Refutation of “Christ Revealed” docu-series Ep. 5
First Interviewee: Arie Bar David
Revealed Films decided to include David in this series because he is a Messianic Jew who accepted Jesus. Another word to call these guys is “Jews for Jesus” — a label likely more recognizable. And for the record, because of Messianic Judaism’s identification with Jesus, all of the major denominations of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist) have rejected Messianic Judaism as a form of Judaism.
It opens up with his backstory, esp. how his father was converted. It goes that a celebrity slipped a note into his pocket with a verse from Matthew, “verily I say unto you,” and that stuck with him.
Gentempo points out that Messianic Jews are still Jews, consider themselves Jews, they maintain the old practices they just accept Jesus as the Messiah.
And because of that very reason, all the major denominations of Judaism rejects “Messianic Jews” as Jewish, kinda like the same way Christians would reject “Christian Atheists” as Christians.
All the criteria must be fulfilled, emphasis on the All, to become the Jewish Messiah.
1) In Gathering the Jewish Exiles: The Messiah will reign as the Jewish King of Israel and gather all the Jews around the world to Israel. (Duet. 30:3; Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 30:3, 30:27; Ezekiel 11:17, 36:24) But Jesus never reigned as King, nor did he bring all the Jews to Israel.
2) Rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem:(Isaiah 2:2-3, 56:5-7, 60:7, 66:20; Ezekiel 37:26-27; Malachi 3:4; Zechariah 14:20-21) The Temple was sill standing in Jesus’ day, and destroyed 38 years after his alleged) death by crucifixion, and the temple has not yet been rebuilt.
3) Worldwide Reign of Peace and end of all war (Micah 4:1-4; Hosea 2:20; Isaiah 2:1-4, 60:18) yet since the creation of Christianity, wars have increased. Some fought in the name of Jesus.
4) Embracing of Torah Observance by all Jews: the Messiah will reign as King at a time when all the Jewish people will embrace the Torah and observe God’s commandments. (Ezekiel 37:24; Deuteronomy 30:8, 10; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 11:19-20, 36:26-27) But not all Jews follow the Torah or the Commandments.
5) Universal Knowledge of God: The Messiah will rule during a time when all the people of the world will come to knowledge and serve the “one true God” of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Zechariah 3:9, 8:23, 14:9,16; Isaiah 45:23, 66:23; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 38:23; Psalm 86:9; Zephaniah 3:9) This has not taken place.
6) From the Tribe of Judah and a Direct Descendant of King David and Solomon: (Genesis 49:10; 2 Samuel 7:12-14; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10). Genealogy in the Bible is only passed down from father to son (Numbers 1:1-18) and there is no evidence that Jesus had this pedigree. The Christian New Testament actually claims that Jesus did not have a birth father (Matthew 1:18-20) from the Tribe of Judah descending from David and Solomon.
All this criteria are found in numerous places in the Jewish Bible. Anyone can claim to be the Messiah, or any group of people can claim that a person is the Messiah. However, if that person fails to meet all the criteria found in the Torah, then he simply cannot be the Messiah. Missionaries and apologists argue that Jesus will fulfill these requirements when Jesus returns during the Second Coming in the future. It is important to understand that this doctrine of a Second Coming is an admission that Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic criteria. This rationalization for his failure provides no reason for accepting him as the Messiah today. Furthermore, the Torah does not have a Messianic installment plan where the Messiah comes, fails in his mission, and then returns thousands of years later to finally succeed.
Missionaries and apologists will claim that Jesus’ performed miracles which indicate that he was the son of God and therefore the Messiah. However we have no real evidence that Jesus performed any miracle. More significantly, even if Jesus did perform miracles, they would not prove that he was the Messiah. The Torah does not say that the Messiah will be recognized for performing miracles, the Torah actually teaches (Duet. 13:2-6) that false prophets can have the ability to perform supernatural miracles.
Literally, this whole interview is just listening to David share bits about his life, his work, the “Biblical Gardens” which he operates and teaches at just outside of Jerusalem, and other minor things…. but David doesn’t offer any insight on Jesus.
Second Interview: Greg Koukl
Koukl is a Christian Apologist who founded “Stand for Reason.” Revealed Films liked this guy so much there will be 2 more interviews on top of this one with Koukl in this docu-series.
Lucky for me, I’ve already heard of this guy, thanks to all the hard work and good material presented by a lot of fellow atheists on YouTube. Thanks to what they’ve revealed to me, I already had an idea of who Koukl was, how he thinks and presents his arguments before watching this “Christ Revealed” episode.
Of the videos on Koukl that I saw, if I had to pick a favorite, I’d give the award to Logicked — I like that guy. He’s witty and funny, rocking a cool top hat while standing in front of a house that looks like something straight out of Lovecrafts sketchbook or a bizarre version of Alice in Wonderland. (Btw, why did top hats go out of style? I’m dead serious. Top hats are bad-ass, we should bring them back.)
Sorry, if Deepak Chopra can make your beliefs seem cruel and thus make you look like an asshole, you probably should find another faith. Or better yet, no faith.
Skipping his background opening, Gentempo points out that Koukl used two different words: faith and conviction. Gentempo asks if they are different or the same. Koukl answers, “I am using them as synonyms, but I like the word conviction better then faith. The problem with faith is nowadays it is easy to attach words to it. When someone says they are a person of faith, people attach words to that like “blind,” or “leap of,” and they have the concept of “that’s your truth, that’s his truth, and everyone has their own faith.” So they contrast faith in that sense with knowledge. You have knowledge about things (facts, evidence, Truth) then you’ve got faith — and isn’t that nice, it’s truth with a small “t” for you. So I try to avoid that language, because I know people will tend to do that. I think the word faith was been largely corrupted, I think, for our use nowadays to communicate what I mean, and I communicate with a Biblical worldview is how it’s meant to be understood and what the Bible itself characterizes, and it does not characterize a leap of faith. It characterizes a step of trust based on things you have become convinced of and were convinced of them for reasons.”
Koukl can try to play word games. Unfortunately for him, we can go straight to the source itself. After all, according to Koukl, the Bible is the ultimate authority, right?
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
2 Corinthians 4:18 – So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 5:7 – We live by faith, not by sight
John 20:29 – Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Romans 4:17 – As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed–the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
Romans 1:20 – For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Notice that NONE of the above mentions facts or proofs or evidence. John 20:29 that blesses those who have not seen and believed anyway despite of not having evidence? Usually when people talk about faith being a virtue, this seems to be what they are referring to; believing without seeing evidence, not belief based on evidence. It is believing without seeing that makes you blessed, according to Jesus. Believing in things that you have not seen, that’s pretty much what a leap of faith is. Turns out the Bible defines faith the exact opposite of what Koukl pretends what faith means. According to the Bible, faith is: Things hoped for, but not seen. Looking at things that are not seen. Not seeing what is seen. And this list ends with everybody’s favorite combination of logical fallacies; the circular argument of arriving back to an assumed conclusion.
Now that we are expected to see what is not there. Not only that, we are blessed if we make ourselves see what cannot be seen. This is not a reasonable request. These are not reasonable responses. We are encouraged to believe without reason, in fact we are blessed if we believe the most outrageous illogical inconsistent contradictory claims without any evidence at all. Because only accurate information has practical application, and it should be that positive claims require positive evidence and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Our beliefs should be tentative and subject to obligated change if the evidence demands. We should have some way to correct the flaws in our current perception and thus improve our understanding – THAT would be reasonable. Because if we love truth at all, then what should matter most is that we not allow ourselves to be deceived. But faith is the very opposite, it requires that we literally “make belief” that we ignore what we really do see and pretend something is there when it apparently isn’t. It means that we fool ourselves. (I’ll elaborate more on that in a second)
Koukl may be convinced that his faith is true, but his faith is itself an epistemology (and a failed one at that). Faith as an epistemology is a way to “know” things. I say know because faith is a knowledge claim. When Koukl says “Jesus walked on water” or “Jesus rose from the dead,” he says it as a matter-of-fact, he says it as if he knows it. When was the last time you heard a pastor say on the pulpit to his congregation “we hope Jesus rose from the dead”? Do they say that, or do they say “Jesus DID rise from the dead”? We all know it’s the latter, because faith is a knowledge based epistemology. And because we never hear a Christian apologist say “we hope Jesus walked on water and rose from the dead,” Hebrews 11 saying that faith is “hope” is inaccurate. It would be more accurate to say that faith is “belief without evidence in the things not seen.”
So when I say that faith is a failed epistemology that “fools ourselves,” here is story that highlights my point. Several years ago in Fresno, CA there were a group of Christians who gathered around a tree outside a hospital. When they prayed while touching the tree, water would sprinkle from the tree and land on them. They took this as a miracle, that they were receiving the tears of God. They took this on faith. Yet when a skeptical investigator took a look, he saw something that is common in trees all across CA to the South. On the trees are little bugs that eat the sap then expel it from their abdomens. In other words, those Christians were literally being pissed on. When the investigator showed the Christians and pointed them to the bugs, did the Christians change their minds? Did they stop believing? Did their beliefs change according to the evidence? Did they feel embarrassed? No. They continued to pray and believe it was a miracle. They chose to deny facts and reality and believe anyway, because that is what faith demands: belief is more important than whether something is true or not. There is a saying in the South, “don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.” In other words, “don’t take me for a fool.” And yet, if a person adopts an epistemology of faith that demands you believe X regardless what the facts are, they can be literally pissed on and will praise it as rain. This is why faith demands we “fool ourselves.”
Gentempo responds to that with, “so basically, when you talk in terms of conviction, it sort of alludes to a conclusion that is a by-product of an intellectual process that’s reasons that gets me there, and that is why you might be misrepresenting when you are really saying when you say faith.” Koukl says “that’s exactly right.”
These guys try desperately to paint their beliefs were reached based on intellect and reason, too bad for them that they can’t hide the stink.
While the human brain has to process thoughts and input data, such as when you hear the “good news” you have to take time to fathom it. But how do believers end up believing it? It’s not “I reasoned my way to faith,” it’s “faith demanded that I believe yet not seen, and believe with conviction against all reason.”
“Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but — more frequently than not — struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”
“There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason…Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.”
“Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and wish to know nothing but the word of God.”
“Reason should be destroyed in all Christians.”
“Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his Reason.” –
– Martin Luther
“Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.” –
– William Lane Criag
“It will never be lawful to restrict inspiration merely to certain parts of the holy scripture, or to grant that the sacred writer could have made a mistake. Nor may the opinion of those be tolerated, who, in order to get out of these difficulties, do not hesitate to suppose that Divine inspiration extends only so what touches faith and morals, on the false plea that the true meaning is sought for less in what God has said that in the motive for which He has said it… They render in exact language, with infallible truth, all that God commanded and nothing else; without that, God would not be the author of scripture in its entirety.”
– Pope Leo the 13th
This is a statement that is more subtle; whether you believe it matters more whether if it is true or not.
“If the Bible had said that Jonah swallowed the whale, I would believe it.” he also said, “If we have to give up religion or education, we should give up education.” – William James Bryan
The Founder of Protestantism, one of America’s top Christian apologists, a Pope, and a presidential candidate all reveal to us what Koukl and Gentempo try to cover up: faith is irrational, it demands belief over facts, nor does it employ reason in order to become a Christian.
Later on, after awhile of back and forth, discussing things like sharing their beliefs have grown strong that they cannot will themselves to believe otherwise, when we finally get to the meat of the exchange that examines the things that made their beliefs strong, such as when he told his daughter why they believe in God, Koukl answers, “we believe in God is true is because God is the best explanation for the way things are. In other words, there is explanatory power in the Christian worldview, it helps us make sense of the whole world.“
Does Koukl seriously think Christianity is the first and only faith known to humankind with explanatory power that helped humans make sense of the world?
Ugh, HELLLLOOOOOOO!!!! EVERY religion has explanatory power to make the world make sense of the world. When the Greeks didn’t know what made thunder and lightning, the Greek mythology helped explain where lightning came from (Zeus) as well as the rest of the universe. It helped them make sense where evil came from, or where diseases came from (Pandoras Box). It helped them explain the earthquakes and tides (Poseidon).
Every religion has explanatory power, that is what they are for! They are meant to explain everything from creation to the purpose and destiny of humans as well as where they go after death.
Seriously, these apologists need to read a damn book. Or travel. Or just step outside of their churches and walk over to a Mosque, or a Hare Krishna temple. Or go to a Scientology building. Yeah, I hope Gentempo and Koukl go to a Scientology building (cuz I dislike these two that much).
Gentempo notes “This is the interesting thing, you are talking about a rational approach. You are basically saying that reason supports your view, not that you have to cast away your reason.”
An ancient Greek could “reason” his way to belief in a pantheon of gods. “How does the sun move? Someone must make it move.” To Gentempo and Koukl, and their audience, it might seem reasonable to ask a basic question like how the sun moves, and from there speculate that someone must make the sun move because humans have a tendency to project and personify objects and forces — but in reality that was an unreasonable step, because they assumed the answer was a “someone” instead of asking “what” was making the sun move. So when you operate under a unreasonable approach for answers to explain the unknown, you end up with unreasonable beliefs. This is how the Greeks believed that the sun was literally pulled through the sky by a flying chariot drawn by flying horses. This is how the Aztecs believed that the gods made the sun move, so long as the blood sacrifices kept rolling out. This is how Christians believe that the Sun was created magically by a undetectable, for the lack of a better word, sky wizard. If they used reason in their search for answers, they just might arrive at the realization that no one makes the sun move. Rather, it’s the Earth that is moving, spinning in space on an axis while orbiting the sun.
Flat Earthers can claim that they reached their beliefs based on reason. Their reason goes as follows: “I believe the Bible, the Bible is true, the Bible claims the Earth is flat, therefore I believe the Earth is flat.” Now that is a reasonable in a sense that it follows accordingly, but what makes it unreasonable is each step does not align with reality. The Bible is full of holes that does not align with cosmology. Yes the Bible does say there is a firmament and describes the Earth as flat like the base of a snow globe. But the point is that the Bible got that wrong and more. So to believe in something that does not align with reality makes the whole shebang an unreasonable belief.
And this is not just limited to Flat Earthers, but theists in general. Claiming to apply reason and come to reach a belief system that does not align with reality makes it by definition a unreasonable belief. And what makes theism an unreasonable belief is simple: lack of evidence for God.
Think I’m wrong? Then prove your God. It’s that simple.
Koukl however, has tried to, skip the “prove God” part since the burden of proof lies on him to argue that atheists already know there is a God.
For the record, using Romans 1 is fallacious. Romans 1 is another example of one of the many ways religions try to make it look like they’ve back you into a corner. “Look at the trees, the clouds, the seas… they clearly exist, so someone had to have made it.” Using Nature itself to claim as proof that their God exists. Christianity is not the only religion that can play that game. Like I said, it’s a common tactic. Just look at Islam. They don’t use Nature, they say the fact that YOU exist proves Allah. In Islam there is the Primordial Covenant, in which it claims that before you existed Allah created your soul. Before your soul entered Earth, you vowed to Allah that he is the one true God, and when you die and return you cannot claim ignorance or “excuse” yourself by claiming that you were raised by the wrong faith by your parents. Hard to argue that you don’t exist, so Islam has backed you into a corner and claimed you are without excuse to deny Allah.
Or how about something a little more modern: Scientology. Scientology is full of weird beliefs, one of which is that they ask people if they have had or have any negative emotions, stress, fears, or even the occasional bad days. This undeniably happens to everyone. And the Scientologists claim that these things are caused by thetans infesting your soul and you need to be audited. Look at that, Scientology backed you into a corner and offered your the solution.
It’s the same game, different theologies. They can’t all be right, but they can all be wrong. So when the Bible claims that you are “without excuse,” it’s dead wrong. A God that fails to provide sufficient evidence of it’s presence is without excuse. I would expect the greatest conceivable being to have that the theistic conception of god clearly does not have. I would expect the greatest conceivable being would be whose existence nobody could deny. That’s clearly not true with Yahweh.
After some exchanges about morality (Koukl rejects “moral relativism” cuz therefore there is no morality, in favor of objective morality) Koukl eventually makes this comment regarding the speech people use, “When a parent tells their kids “don’t act like animals.” Why do you say that? If we are just animals, and let’s say that Darwinian project tells the whole story, why not treat other people like animals? See I think people say this because they have an intuitive sense that man is special in the system in a way no materialistic Darwinistic schema can account for.“
“Let’s say that Darwinian–” okay stop. There is no “let’s say.” There is “this is the fact.” We don’t say “let’s say that gravity can tell us how the moon orbits around the Earth.” This isn’t a matter of guessing or speculation, gravity is a fact, just as the theory of evolution is a fact of biology.
Regardless if Koukl likes it or not, accepts it or not, the fact is inescapable: We are animals. We animals uniquely capable in appreciating reasons to do some things and not others, capable of rationally assessing the consequences and justifications of our actions and beliefs. Whereas certain religions traditionally use moral language to divide, control and frighten people to obedience, there is a more appropriate and principled function for morality: to ease the challenges of coexistence. In a world of finite resources, each of us with different interests and desires, societies in which individuals coordinate different talents and develop effective ways to promote flourishing and harmonious living and minimizing conflict and needless suffering, will tend to be happier, more peaceful and more productive than those who don’t. Because we live in continuous changing world with new kinds of moral problems being generated all the time there is much harmful ignorance yet to overcome, there is an ongoing need to develop and redefine our moral understanding.
Later on Koukl goes on to share the “little dots” that he connected on his journey. He concluded that there is a God, and God created everything. Since he made everything, everything belongs to him (King owns the kingdom), and when Koukl gets to human beings, Koukl says that human beings are special and unique compared to the other animals. Koukl notes it’s not because humans have souls, Koukl says animals have souls too. Koukl says “it’s the kind of souls that humans have. We have a soul that bears the imprint of God himself. We are like God in a certain fashion, and this allows us to be the kind of creature in friendship with God, just as you and I can have a friendship than Fido or Fluffly. Some people prefer those relationships, but it’s not the same gravity of relationship that humans can have.”
A) Where is the scientific proof that souls even exist?
B) Assuming that souls means mind, and our mind is “like God in a certain fashion,” that would at least require God to have a physical brain. Why? The jury in neuroscience and cognitive science is out on this one, the word “mind” is just another word that really means the brain.
So where is God’s brain?
After Koukl tries to paint Christianity as totally different from Islam because only in Christianity can humans have a friendship with the creator of the universe, Koukl then delves into the “rescue plan” part of Christianity. Koukl notes that friendships can be broken, “and that is what happened with our first parents, Adam and Eve.” Koukl says parents give strict rules and boundaries like “don’t do this or that” and there is punishments for breaking those rules, so Koukl points out that when Adam and Eve “rebelled against their sovereign, they broke the world. They broke their relationship with God, the friendship was severed, they broke their own souls, they broke their relationship with each other.” Oh, and now humans are slaves to a new master, Satan, and slaves to their own corrupted nature.
So much to unpackage here.
So God gets angry for the first humans for disobeying a rule of “don’t eat from that tree.” Given that the tree contained the fruit of good and evil, and the Bible teaches that when Adam and Eve consumed the fruit, they suddenly learned what good and evil meant. In other words, before they ate, they were created humans without the knowledge of right and wrong. Which means they could not have understood the consequences of their actions, they could not understand that it is bad to break a rule. Adam and Eve basically like toddlers. And God gets angry at them for not already knowing right from wrong? God gets angry at them for being tricked into breaking a rule?
Christian apologists love to point out that Adam and Eve were given free-will, but what they leave out is that they were not given the knowledge of right and wrong.
Let’s do a little experiment to help highlight who really is the bad guy in this creation myth.
If you have/want children, would you want them to have free will? Or would you rather have them be robots?
If you want your child to have free will, would you at least train them to understand right from wrong as early as possible? If so, what rationalization is there to make obtaining the knowledge of “right and wrong” from them? If you abstain the knowledge of “right and wrong” from them, and they break a rule, how can you justify punishing them for something they don’t understand — a problem you were the cause to begin with. What excuse is there to punish your child from finally obtaining the knowledge of “right and wrong”?
If you want them to have free will, do you as a parent bear responsibility protecting your children? Or is a parent completely absolved the moment they are born? When is it acceptable for a parent to say “when my child reaches the age of X, they are no longer my problem therefore I bear no responsibility of protecting them”? Or does a good parent never stop protecting their child regardless how old they are?
If a child “freely chooses” or is tricked by a mischievous person to wonder off toward the edge of a cliff, do you as a parent (who has the ability to help them) run over and save them, or do you do nothing and let them fall off the deep end? If a parent fails to act to save their children from a easily preventable death, wouldn’t that make them a terrible failure of a parent?
If you are a parent, do you at least protect your child from predators? (like the type that tempts your child to disobey your rules or trick them into eating poison?) And if you do have the responsibility to protect your child and but do nothing, what does that say about you?
If you are a parent, wouldn’t it be wise to at least give your child the tools to protect themselves from harm and evil before it strikes? (and if you are all-knowing and know what form evil takes, then you ought to know what to tell your child to guard themselves from, how to identify it, familiarize them with evil’s tactics so they will know how to protect themselves) For example, if you know scorpions are poisonous, you can tell your kids what they are, what they look like and how to avoid them. Parents warn their children to avoid suspicious strangers who offer them rides or candy, and to contact the authorities. How easy would it be to tell your children how to identify and avoid a suspicious stranger when you yourself created the suspicious stranger in the form of a talking snake?
If you are a parent, would you leave your toddler alone in a room with a large open canister full of rat poison? Wouldn’t you, as a responsible parent, remove the canister and/or place it elsewhere where your child couldn’t reach it? If you knew something was dangerous to your kids, why place it within reaching distance and leave it so accessible? A parent can easily move the canister into a locked garage. (and if you happen to be a god, why place a cursed tree in the same garden as your creations? Wouldn’t it be smarter to place the cursed tree on a far away island, or on freaking Mars?! Seriously, did I just out-smart God?)
Is God corruptible? If Christians answer no, then why make humans corruptible? Does God have free will? If Christians say yes, then they admit that a being can exist that is incorruptible, has free-will, yet still be considered good and holy. What excuse is there for a good, incorruptible agent to make imperfect corruptible creations? If an engineer designs something to fail, the blame falls on the engineer when the project fails.
In Isaac Asimov’s book “Runaround” two scientists travel to the planet Mercury. They need a vital supply of Selenium for life support. So they build a robot named Speedy, programmed with the 3 Laws of Robotics.
1) First Law – A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2) Second Law – A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) Third Law – A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
So they send Speedy out to get the Selenium. What should have been a quick mission, Speedy is gone for hours and hours, even though he has not stopped running. The scientists investigate, and they see Speedy running in circles near the pond of Selenium. It doesn’t take them long to realize the problem: Speedy is caught between Law 3 and Law 2. The closer Speedy gets the pool of Selenium, there are deadly gases that can hurt Speedy, so Law 3 forces him to run away. When he is safely far enough from the gases, Law 2 kicks in and Speedy must obey the orders of the scientists because if he does not get that Selenium, the humans will die.
The scientists eventually stop Speedy and take him back to their base. Back at base, Speedy starts to explode with anxiety, filled with intense fear of being judged and spills endless apologies. But the scientists repeatedly tell Speedy that it is not his fault. Speedy wasn’t the one who placed himself with flawed programming.
As humans, our brains are flawed. Our brains are hard wired through the amygdala to judge whether people are trustworthy in less then a second based ENTIRELY on the structures of a person’s face. This is one example of a hard-wired human bias. Psychologists have identified dozens of biases involving memory, visual recognition, decision making and social perception and behavior (bandwagon effect, Barnum effect, confirmation bias, outgroup homogeneity bias, outcome bias, distinction bias, trait ascription bias, and many more). ALL these things operate outside our awareness and out of our control. All of these things distort how we process reality. This isn’t some case of random birth defects or environmental accidents, this is normal brain functions in every human.
So, who is to blame for programming us this way? In Isaac Asimov’s “Runaround” Speedy’s designers come forth and apologize for Speedy’s flawed programming and they take responsibility, reassuring Speedy that he is not to blame. In the case of Christians who believe God made them as they are with flawed programming that mess with their perceptions of reality, shouldn’t their God step forward and do the same as the scientists in “Runaround” when they fixed Speedy’s programming?
No. In the Christian theology, all the blame is put on us humans. God takes no responsibility in creating us defecting and incorruptible. Even though we didn’t design ourselves with flawed programming, we are told we are flawed, it’s all our fault and thus we deserve to be punished.
The Christian theology is twisted.
On October 15, 2017, Koukl uploaded a video to Youtube titled “Are We Morally Free Creatures?” In this video, Greg raises several key points that not just shoots his theology in the foot, it blows off both it’s legs.
Koukl’s video focuses on the issue of human beings “created” as they were (prone to be sinners) and humans born “fallen” (born sinners). If human beings are “fallen,” i.e. born with a predisposition to sin, how can we be held responsible for our sins?
“If you wanted to” is a caveat here, because even if you can do what you want, as Schopenhaeur said you can’t want what you want, and according to the Bible, even wanting something you are not supposed to want is a sin. If you are born with sinful wants, how can you be morally free?
Koukl said the following: “If the ability to always do what is right, one might argue, is a superior kind of freedom. Okay. Because it is the freedom from sinning. That’s the kind of freedom that God seems to have. He can do good, he always does good, he can never sin. That’s a good thing. In my view, at least, that’s the kind of moral we’ll have when we get into Heaven. When we see him, we shall be like him because we will see him as he is. And frankly, that’s the kind of moral freedom that I want. I don’t want this kind of moral freedom, when I could’ve done otherwise, I could sin. I want to be done with that.”
If that’s the better moral freedom, then why did this supposedly all-powerful all-knowing all-loving God not give us that kind of freedom in the first place instead of giving us the freedom to sin?
Also, if seeing God would make us be more like him and never sin again, then why not appear to humankind?
The Bible says that Adam and Eve, after they ate the forbidden fruit, they hid from God when we walked into the Garden, but when God told them to reveal themselves, why didn’t just “seeing” God purge them of any sinful will they gained from eating the forbidden fruit??? The problem of sin and being “fallen” would have been wiped clean the nanosecond Adam and Eve gazed upon God walking into the garden, and a all-knowing being like God would know that, but didn’t help Adam and Eve. Seriously, what in the actual Hell?
The Bible says that Moses saw God face to face, but that didn’t stop Moses from eventually killing 3,000 Jews despite murder being a sin.
Koukl goes on to talk about the “rescue plan.” “God steps down, God gets low, God comes in among us and becomes a man–never ceasing to be God, but now taking onto his divinity and also humanity in the person of Jesus Christ.“
If God knew that he had to sacrifice himself unto himself to appease himself to forgive humans for breaking a rule he created, then why didn’t he do it the minute after Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden? Why did he wait several millenia later to fix the problem? This whole “sin” and “sinful nature” could have been cleaned up before Cain and Abel were born, but God decided to wait. Not only did he decide to wait (for whatever reason), instead of saving humanity, he tried to extinguish humanity with a Flood. What’s the point of that? He could’ve saved humanity or spare them, but God wanted death. A lot of it. Just as when God separated the waters during the Exodus, when the Egyptian armies chased the Israelites to kill them, God could have closed the waters right before the Egyptians reached the coast. But rather God decided to wait, he waited until the Egyptians were inside the parted seas, and then he collapsed the seas onto the Egyptians and wiped them out.
He could have come down to Earth as Jesus Christ and saved everyone at Sodom and Gomorrah. Christian apologists say that God loves all humans, so why instead of trying to save the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, he annihilates them. He could have come down, did some miracles, convert the whole towns within a week in he wanted to, but this “all-loving” God resulted to destruction and death. This is the same God who, rather then trying to save people of the city of Tophet, decided to manipulate the world in such a manner that would force the inhabitants to eat their own children.
Where is the rescue plan???? Imagine how scared the children were, imagine their terror and pain. Where was God? Where was the rescue plan from this so-called all-knowing all-loving God who wants us to be with him and have a relationship with him?
This is the bloodthirsty “God” that Koukl and believers like him desperately want to have a “relationship slash friendship” with. Unfortunately for Koukl, such a being cannot exist. An all-powerful omnipresent omnibenevolent God allowing and manipulating parents to eat their own children is internally logically contradictory.
Koukl then says that Jesus was all good, we were all bad, so Jesus made a trade. “In those three hours of darkness that shrouded the Cross, he took all the punishment that we deserve for our crimes against God, our rap sheet was nailed to his cross so that now we could be forgiven because Jesus paid the price.”
A) There was no three hours of darkness. We know this for a fact.
total solar eclipses can only last a little bit past 7 minutes but no longer then 8 minutes. Not 3 hours. The gospel claiming that there was a total solar eclipse for 3 hours breaks the laws of physics just as much as the Old Testament claiming that the sun stopped in the sky at noon for several hours. Since total solar eclipses can’t last longer 8 minutes, that means Mark 15:33’s claim that there was a 3 hour solar total eclipse is wrong by a margin of 99.96%.
(Source: Mark Littman; Fred Espenak; Ken Wilcox (2008). “A Quest to Understand”. Totality: Eclipses of the Sun. (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press Inc. ISBN 0-19-953209-5. “Eclipse expert Jean Meeus calculates the maximum possible eclipse duration of totality in a solar eclipse is currently 7 minutes 32 seconds.”)
That’s what physics proves, what does history prove? Well, there was a total solar eclipse in the 1st century Israel…. except it happened 4 years BEFORE Jesus was supposedly crucified.
B) For an eternal being, dying for three days is not much of a sacrifice. If Jesus stayed in Hell permanently and be tormented forever while everyone else goes to Heaven, THEN that would be a meaningful sacrifice. If Jesus was God, 48 hours of torment in Hell is NOTHING to an eternal being like God. Plus Jesus was crucified by people who didn’t agree with his contemporary blasphemy, knowing that he was a god, was taken off the cross just a few hours later, supposedly dead, rose from the dead and is now in heaven. Plenty of people have suffered worse tortures throughout history, and have not gotten to become God in the bargain.
C) If Jesus died in a meaningful way, it raises another theological problem: Did the trinity only have two members for a time?
D) The whole “Jesus paid the price for your crime” is often compared to vicarious redemption by Christian apologists. Let’s pretend that our justice system operated just like the Christian paradigm. How would we react when a judge is about to sentence a convict guilty of pedophilia, child rape and murdering a dozen kids when all the sudden the judge says “If you worship me, I will forgive you of all your crimes by paying the fine for you” or what if that judge agreed to subject himself to the convicts prison sentence and allowed the convict to go free? Would we consider that justice? If the convict committed a horrible crime against the victim, would the victim accept that? Would we allow a judge to do that? Obviously not. If Hitler accepted Jesus before he died and went to Heaven, would that be acceptable?
The whole “rescue plan” as put by Koukl and Christianity as a whole does not follow justice, it only follows the logic of scapegoats and “Get-out-of-jail Free Cards.”
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to draw up a more ethical system then the Biblical one. How about this: before you get into Heaven, you have to first get in a long line behind all the people you wronged in life.
Christopher Hitchens argued for a variant of the argument from justice that attempts to undermine substitutionary atonement. It loosely is: “If you are in trouble, I can pay your debt. I can even serve your sentence in jail. If I feel especially kind I may even walk to the gallows in your place. But none of this will absolve you of personal responsibility for committing the wrong or immoral act.” In every case, this is what we see with Christianity. A rapist can have a deathbed conversion, be washed of his sin, and enter heaven with eternal reward. While a person who has led a kind life, but does not believe in Christ, will be tortured eternally. This is not justice. This is people casting their worries and guilt upon an animal, and running it out of the village to die in the desert or wilderness, as in old times. This situation of Jesus dying for our sins is so indicative of it’s time: blood sacrifices to absolve wrong. How does something bleeding right your wrong?
Koukl says if we do not accept Jesus, we will be eternally “separated” from God, and that will bee Hell “in other words, that will be torment. That’s part of it. Forever.”
Yeah, separated WHERE?
Separation requires a physical isolated spot. What what is this spot? According to Christian theology, it isn’t an isolation room, it is the worst torture chamber in reality built by the same being that Koukl wants us to love and praise.
Even if agreed that the spot is not a torture room, what’s the difference considering that Koukl admitted the separation alone will be “torment.” And not just that, we will be tormented forever.
Humans are finite beings, we only live a finite life, which means there are a finite number of things we can do that is considered bad. So what could possibly justify an infinite punishment for a finite crime? There is none, it is philosophically and logically immoral to the infinite degree.
Koukl eventually address the Problem of Evil, and says it’s not a problem for just Christians, it’s a problem for everyone. Koukl claims he knows some atheists who became atheists because of the problem of evil, to which he pretty much asked, “what did that solve?” Being an atheist doesn’t make the problem go away. Koukl then asks how does one account for the problem of evil “given the resources materialism gives for you?… I don’t think that atheists can even make sense of the problem itself much less offer a solution.”
Atheism and materialism are not the same thing. One is the lack of belief, while the other is a philosophical belief system—which is actually blind to morality. Another thing that Koukl missed is that we all have a built-in desire to survive via evolution, and if we all want to survive, this leads us to care about the survival of others. In materialism in and of itself, there is no reason to preserve ourselves (we do not need to eat or breathe) but we do anyway. Materialism does not care if we go one way or the other, it is blind to whether you want to starve yourself or not. If a person did not have the desire to preserve themselves, they probably won’t last very long. However, imposing judgment upon other material things is simply taking the self-preservation motivation in ourselves a step further. The whole well-being of societies depends on the actions and behaviors of others. So if you are concerned about yourself, logic follows that you have to and will be concerned about the behavior of others. A society of people who do not care about others, particularly themselves, will destroy themselves. Evolution selects for the best non-destructive means to preservation, and this includes individuals understanding the consequences for misbehaving—and that is where judgment comes into this. Secular morality may not have “oughts” but rather results which help us determine the best standard of living, as well as consequences and our responsibility to address it. Also, while the brain is a material thing, it contains material neurons called “Mirror neurons” which mimic the activity of other parts of the brain or of other brains. This provides a literal biological foundation for empathy: individuals with mirror neurons, including humans and other primates, can actually feel what others feel. (Thomas S. May, “Terms of Empathy: Your Pain in My Pain——If You Play Fair Game,” ”Brain Work” 16 (May—June 2006): 3) As already stated, each human has a sense of self-preservation as well as a desire to avoid harm. With these material neurons, we have insight into the feelings and desires we share with others, which in turn makes us kind, sharing, and helpful towards each other.
Koukl brings up Bertrand Russell who asked how can anyone kneel by the bedside of a dying child and pray to God. Koukl says that is powerful rhetoric that he didn’t know how to respond to, until he heard William Lane Craig provide a response, which was basically “oh yeah, what is the atheist going to say to the dying kid? Tough luck?” No silver lining?
Would it make Koukl and WLC feel better if every atheist knelt by a dying child and told them, “you weren’t baptized kid, you’re going to Hell. You’re going to burn forever. Tough luck.”
How would they feel if their kids were dying, I managed to sneak into the hospital room where they are staying, and I told them straight to their faces that they are going to Hell? I can tell the kid he was bad, or not baptized, or not a Muslim, or for any reason I can pull out of the air. Would Koukl rather I tell them that, or would he rather I tell the kid “do not fear anything. When people die, they are at peace”? (No silver lining, my ass!)
Koukl can only choose one of the two: I can tell the kid he’s going to Hell or will be at peace. Let Koukl pick, and he can’t bitch when I do the very thing he picked me to say.
Koukl says “that’s all that atheists have, they are forced into a suffocating silence in the presence of evil because their worldview cannot make sense of it.”
Atheism is not a worldview. It’s like saying “Not-believing-in-leprechauns” or “not-collecting-stamps” must offer metaphysical answers to big questions?
From a philosophical standpoint, can a secular world account for the presence of evil? Absolutely. There are “natural” evils such as wild fires, hurricanes, and diseases that kill people. As for why humans behave unethically, there are a myriad of reasons. For starters, people can be Sociopaths and Psychopaths.
Koukl says that while they may not have all the “why did God do X” questions answered, it’s fine because “we’ve got the big picture, and the big picture that we have for Christianity makes sense.” He says it’s comprehensible, and “certainly much better than any atheist accounting.” He ends by claiming that the problem of evil is one of the best arguments in favor of the existence of God and consequently in favor of Christian theism.
Apparently the whole point of the Problem of Evil flew right over Koukl’s head: the point is that if there is an omnibenevoleent God, evil would not exist, yet it does, ergo God is not omnibenevolent (which makes Christianity a lie) or there is no God.
Even if we ignore that, what cannot be ignored is that Koukl’s idea of the solution to the problem of evil is a God threatening us with eternal torment if we do not worship him.
Koukl has tried to argue that God is not “threatening” us, but he has admitted it in the past. (Watch the above video by Logicked)
Gentempo notes that theism may be the psychological support a person can rely on in times of evil.
What good is “psychological support” when you’re about to be gassed? What good is it when the basis of that “psychological support” is that there is a powerful being that loves you, plans everything, answers prayers, promises to protect you from evil, yet is absolutely nowhere when you face extermination?
Only apologists can twist delusions as a good thing.
Koukl then shares that she did a conference once and make a claim that he knows to be universally true, even if they don’t share it with other people: everyone suffers from Bad Self Image. Koukl calls that the Human Condition. “We look insides ourselves and see something that is broken. And it’s moral. Something bad in there, we don’t want to tell other people about it.” Koukl says when we reflect on our moral brokenness, what do we feel? He answers Guilt. Why do we feel guilty? Maybe it’s culture. Koukl suggests: “maybe we feel guilty, because we are guilty. Is that in the running? Is that possible?” Now that Koukl says he found the problem, next step is finding a solution, to which he answered, “the solution to guilty is not denial–that’s relativism–the answer for guilt is forgiveness.”
Remember earlier when I brought up Speedy the robot from Isaac Asimov’s “Runaround“? It was the scientists that made Speedy flawed. After failing his mission, caused by his flawed programming, Speedy nevertheless felt bad about not fulfilling his mission and felt anxious about being judged for his failures. He kept apologizing, but the scientists reassured him it was not his fault, the blame rests solely on the scientists who made him flawed. Speedy cannot be blamed for something outside of his control, after all he did not make himself flawed, but the scientists did.
Christianity says that God created humans flawed, imperfect and corruptible… yet we are supposed to feel guilty?
Under Christian theology, we humans are just like Speedy, built flawed and we cannot escape our programming. The person at fault were the scientists, likewise under Christian theology the one at fault is God. So if there is anyone to pass on forgiveness to others, it’s not God. God is the one who created humans flawed in a hostile imperfect world, and we suffer as a result. Under this theology, the ones passing forgiveness ought to be humans deciding to forgive God, not the other way around.
Under Christianity theology, the very being who should be the one begging non-stop for forgiveness is instead the one literally threatening all humans with eternal torment if we don’t love him and accept him. He is literally holding humanity over a torture pit and telling us that he is “kind.”
Third Interviewees: Moshe & Yuval Lufan
The brothers who discovered the “Jesus boat” in 1986.
Revealed Films decided to squeeze in these two fisherman in the last ~10 minutes to share their story that they found a boat in the Sea of Galilee.
When they found the boat, they say it started raining and a rainbow appeared, which they said felt like a sign that “the boat belonged to someone, and they were giving them permission to see it.”
The “Mendel Nun” who examined it said they have never found wood in the Kinneret, so this was a unique find. It has 12 different kinds of wood, which is likely due to repairs with whatever wood was in the area of the time.
Yuval says that before they found the boat, he did not believe in God, but afterward he did. Which is an odd thing to say considering that Yuval admitted in the interview that he prayed time and time again before the discovery, such as praying to find more coins in the water.
In that entire interview, they never ever once provide any indication, not one iota of proof, that the “Jesus boat” really belonged to Jesus let alone he ever set foot in it. Not even his initials carved into the side.
Seriously, what was the bloody point??????????????????????????????????
Congrats Revealed Films, you found a couple of guys who found a boat and have made a living convincing people that it is some kind of holy relic and taking money from tourists.
You might as well find us a guy who claims that he found the shoes of Jesus and started his own tourist attraction.
Why not just show us the lady who found Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich? Seriously, it would make just as much sense as this ending.