmind

          Well, I would distinguish here between militant atheists and those atheists who just don’t know what to believe.

          When I first started blogging, I was familiar with the terms agnostic and atheistic. According to the dictionary the agnostic does not know what to believe about God and doesn’t think we have the capacity to discover the truth about God. The atheist goes further. The atheist declares God does not exist.

          Since I have been blogging, I have observed an oddity. Many of the people who call themselves atheists and who write as if God does not exist will not go the last step. They will not declare God does exist. They know they have no logical way to prove such an assertion. Nevertheless, they call themselves atheists. Weird! I don’t understand why people use the wrong label.

          So why is this relevant? Some of the agnostic atheists at least have the humility to admit that militantly spreading the “gospel” of agnostic atheism is a pointless endeavor. Good news it is not! With these we can have a polite discussion.

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  6. Three cheers for the hooky meister! lol

    I’m never surprised CT at your consistent ability to piece together posts and convos, and like the old tune: take a sad song and make it better. Like you told trish, we all have different fields of operation; fortunately we are on the same team, and nice to be so yoked.

    What we see on a regular basis by way of opposition is really recycled thoughts of old. ‘No evidence, no proof,’ is the borrowed cry, meanwhile life goes on, and God is still God, patiently enduring the foolishness of we the people.

    But you are right, it is not that the information of scripture is not clear, it is we ‘hide as it were our faces,’ because scripture reveals us perfectly, and sometimes it’s not a pretty sight, hence your reference to ‘My God my God, WHY hast thou forsaken me,’ asked not because the Lord did not know, but because He answered for us that sin is not pretty.

    And believing Jews also would recognize this cry from the Psalms, and that Christ even in this was the Father’s delight. No other man could put away sin by virtue of Himself and glorify God at the same time. (Enter your book of Hebrews)

    ‘All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,’ here is the issue. Men have offended His glory, but we try to escape, avoid, accuse, and ask a thousand questions which have already been answered.

    There is no weakness in the text of scripture, and the crime of stealing penny candy or stealing a thousand cows, reveals a Lord who can meet each need perfectly.

    (love that lion pic btw. so stately and unassuming, humble even, so unlike myself, but so like the Lord!)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. More than willing to engage you on any topic regarding your faith if you are prepared to run an un- moderated blog for the duration f the post.
    You have my word I will not even swear at you or any of your guests.

    If you <re in any way fearful I can understand and hope yo enjoy posting you tome length religious comments and being the centre of attention, Tom.

    But I reiterate, if you want dialogue that is to the point and not enmeshed in flowery religious rhetoric and are prepared to answer questions in a direct straightforward manner than I am sure it could be very productive,

    I promise you I will never shy away from a single question.

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    1. @Arkenaten

      Since you were mentioned in this post, I suppose you are entitled to a comment.

      Thank you for your offer, but no thank you. We tried that once before. ColorStorm takes the time to moderate your comments. I don’t enjoy filtering the trash out of other people’s comments, I don’t think ColorStorm does either, but he is willing. I am not.

      There is a fine line between distorting someone else’s words and just eliminating garbage. ColorStorm seems to be able to do it. Not sure I could. I know I don’t have either the time or the fortitude.

      I guess trying to get the Word our to atheists is ColorStorm’s calling, but it is not mine. I generally focus on the intersection politics and religion, and that’s a big enough headache. So I will leave things as they are. When you are commenting on another blog, and I have something to say in response, I will. You want to do the same? That is fine by me. Call it the “neutral zone”.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t have a lot of experience with atheists. I personally have met only one that openly admitted it, and he was a jerk. To be fair, I think he’d be a jerk even if he wasn’t an atheist.

    I admire those who have the patience to engage atheists. The problem is that having a debate with an atheist requires pushing a concept they think does not exist to begin with. How do you argue with someone who rejects the entire premise of your argument?

    In true debates, there is at least the presumption of some kind of common ground in the middle.

    Tom, you have my respect. I avoid the whole “atheist thing”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have met a non-theist online I respected, but he was not militant about his religious beliefs. I think the issue is the willingness to respect the rights of others, the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Roman 2:12-16). Even some atheists learn to love their neighbors.

      Why haven’t you run into many atheists? Most people still say they believe in God. Atheism is still not popular. We also tend to associate with like-minded souls. That tends to severely limit our contact with people who think differently, and it gives us a distorted picture of the nation at-large. That distortion is not something the mass media does much to correct.

      My impression is that our nation is becoming severely polarized. Even though atheism is still not popular, ignoring God is quite popular. Given your description of the requirements for a true debate, that is not a good thing. When compromise is needed, to achieve an agreement that is agreeable to the parties involved, serious debate is required. That does not happen when a people has become so polarized that at least one major faction hates another major faction. Hateful people just become obsessed with getting even. Even if they really have nothing to complain about, hateful people will imagine some sort of grievance.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You are wasting your time debating with A rk……, in my opinion unless you are r reinforcing your own faith by doing so.
    I say pray for him instead and leave him in the hands of God.
    Regards and goo d will blogging

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you Tom for your kindness in sharing my humble observation…
    And thank you for being a voice of one steeped in Truth… as well as for being a light along the path pointing those souls who are rather a bit lost and stumbling toward the correct direction…all the while as you, CS and Wally… as well as a hearty host of the faithful, battle to deflect and fend off the stones, bullets and assaults assailed by the often misguided non believing soul who delights in nothing more than argument for pure argument’s sake…
    Looking forward to reading more of your wisdom 🙂
    Blessings—Julie

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