Welcome to Fundies Say the Darndest Things

You’re looking at an archive of the most hilarious, bizarre, ignorant, bigoted, and terrifying quotes from fundies all over the internet.

Random quoteTop quotesLatest commentsFAQ

Friends of FSTDT: The Brick TestamentThe Church of the Flying Spaghetti MonsterThe Cult Education InstituteDeath of ExpertiseFeministingThe Friendly AtheistMetabunkRationalWikiReligious ToleranceRight Wing WatchThe Skeptic’s Annotated BibleSnopesThe Southern Poverty Law CenterTalk OriginsThink ProgressThe United States Humane SocietyWe Hunted the MammothWonkette
Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "What is the gospel of inclusion?"

Answer: The gospel of inclusion is simply the old heresy of universalism re-packaged and given a new name. Universalism is the belief that all people will eventually be saved and go to heaven. The gospel of inclusion, as taught by Carlton Pearson and others, encompasses several false beliefs:

(1) The gospel of inclusion says that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ paid the price for all of humanity to enjoy eternal life in heaven without any need for repentance.

(2) The gospel of inclusion teaches that salvation is unconditional and does not even require faith in Jesus Christ as the payment for mankind’s sin debt.

(3) The gospel of inclusion believes that all humanity is destined to life in heaven whether or not they realize it.

(4) The gospel of inclusion declares that all humanity will go to heaven regardless of religious affiliation.

(5) Lastly, the gospel of inclusion holds that only those who intentionally and consciously reject the grace of God—after having “tasted the fruit” of His grace—will spend eternity separated from God.

The gospel of inclusion runs counter to the clear teachings of Jesus and the Bible. In John’s Gospel, Jesus clearly states that the only path to salvation is through Him (John 14:6). God sent Jesus into the world to secure salvation for fallen humanity, but that salvation is only available to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ as God’s payment for their sin (John 3:16). The apostles echo this message (Ephesians 2:8–9; 1 Peter 1:8–9; 1 John 5:13). Faith in Jesus Christ means no longer trying to secure salvation based on works, but rather trusting that what Jesus did was sufficient to secure salvation.

In conjunction with faith is repentance. The two go hand-in-hand. Repentance is a change of mind about your sin and need for salvation through Christ by faith (Acts 2:38). The act of repentance is one in which we acknowledge that, before God, we’re sinners incapable of earning our way to salvation. When we repent of our sins, we turn away from them and seek Christ by faith.

Jesus offers salvation to everyone who is willing to repent and believe (John 3:16). However, Jesus Himself said that not everyone will believe (Matthew 7:13-14; John 3:19). No one likes to think that a loving and gracious God would send people to hell, but that is exactly what the Bible teaches. Jesus says that, at the end, the Son of Man will separate all the nations as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep (representing those who through faith in Jesus Christ have salvation secured) will go into the kingdom with Jesus. The goats (representing those who have rejected the salvation that Jesus offers) will go into hell, which is described as eternal fire (Matthew 25:31–46).

This teaching offends many, and, instead of conforming their thinking to the clear teaching of the Word of God, some change what the Bible says and spread this false teaching. The gospel of inclusion is an example of this.

Here are some additional arguments against the gospel of inclusion:

(1) If faith and repentance are not required to receive the gift of salvation, then why is the New Testament full of calls to repent and place your faith in Jesus Christ?

(2) If salvation doesn’t require faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, then why did Jesus submit to such a humiliating and excruciatingly painful death? God could have just granted everyone a “divine pardon.”

(3) If everyone is going to go to heaven whether they realize it or not, then what about free will? Is the atheist who has spent his life rejecting God, the Bible, Jesus, and Christianity going to be dragged into heaven, kicking and screaming against his will? The gospel of inclusion seems to indicate that heaven will be filled with people who don’t necessarily want to be there.

(4) How can all people go to heaven regardless of religious affiliation if there are many religions which hold contradictory claims? For example, what about people who believe completely different things about the afterlife, such as reincarnation or annihilationism (i.e., the idea that at death we cease to exist after death)?

(5) Finally, if those who openly reject the grace of God don’t go to heaven, then it’s hardly a gospel of inclusion, is it? If all people do not go to heaven, do not call it the gospel of inclusion, because it still excludes some.

The apostle Paul called the message of the gospel the “fragrance of death” (2 Corinthians 2:16). What he meant by this is that, to many, the message of the gospel is offensive. It tells people the truth about their sin and hopeless state without Christ. It tells people that there is nothing they can do to bridge the gap between themselves and God. For centuries, there have been those (many with good intentions) who have attempted to soften the message of the gospel to get more people into church. On the surface, that seems like the wise thing to do, but in the end all it does is give people a false sense of security. Paul said that anyone who preaches a different gospel than the one he preached should be cursed (Galatians 1:8). That is strong language, but once you realize how vitally important the message of the gospel is, you also realize how vitally important it is to get it right. A false gospel doesn’t save anyone. All it does is condemn more people to hell and generate greater condemnation for those who purvey falsehoods such as the gospel of inclusion.

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Why did God allow Solomon to have 1,000 wives and concubines?"

Answer: First Kings 11:3 states that Solomon “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines.” Obviously, God “allowed” Solomon to have these wives, but allowance is not the same as approval. Solomon’s marital decisions were in direct violation of God’s Law, and there were consequences.

Solomon started out well early in his life, listening to the counsel of his father, David, as recorded in 1 Kings 2:2-3, “Be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” Solomon’s early humility is shown in 1 Kings 3:5-9 when he requests wisdom from the Lord. Wisdom is applied knowledge; it helps us make decisions that honor the Lord and agree with the Scriptures. Solomon’s book of Proverbs is filled with practical counsel on how to follow the Lord. Solomon also wrote the Song of Solomon, which presents a beautiful picture of what God intends marriage to be. So, King Solomon knew what was right, even if he didn’t always follow the right path.

Over time, Solomon forgot his own counsel and the wisdom of Scripture. God had given clear instructions for anyone who would be king: no amassing of horses, no multiplying of wives, and no accumulating of silver and gold (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). These commands were designed to prevent the king from trusting in military might, following foreign gods, and relying on wealth instead of on God. Any survey of Solomon’s life will show that he broke all three of these divine prohibitions!

Thus, Solomon’s taking of many wives and concubines was in direct violation of God’s Word. Just as God had predicted, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God” (1 Kings 11:4). To please his wives, Solomon even got involved in sacrificing to Milcom (or Molech), a god that required “detestable” acts to be performed (1 Kings 11:7-8).

God allowed Solomon to make the choice to disobey, but Solomon’s choice brought inevitable consequences. “So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates’” (1 Kings 11:11). God showed mercy to Solomon for David’s sake (verse 12), but Solomon’s kingdom was eventually divided. Another chastisement upon Solomon was war with the Edomites and Aramians (verses 14-25).

Solomon was not a puppet king. God did not force him to do what was right. Rather, God laid out His will, blessed Solomon with wisdom, and expected the king to obey. In his later years, Solomon chose to disobey, and he was held accountable for his decisions.

It is instructive that, toward the end of Solomon’s life, God used him to write one more book, which we find in the Bible. The book of Ecclesiastes gives us “the rest of the story.” Solomon throughout the book tells us everything he tried in order to find fulfillment apart from God in this world, or “under the sun.” This is his own testimony: “I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired . . . a harem as well–the delights of the heart of man” (Ecclesiastes 2:8). But his harem did not bring happiness. Instead, “Everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (verse 11). At the conclusion of Ecclesiastes, we find wise counsel: “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man” (12:13).”

It is never God’s will that anyone sin, but He does allow us to make our own choices. The story of Solomon is a powerful lesson for us that it does not pay to disobey. It is not enough to start well; we must seek God’s grace to finish well, too. Life without God is a dead-end street. Solomon thought that having 1,000 wives and concubines would provide happiness, but whatever pleasure he derived was not worth the price he paid. As a wiser Solomon said, “God will bring every deed into judgment” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "What was the relationship between David and Jonathan?"

Answer: We know from 1 Samuel 18:1 that Jonathan loved David. Second Samuel 1:26 records David’s lament after Jonathan’s death, in which he said that his love for Jonathan was more wonderful than the love of a woman. Some use these two passages to suggest a homosexual relationship between David and Jonathan. This interpretation, however, should be rejected for at least three reasons.

First, the Hebrew word for “love” used here is not the typical word used for sexual activity. This word for “love” has clear political and diplomatic connotations (see 1 Samuel 16:21 and 1 Kings 5:1). Second, David’s comparison of his relationship with Jonathan with that of women is probably a reference to his experience with King Saul’s daughter. He was promised one of Saul’s daughters for killing Goliath. But Saul continued to add conditions upon this marriage with the underlying desire to have David killed in battle (1 Samuel 18:17, 25). The love David had received from Jonathan was greater than anything he could have received from Saul’s daughter. Third, the Bible clearly and consistently denounces homosexuality (Genesis 1:26-27; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:18-25). Extolling a homosexual love between David and Jonathan would be contradicting the prohibitions of it found throughout the Bible.

The friendship between David and Jonathan was a covenantal relationship. In 1 Samuel 18:1-5, we read of David and Jonathan forming an agreement. In this agreement, Jonathan was to be second in command in David’s future reign, and David was to protect Jonathan’s family (1 Samuel 20:16-17, 42; 23:16-18).

Obviously, these two men were also very good friends. In their relationship we can see at least three qualities of true friendship. First, they sacrificed for one another. In 1 Samuel 18:4, we read that Jonathan gave David his clothes and military garb. The significance of this gift was that Jonathan recognized that David would one day be king of Israel. Rather than being envious or jealous, Jonathan submitted to God’s will and sacrificed his own right to the throne. Second, in 1 Samuel 19:1-3, we read of Jonathan’s loyalty toward and defense of David. King Saul told his followers to kill David. Jonathan rebuked his father and recalled David’s faithfulness to him in killing Goliath. Finally, Jonathan and David were also free to express their emotions with one another. In 1 Samuel 20, we read of a plan concocted by Jonathan to reveal his father’s plans toward David. Jonathan was going to practice his archery. If he told his servant that the arrows he shot were to the side of the target, David was safe. If Jonathan told his servant that the arrows were beyond the target, David was to leave and not return. Jonathan told the servant that the arrows were beyond the target, meaning that David should flee. After releasing his servant, Jonathan found David and the two men cried together.

Rather than being evidence for a homosexual relationship in the Bible, the account of David and Jonathan is an example of true biblical friendship. True friendship, according to the Bible, involves loyalty, sacrifice, compromise, and yes, emotional attachment. That is what we should learn from David and Jonathan. The idea that the only person in the Bible described as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), was a practicing homosexual (or bisexual) is ridiculous and has no true biblical basis.

Show post

Michael Houdmann #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Why is the idea of eternal damnation so repulsive to many people?"

Answer: In the shifting winds of modern cultures, the idea of everlasting torment and damnation is difficult for many people to grasp. Why is this? The Bible makes it clear that hell is a literal place. Christ spoke more about hell than He did of heaven. Not only Satan and his minions will be punished there, everyone who rejects Jesus Christ will spend eternity right along with them. A desire to reject or revise the doctrine of hell will not mitigate its flames or make the place go away. Still, the idea of eternal damnation is spurned by many, and here are some reasons for it:

The influence of contemporary thought. In this postmodern era, many go to great lengths to assure no one is offended, and the biblical doctrine of hell is considered offensive. It is too harsh, too old-fashioned, too insensitive. The wisdom of this world is focused on this life, with no thought of the life to come.

Fear. Never-ending, conscious punishment devoid of any hope is indeed a frightening prospect. Many people would rather ignore the source of fear than face it and deal with it biblically. The fact is, hell should be frightening, considering it is the place of judgment originally created for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

A flawed view of God’s love. Many who reject the idea of eternal damnation do so because they find it difficult to believe that a loving God could banish people to a place as horrific as hell for all eternity. However, God’s love does not negate His justice, His righteousness, or His holiness. Neither does His justice negate His love. In fact, God’s love has provided the way to escape His wrath: the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 3:16-18).

A downplaying of sin. Some find it shockingly unfair that the recompense for a mere lifetime of sinning should be an eternal punishment. Others reject the idea of hell because, in their minds, sin isn’t all that bad. Certainly not bad enough to warrant eternal torture. Of course, it is usually our own sin that we downplay; other people might deserve hell—murderers and the like. This attitude reveals a misunderstanding of the universally heinous nature of sin. The problem is an insistence on our own basic goodness, which precludes thoughts of a fiery judgment and denies the truth of Romans 3:10 (“There is no one righteous, not even one”). The egregiousness of iniquity compelled Christ to the cross. God hated sin to death.

Aberrant theories. Another reason people reject the concept of eternal damnation is that they have been taught alternative theories. One such theory is universalism, which says that everyone will eventually make it to heaven. Another theory is annihilationism, in which the existence of hell is acknowledged, but its eternal nature is denied. Annihilationists believe that those who end up in hell will eventually die and cease to exist (i.e., they will be annihilated). This theory simply makes hell a temporary punishment. Both these theories are presented as viable options to the biblical teaching on hell; however, both make the mistake of placing human opinion over divine revelation.

Incomplete teaching. Many contemporary pastors who do believe in the doctrine of hell consider it simply too delicate a subject to preach on. This further contributes to the modern denial of hell. Congregants in churches where hell is not preached are ignorant of what the Bible says on the subject and are prime candidates for deception on the issue. A pastor’s responsibility is “to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3), not pick and choose what parts of the Bible to leave out.

Satan’s ploys. Satan’s first lie was a denial of judgment. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent told Eve, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). It is still one of Satan’s main tactics. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the blindness he produces includes a denial of God’s holy decrees. Convince the unsaved that there is no judgment, and they can “eat, drink and be merry” with no care for the future.

If we understand the nature of our Creator, we should have no difficulty understanding the concept of hell. “[God] is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4, emphasis added). His desire is that no one perish but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

To contradict the Bible’s teaching on hell is to say, essentially, “If I were God, I would not make hell like that.” The problem with such a mindset is its inherent pride—it smugly suggests that we can improve on God’s plan. However, we are not wiser than God; we are not more loving or more just. Rejecting or revising the biblical doctrine of hell carries a sad irony, which one writer put this way: “The only result of attempts, however well meaning, to air-condition hell is to assure that more and more people wind up there.”

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Is the universe eternal?"

Answer: The Bible makes it clear that the universe is not eternal, that it had a beginning, and that the beginning was its creation by God (Genesis 1:1). This truth has been denied by philosophers and pseudo-scientists who have come up with a variety of different theories in an effort to “prove” the eternality of the universe. Further, atheists will say that matter and energy are eternal, following the first law of thermodynamics—“Energy can be transformed (changed from one form to another), but it can neither be created nor destroyed.”

Philosophically, why do we have something rather than nothing at all? If the universe had a beginning, then it must have a cause, and therefore cannot be eternal. And every drop of evidence we have points to the universe having a beginning, but this truth is not something welcomed by naturalists and atheists. Numerous scientifically minded atheists have expressed a desire to find a loophole to the scientific fact that the present order of nature had a beginning. Unfortunately for them, such a loophole does not exist. Here are five proofs that the universe is not eternal:

(1) The universe is running down, and something that is running down must have started at some point. The second law of thermodynamics states that the universe is running out of usable energy and if you doubt this, look in the mirror (you’re aging and running down just like everything else).

(2) The universe is expanding. This was confirmed through the Hubble telescope many years ago, and it is interesting to note that the universe is expanding from a single point, meaning the entire universe could be contracted back into a single point. Also, note that the universe is not expanding into space, but space itself is expanding.

(3) The radiation echo was discovered by Bell Labs scientists in 1965. What is it? It is the heat afterglow from the Big Bang. Its discovery dealt a death blow to any theory of the universe being in a steady state because it shows instead that the universe exploded.

(4) Galaxy Seeds. Scientists believe that, if the Big Bang is true (first, there was nothing, then, BANG, something came into being), then temperature “ripples” should exist in space, and it would be these ripples that enabled matter to collect into galaxies. To discover whether these ripples exist, the Cosmic Background Explorer – COBE – was launched in 1989 to find them, with the findings being released in 1992. What COBE found was perfect/precise ripples that, sure enough, enable galaxies to form. So critical and spectacular was this finding that the NASA lead for COBE, said, “If you’re religious, it’s like looking at God.”

(5) Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity means that the universe had a beginning and was not eternal as he had previously believed (Einstein was originally a pantheist). His theory proved that the universe is not a cause, but instead one big effect—something brought it into existence. Einstein disliked his end result so much that he introduced a “fudge factor” into his theory that allowed for an eternal universe. But there was only one problem. His fudge factor required a division by zero in his calculations—a mathematical error any good math student knows not to make. When discovered by other mathematicians, Einstein admitted his error calling it “the greatest blunder of my life.” After his acknowledgment, and upon confirming further research that showed the universe expanding just as his theory of relativity predicted, Einstein bowed to the fact that the universe is not eternal and said that he wanted “to know how God created the world.”

Further, it should be understood that every effect must resemble its cause. This is because, simply put, you cannot give what you do not have, so it is impossible for an effect to possess something its originating cause did not have. That being the case, how can one believe that an impersonal, amoral, purposeless, and meaningless universe accidentally created beings that are full of personality, morals, meaning, and purpose? Only mind can create mind. In the end it is either matter before mind or mind before matter, and all scientific, philosophical, and reasonable evidence points to the latter.

In conclusion, we find that all scientific evidence points to the fact that the universe had a beginning, just as the Bible states, and that a Cause must exist that resembles all we know today. As Lord Kelvin, a British scientist once said, "If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God."

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Why is the idea of eternal damnation so repulsive to many people?"

Answer: In the shifting winds of modern cultures, the idea of everlasting torment and damnation is difficult for many people to grasp. Why is this? The Bible makes it clear that hell is a literal place. Christ spoke more about hell than He did of heaven. Not only Satan and his minions will be punished there, everyone who rejects Jesus Christ will spend eternity right along with them. A desire to reject or revise the doctrine of hell will not mitigate its flames or make the place go away. Still, the idea of eternal damnation is spurned by many, and here are some reasons for it:

The influence of contemporary thought. In this postmodern era, many go to great lengths to assure no one is offended, and the biblical doctrine of hell is considered offensive. It is too harsh, too old-fashioned, too insensitive. The wisdom of this world is focused on this life, with no thought of the life to come.

Fear. Never-ending, conscious punishment devoid of any hope is indeed a frightening prospect. Many people would rather ignore the source of fear than face it and deal with it biblically. The fact is, hell should be frightening, considering it is the place of judgment originally created for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

A flawed view of God’s love. Many who reject the idea of eternal damnation do so because they find it difficult to believe that a loving God could banish people to a place as horrific as hell for all eternity. However, God’s love does not negate His justice, His righteousness, or His holiness. Neither does His justice negate His love. In fact, God’s love has provided the way to escape His wrath: the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 3:16-18).

A downplaying of sin. Some find it shockingly unfair that the recompense for a mere lifetime of sinning should be an eternal punishment. Others reject the idea of hell because, in their minds, sin isn’t all that bad. Certainly not bad enough to warrant eternal torture. Of course, it is usually our own sin that we downplay; other people might deserve hell—murderers and the like. This attitude reveals a misunderstanding of the universally heinous nature of sin. The problem is an insistence on our own basic goodness, which precludes thoughts of a fiery judgment and denies the truth of Romans 3:10 (“There is no one righteous, not even one”). The egregiousness of iniquity compelled Christ to the cross. God hated sin to death.

Aberrant theories. Another reason people reject the concept of eternal damnation is that they have been taught alternative theories. One such theory is universalism, which says that everyone will eventually make it to heaven. Another theory is annihilationism, in which the existence of hell is acknowledged, but its eternal nature is denied. Annihilationists believe that those who end up in hell will eventually die and cease to exist (i.e., they will be annihilated). This theory simply makes hell a temporary punishment. Both these theories are presented as viable options to the biblical teaching on hell; however, both make the mistake of placing human opinion over divine revelation.

Incomplete teaching. Many contemporary pastors who do believe in the doctrine of hell consider it simply too delicate a subject to preach on. This further contributes to the modern denial of hell. Congregants in churches where hell is not preached are ignorant of what the Bible says on the subject and are prime candidates for deception on the issue. A pastor’s responsibility is “to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3), not pick and choose what parts of the Bible to leave out.

Satan’s ploys. Satan’s first lie was a denial of judgment. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent told Eve, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). It is still one of Satan’s main tactics. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the blindness he produces includes a denial of God’s holy decrees. Convince the unsaved that there is no judgment, and they can “eat, drink and be merry” with no care for the future.

If we understand the nature of our Creator, we should have no difficulty understanding the concept of hell. “[God] is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4, emphasis added). His desire is that no one perish but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

To contradict the Bible’s teaching on hell is to say, essentially, “If I were God, I would not make hell like that.” The problem with such a mindset is its inherent pride—it smugly suggests that we can improve on God’s plan. However, we are not wiser than God; we are not more loving or more just. Rejecting or revising the biblical doctrine of hell carries a sad irony, which one writer put this way: “The only result of attempts, however well meaning, to air-condition hell is to assure that more and more people wind up there.”

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "What is the difference between the ceremonial law, the moral law, and the judicial law in the Old Testament?"

Answer: The law of God given to Moses is a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that the Israelites' behavior reflected their status as God's chosen people. It encompasses moral behavior, their position as a godly example to other nations, and systematic procedures for acknowledging God's holiness and mankind's sinfulness. In an attempt to better understand the purpose of these laws, Jews and Christians categorize them. This has led to the distinction between moral law, ceremonial law, and judicial law.

Moral Law
The moral laws, or mishpatim, relate to justice and judgment and are often translated as "ordinances." Mishpatim are said to be based on God's holy nature. As such, the ordinances are holy, just, and unchanging. Their purpose is to promote the welfare of those who obey. The value of the laws is considered obvious by reason and common sense. The moral law encompasses regulations on justice, respect, and sexual conduct, and includes the Ten Commandments. It also includes penalties for failure to obey the ordinances. Moral law does not point people to Christ; it merely illuminates the fallen state of all mankind.

Modern Protestants are divided over the applicability of mishpatim in the church age. Some believe that Jesus' assertion that the law will remain in effect until the earth passes away (Matthew 5:18) means that believers are still bound to it. Others, however, understand that Jesus fulfilled this requirement (Matthew 5:17), and that we are instead under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is thought to be "love God and love others" (Matthew 22:36-40). Although many of the moral laws in the Old Testament give excellent examples as to how to love God and love others, and freedom from the law is not license to sin (Romans 6:15), we are not specifically bound by mishpatim.

Ceremonial Law
The ceremonial laws are called hukkim or chuqqah in Hebrew, which literally means “custom of the nation”; the words are often translated as “statutes.” These laws seem to focus the adherent’s attention on God. They include instructions on regaining right standing with God (e.g., sacrifices and other ceremonies regarding “uncleanness”), remembrances of God’s work in Israel (e.g., feasts and festivals), specific regulations meant to distinguish Israelites from their pagan neighbors (e.g., dietary and clothing restrictions), and signs that point to the coming Messiah (e.g., the Sabbath, circumcision, Passover, and the redemption of the firstborn). Some Jews believe that the ceremonial law is not fixed. They hold that, as societies evolve, so do God’s expectations of how His followers should relate to Him. This view is not indicated in the Bible.

Christians are not bound by ceremonial law. Since the church is not the nation of Israel, memorial festivals, such as the Feast of Weeks and Passover, do not apply. Galatians 3:23-25 explains that since Jesus has come, Christians are not required to sacrifice or circumcise. There is still debate in Protestant churches over the applicability of the Sabbath. Some say that its inclusion in the Ten Commandments gives it the weight of moral law. Others quote Colossians 2:16-17 and Romans 14:5 to explain that Jesus has fulfilled the Sabbath and become our Sabbath rest. As Romans 14:5 says, "Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind." The applicability of the Old Testament law in the life of a Christian has always related to its usefulness in loving God and others. If someone feels observing the Sabbath aids him in this, he is free to observe it.

Judicial/Civil Law
The Westminster Confession adds the category of judicial or civil law. These laws were specifically given for the culture and place of the Israelites and encompass all of the moral law except the Ten Commandments. This includes everything from murder to restitution for a man gored by an ox and the responsibility of the man who dug a pit to rescue his neighbor's trapped donkey (Exodus 21:12-36). Since the Jews saw no difference between their God-ordained morality and their cultural responsibilities, this category is used by Christians far more than by Jewish scholars.

The division of the Jewish law into different categories is a human construct designed to better understand the nature of God and define which laws church-age Christians are still required to follow. Many believe the ceremonial law is not applicable, but we are bound by the Ten Commandments. All the law is useful for instruction (2 Timothy 3:16), and nothing in the Bible indicates that God intended a distinction of categories. Christians are not under the law (Romans 10:4). Jesus fulfilled the law, thus abolishing the difference between Jew and Gentile "so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross…" (Ephesians 2:15-16).

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Is annihilationism biblical?"

Answer: Annihilationism is the belief that unbelievers will not experience an eternity of suffering in hell, but will instead be “extinguished” after death. For many, annihilationism is an attractive belief because of the awfulness of the idea of people spending eternity in hell. While there are some passages that seem to argue for annihilationism, a comprehensive look at what the Bible says about the destiny of the wicked reveals the fact that punishment in hell is eternal. A belief in annihilationism results from a misunderstanding of one or more of the following doctrines: 1) the consequences of sin, 2) the justice of God, 3) the nature of hell.

In relation to the nature of hell, annihilationists misunderstand the meaning of the lake of fire. Obviously, if a human being were cast into a lake of burning lava, he/she would be almost instantly consumed. However, the lake of fire is both a physical and spiritual realm. It is not simply a human body being cast into the lake of fire; it is a human’s body, soul, and spirit. A spiritual nature cannot be consumed by physical fire. It seems that the unsaved are resurrected with a body prepared for eternity just as the saved are (Revelation 20:13; Acts 24:15). These bodies are prepared for an eternal fate.

Eternity is another aspect which annihilationists fail to fully comprehend. Annihilationists are correct that the Greek word aionion, which is usually translated “eternal,” does not by definition mean “eternal.” It specifically refers to an “age” or “eon,” a specific period of time. However, it is clear that in New Testament, aionion is sometimes used to refer to an eternal length of time. Revelation 20:10 speaks of Satan, the beast, and the false prophet being cast into the lake of fire and being tormented “day and night forever and ever.” It is clear that these three are not “extinguished” by being cast into the lake of fire. Why would the fate of the unsaved be any different (Revelation 20:14-15)? The most convincing evidence for the eternality of hell is Matthew 25:46, “Then they [the unsaved] will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” In this verse, the same Greek word is used to refer to the destiny of the wicked and the righteous. If the wicked are only tormented for an “age,” then the righteous will only experience life in heaven for an “age.” If believers will be in heaven forever, unbelievers will be in hell forever.

Another frequent objection to the eternality of hell by annihilationists is that it would be unjust for God to punish unbelievers in hell for eternity for a finite amount of sin. How could it be fair for God to take a person who lived a sinful, 70-year life, and punish him/her for all of eternity? The answer is that our sin bears an eternal consequence because it is committed against an eternal God. When King David committed the sins of adultery and murder he stated, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:4). David had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah; how could David claim to have only sinned against God? David understood that all sin is ultimately against God. God is an eternal and infinite Being. As a result, all sin against Him is worthy of an eternal punishment. It is not a matter of the length of time we sin, but the character of the God against whom we sin.

A more personal aspect of annihilationism is the idea that we could not possibly be happy in heaven if we knew that some of our loved ones were suffering an eternity of torment in hell. However, when we arrive in heaven, we will not have anything to complain about or be saddened by. Revelation 21:4 tells us, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” If some of our loved ones are not in heaven, we will be in 100 percent complete agreement that they do not belong there and that they are condemned by their own refusal to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior (John 3:16; 14:6). It is hard to understand this, but we will not be saddened by the lack of their presence. Our focus should not be on how we can enjoy heaven without all of our loved ones there, but on how we can point our loved ones to faith in Christ so that they will be there.

Hell is perhaps a primary reason why God sent Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins. Being “extinguished” after death is no fate to dread, but an eternity in hell most definitely is. Jesus’ death was an infinite death, paying our infinite sin debt so that we would not have to pay it in hell for eternity (2 Corinthians 5:21). When we place our faith in Him, we are saved, forgiven, cleansed, and promised an eternal home in heaven. But if we reject God’s gift of eternal life, we will face the eternal consequences of that decision.

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "How is eternity in hell a fair punishment for sin?"

Answer: This is an issue that bothers many people who have an incomplete understanding of three things: the nature of God, the nature of man, and the nature of sin. As fallen, sinful human beings, the nature of God is a difficult concept for us to grasp. We tend to see God as a kind, merciful Being whose love for us overrides and overshadows all His other attributes. Of course God is loving, kind, and merciful, but He is first and foremost a holy and righteous God. So holy is He that He cannot tolerate sin. He is a God whose anger burns against the wicked and disobedient (Isaiah 5:25; Hosea 8:5; Zechariah 10:3). He is not only a loving God—He is love itself! But the Bible also tells us that He hates all manner of sin (Proverbs 6:16-19). And while He is merciful, there are limits to His mercy. “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).

Humanity is corrupted by sin, and that sin is always directly against God. When David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and having Uriah murdered, he responded with an interesting prayer: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” (Psalm 51:4). Since David had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah, how could he claim to have only sinned against God? David understood that all sin is ultimately against God. God is an eternal and infinite Being (Psalm 90:2). As a result, all sin requires an eternal punishment. God’s holy, perfect, and infinite character has been offended by our sin. Although to our finite minds our sin is limited in time, to God—who is outside of time—the sin He hates goes on and on. Our sin is eternally before Him and must be eternally punished in order to satisfy His holy justice.

No one understands this better than someone in hell. A perfect example is the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Both died, and the rich man went to hell while Lazarus went to paradise (Luke 16). Of course, the rich man was aware that his sins were only committed during his lifetime. But, interestingly, he never says, “How did I end up here?” That question is never asked in hell. He does not say, “Did I really deserve this? Don't you think this is a little extreme? A little over the top?” He only asks that someone go to his brothers who are still alive and warn them against his fate.

Like the rich man, every sinner in hell has a full realization that he deserves to be there. Each sinner has a fully informed, acutely aware, and sensitive conscience which, in hell, becomes his own tormenter. This is the experience of torture in hell—a person fully aware of his or her sin with a relentlessly accusing conscience, without relief for even one moment. The guilt of sin will produce shame and everlasting self-hatred. The rich man knew that eternal punishment for a lifetime of sins is justified and deserved. That is why he never protested or questioned being in hell.

The realities of eternal damnation, eternal hell, and eternal punishment are frightening and disturbing. But it is good that we might, indeed, be terrified. While this may sound grim, there is good news. God loves us (John 3:16) and wants us to be saved from hell (2 Peter 3:9). But because God is also just and righteous, He cannot allow our sin to go unpunished. Someone has to pay for it. In His great mercy and love, God provided His own payment for our sin. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross for us. Jesus’ death was an infinite death because He is the infinite God/man, paying our infinite sin debt, so that we would not have to pay it in hell for eternity (2 Corinthians 5:21). If we confess our sin and place our faith in Christ, asking for God’s forgiveness based on Christ’s sacrifice, we are saved, forgiven, cleansed, and promised an eternal home in heaven. God loved us so much that He provided the means for our salvation, but if we reject His gift of eternal life, we will face the eternal consequences of that decision.

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Why did God allow polygamy / bigamy in the Bible?"

Answer: The question of polygamy is an interesting one in that most people today view polygamy as immoral while the Bible nowhere explicitly condemns it. The first instance of polygamy/bigamy in the Bible was that of Lamech in Genesis 4:19: “Lamech married two women.” Several prominent men in the Old Testament were polygamists. Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, and others all had multiple wives. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (essentially wives of a lower status), according to 1 Kings 11:3. What are we to do with these instances of polygamy in the Old Testament? There are three questions that need to be answered: 1) Why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament? 2) How does God view polygamy today? 3) Why did it change?

1) Why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament? The Bible does not specifically say why God allowed polygamy. As we speculate about God’s silence, there are a few key factors to consider. First, while there are slightly more male babies than female babies, due to women having longer lifespans, there have always been more women in the world than men. Current statistics show that approximately 50.5 percent of the world population are women. Assuming the same percentages in ancient times, and multiplied by millions of people, there would be tens of thousands more women than men. Second, warfare in ancient times was especially brutal, with an incredibly high rate of fatality. This would have resulted in an even greater percentage of women to men. Third, due to patriarchal societies, it was nearly impossible for an unmarried woman to provide for herself. Women were often uneducated and untrained. Women relied on their fathers, brothers, and husbands for provision and protection. Unmarried women were often subjected to prostitution and slavery. The significant difference between the number of women and men would have left many, many women in an undesirable situation.

So, it seems that God may have allowed polygamy to protect and provide for the women who could not find a husband otherwise. A man would take multiple wives and serve as the provider and protector of all of them. While definitely not ideal, living in a polygamist household was far better than the alternatives: prostitution, slavery, or starvation. In addition to the protection/provision factor, polygamy enabled a much faster expansion of humanity, fulfilling God’s command to “be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth” (Genesis 9:7). Men are capable of impregnating multiple women in the same time period, causing humanity to grow much faster than if each man was only producing one child each year.

2) How does God view polygamy today? Even while allowing polygamy, the Bible presents monogamy as the plan which conforms most closely to God’s ideal for marriage. The Bible says that God’s original intention was for one man to be married to only one woman: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife [not wives], and they will become one flesh [not fleshes]” (Genesis 2:24). While Genesis 2:24 is describing what marriage is, rather than how many people are involved, the consistent use of the singular should be noted. In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, God says that the kings were not supposed to multiply wives (or horses or gold). While this cannot be interpreted as a command that the kings must be monogamous, it can be understood as declaring that having multiple wives causes problems. This can be clearly seen in the life of Solomon (1 Kings 11:3-4).

In the New Testament, 1 Timothy 3:2, 12 and Titus 1:6 give “the husband of one wife” in a list of qualifications for spiritual leadership. There is some debate as to what specifically this qualification means. The phrase could literally be translated “a one-woman man.” Whether or not this phrase is referring exclusively to polygamy, in no sense can a polygamist be considered a “one-woman man.” While these qualifications are specifically for positions of spiritual leadership, they should apply equally to all Christians. Should not all Christians be “above reproach...temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (1 Timothy 3:2-4)? If we are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:16), and if these standards are holy for elders and deacons, then they are holy for all.

Ephesians 5:22-33 speaks of the relationship between husbands and wives. When referring to a husband (singular), it always also refers to a wife (singular). “For the husband is the head of the wife [singular] … He who loves his wife [singular] loves himself. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife [singular], and the two will become one flesh....Each one of you also must love his wife [singular] as he loves himself, and the wife [singular] must respect her husband [singular].” While a somewhat parallel passage, Colossians 3:18-19, refers to husbands and wives in the plural, it is clear that Paul is addressing all the husbands and wives among the Colossian believers, not stating that a husband might have multiple wives. In contrast, Ephesians 5:22-33 is specifically describing the marital relationship. If polygamy were allowable, the entire illustration of Christ’s relationship with His body (the church) and the husband-wife relationship falls apart.

3) Why did it change? It is not so much God’s disallowing something He previously allowed as it is God’s restoring marriage to His original plan. Even going back to Adam and Eve, polygamy was not God’s original intent. God seems to have allowed polygamy to solve a problem, but it is not the ideal. In most modern societies, there is absolutely no need for polygamy. In most cultures today, women are able to provide for and protect themselves—removing the only “positive” aspect of polygamy. Further, most modern nations outlaw polygamy. According to Romans 13:1-7, we are to obey the laws the government establishes. The only instance in which disobeying the law is permitted by Scripture is if the law contradicts God’s commands (Acts 5:29). Since God only allows for polygamy, and does not command it, a law prohibiting polygamy should be upheld.

Are there some instances in which the allowance for polygamy would still apply today? Perhaps, but it is unfathomable that there would be no other possible solution. Due to the “one flesh” aspect of marriage, the need for oneness and harmony in marriage, and the lack of any real need for polygamy, it is our firm belief that polygamy does not honor God and is not His design for marriage.

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Does God hate shrimp?"

Answer: The essential argument of GodHatesShrimp.com is that we should not condemn homosexuality as a sin based on the Old Testament because the Old Testament also refers to eating certain kinds of seafood (including shrimp) as an abomination, yet Christians do not have any problem with eating shrimp or any of the other forbidden foods. Does the "God hates shrimp" argument have any validity? Yes and no.

First, it is important to note that the title "God hates shrimp" is a reaction to a particular group of anti-homosexuality protestors that are famous for promoting the saying "God hates fags." The argument is that if God hates homosexuals, based on the Old Testament Law, then God equally hates those who eat shrimp. The Bible nowhere says that God hates homosexuals, however. There are lists of things that God hates in the Old Testament (see Proverbs 6:16-19), and homosexuality does not make the list. Yes, homosexuality is a sin, and yes, God hates sin. But again, the Bible nowhere says that God hates homosexuals, or that homosexuality is any more difficult for God to forgive.

Back to the "God hates shrimp" argument - is it valid? Yes and no. First, a Christian should never make an argument exclusively using the Old Testament Law. Jesus fulfilled the Law, ending its requirements (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15). If you use the Old Testament Law as the sole argument for homosexuality being a sin, you should also declare that everything the Law outlaws to be sin: eating shrimp, wearing clothing of mixed fabrics, sowing different types of seed into the same field, etc. No, Jesus fulfilled the Law. Christians are not bound by the Old Testament Law, but rather are to be subject to the Law of Christ (Matthew 22:37-39; Galatians 6:2).

So, if the Old Testament Law cannot exclusively be used to argue for homosexuality being sinful, why then do Christians believe homosexuality is sinful? The answer is that the New Testament also clearly and explicitly states that homosexuality is both immoral and unnatural (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). The New Testament confirms the Old Testament command against homosexuality, explains why the command existed, and argues for why homosexuality should continue to be considered sinful. What then about shrimp? Does God still hate shrimp? No. Jesus Himself "declared all foods clean" (Mark 7:19). Jesus later confirmed this in a vision to Peter (Acts 10:15). While the New Testament confirms that homosexuality is sinful, it clearly indicates the food laws to be null and void. God never hated shrimp. Rather, God disallowed the consumption of shrimp to distinguish the Israelites' diet from that of the surrounding nations, and likely due to the fact that since they are bottom-feeders, shrimp are really not very healthy.

What should be learned from the "God hates shrimp" argument is that we should use the word of God consistently, "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV). As New Covenant believers, we are not to use the Old Testament Law as the exclusive basis for our morality. Rather, we are to study the whole counsel of Scripture and live accordingly.

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Was Yahweh originally a Edomite or Canaanite god?"

Answer: The idea that Yahweh started out as an Edomite, Midianite, or Canaanite deity is a modern myth promoted by secular scholars. The starting point for these theorists is an anti-scholarly bias against the possibility that God is who the Bible says He is, namely, the one-and-only Creator, Author of life, Judge, and Savior of the world (Genesis 1:1; 18:25;Acts 3:15; John 3:16). Rather than acknowledge that God made man in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27), they assume that man made God in man’s image. And when you begin with a premise that is an error, you’re guaranteed an invalid conclusion.

The false theory that Yahweh, the God of the Bible, was created out of the chief god of Edom with influence from Midian relies on the following points:

• During the Exodus out of Egypt, Israel had to pass by the nations of Edom and Midian on their way to the Promised Land (Canaan). During their forty years in the wilderness, as they fashioned a new religion, Israel was supposedly influenced by Edom’s and Midian’s religious beliefs.

• The Midianites—descendants of Midian, a son of Abraham (Genesis 25:1)—had a priest named Reuel (Exodus 2:18) or Jethro (Exodus 3:1 and later). Moses, the author of the first five books of the Bible, marriedJethro’s daughter. Moses then presumably brought much of his father-in-law’s theology into his own new religion and our Scripture, including Jethro’s god(s).

• God’s name in Scripture is transliterated from the Hebrew as YHWH, probably meaning “I Am” (Exodus 3:13–14). There is an obscure reference in a 13th-century BC Egyptian document to a region in Edom associated with JWH, possibly indicating that JWH was a national god of Edom. Of course, the spelling JWH is similar to YHWH.

• Edom, populated by descendants of Esau (Abraham’s grandson and Israel’s/Jacob’s brother), worshiped a local god named Qos; certain Bible verses show that Israel’s God acted locally and in some of the same places as Qos; therefore, the Hebrew concept of God may be based on Edom’s Qos. Some Bible verses referring to areas within Edom include the following:

Deuteronomy 33:2 – “The LORD [Yahweh] came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran.”

Judges 5:4–5 – “When you, Lord, went out from Seir, / when you marched from the land of Edom, / the earth shook, the heavens poured, / the clouds poured down water. / The mountains quaked before the Lord, the One of Sinai, / before the Lord, the God of Israel.”

Habakkuk 3:3a – “God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran.”

This last error—that Yahweh is linked to the god of Edom because of His localized actions—is especially inexcusable for any serious scholar. Verses throughout the Bible speak of God’s appearing and acting in many specific locations. There is no logically sound reason for concluding that Moses and all the Bible writers after him were confused about whether God was some petty, magical deity haunting the neighborhood or the Being greater than the universe He created. In fact, the remainder of Habakkuk 3:3 lays the question to rest: “His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth.” This is not a description of a local god. See alsoDeuteronomy 10:14; 2 Chronicles 2:6; Psalm 19:1–4; and Hebrews 1:10–12.

So, the whole theory that Yahweh was borrowed from local mythologies in Edom and Midian rests on 1) Israel’s route through the desert, 2) Moses’ choice of a wife, 3) a similarly spelled word, and 4) mentions of Edom in the Bible. It’s not much to go on, but it’s all the theorists have. When you reject the truth of God’s revealing Himself in Scripture, you’re left to grasp at straws.

Sadly, the confusion about Yahweh’s being an Edomite or Midianite god is common among modern scholars. They “discover” tiny clues from which they fabricate entire myths—all of which just happen to “disprove” the Bible. They even claim to know more about ancient cultures and beliefs than the very people who lived at that time, spoke that language, read those Scriptures, and worshiped that God. The Bible refers to such scholars as “claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

Fortunately, there is plenty of excellent scholarship, both Christian and secular, to refute the notion that Yahweh was an outgrowth of various pagan gods. There is much study being done that continues to astound the world by proving again and again the Bible’s amazing historic, geographic, scientific, and spiritual accuracy. Of all the thousands of holy books in the world, only the Bible has survived every attempt to destroy or discredit it, coming through each attack with even more confirmation that it is the error-free, inspiredWord of God (Psalm 119:89).

Show post

got quesitons #fundie gotquestions.org

God’s choosing to be gracious to some is not unfair to the others. No one deserves anything from God; therefore, no one can object if he does not receive anything from God. An illustration would be a man randomly handing out money to five people in a crowd of twenty. Would the fifteen people who did not receive money be upset? Probably so. Do they have a right to be upset? No, they do not. Why? Because the man did not owe anyone money. He simply decided to be gracious to some.

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?"

Answer: The biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah is recorded in Genesis chapters 18-19. Genesis chapter 18 records the Lord and two angels coming to speak with Abraham. The Lord informed Abraham that "the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous" (Genesis 18:20). Verses 22-33 record Abraham pleading with the Lord to have mercy on Sodom and Gomorrah because Abraham's nephew, Lot, and his family lived in Sodom.

Genesis chapter 19 records the two angels, disguised as human men, visiting Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot met the angels in the city square and urged them to stay at his house. The angels agreed. The Bible then informs us, "Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom — both young and old — surrounded the house. They called to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them'" (Genesis 19:4–5). The angels then proceed to blind all the men of Sodom and Gomorrah and urge Lot and his family to flee from the cities to escape the wrath that God was about to deliver. Lot and his family flee the city, and then "the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah — from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities..." (Genesis 19:24).

In light of the passage, the most common response to the question "What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?" is that it was homosexuality. That is how the term "sodomy" came to be used to refer to anal sex between two men, whether consensual or forced. Clearly, homosexuality was part of why God destroyed the two cities. The men of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to perform homosexual gang rape on the two angels (who were disguised as men). At the same time, it is not biblical to say that homosexuality was the exclusive reason why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were definitely not exclusive in terms of the sins in which they indulged.

Ezekiel 16:49-50 declares, "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me..." The Hebrew word translated "detestable" refers to something that is morally disgusting and is the exact same word used in Leviticus 18:22 that refers to homosexuality as an "abomination." Similarly, Jude 7 declares, "...Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion." So, again, while homosexuality was not the only sin in which the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah indulged, it does appear to be the primary reason for the destruction of the cities.

Those who attempt to explain away the biblical condemnations of homosexuality claim that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was inhospitality. The men of Sodom and Gomorrah were certainly being inhospitable. There is probably nothing more inhospitable than homosexual gang rape. But to say God completely destroyed two cities and all their inhabitants for being inhospitable clearly misses the point. While Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of many other horrendous sins, homosexuality was the reason God poured fiery sulfur on the cities, completely destroying them and all of their inhabitants. To this day, the area where Sodom and Gomorrah were located remains a desolate wasteland. Sodom and Gomorrah serve as a powerful example of how God feels about sin in general, and homosexuality specifically.

Show post

Got Questions #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Was the Apostle Paul actually a false prophet?"

Answer: The theory that the apostle Paul was a false prophet and not a true follower of Christ is usually put forth by those of the Hebrew roots movement persuasion, among others. They believe Christians should submit to the Old Testament Law, but Paul clearly disagrees with them, proclaiming that Christians are no longer under the Mosaic Law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15), but the Law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Rather than submitting to God’s Word, the Hebrew roots movement simply dismisses Paul altogether and claims that Paul was a false apostle and that his writings should not be in the Bible.

But Paul’s apostolic authority has been well documented in Scripture, beginning with his dramatic Damascus Road experience which changed him from a Christ-hating persecutor of Christians to the foremost spokesman for the faith. His astonishing change of heart is one of the clearest indications of his anointing by the Lord Jesus Himself.

Tom Tarrants, once labeled “the most dangerous man in Mississippi,” was one of the top men on the FBI’s most wanted list. Tarrants was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and despised African-Americans and Jews, a people he fully believed were God’s enemies and involved in a communist plot against America. Tarrants was responsible for bombing some 30 synagogues, churches and homes. He was so dangerous that the FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, sent a special team of FBI agents that were used to infiltrate the Russian KGB down into the American South to locate and apprehend Tarrants. They were successful and took Tarrants into custody after a violent shootout. Tarrants received a 30-year sentence in the Mississippi State Penitentiary.

While in prison, Tarrants one day asked for a Bible and began reading it. He got as far as Matthew 16 and was confronted with Jesus’ words: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” He couldn’t escape the impact of Christ’s statement and got down on his knees in his cell and asked God to deliver him from his sinful life.

Word of Tarrant’s conversion soon began to spread throughout the prison and ultimately made it all the way back to Hoover, who strongly doubted the story. How could such a true change in such a hardened, evil person be validated?

About 2,000 years ago, another man had nearly the identical problem. When the apostle Paul first came to Jerusalem after his conversion to Christianity, he tried to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him and didn’t believe he was a true convert (Acts 9:26) because of his past persecution of Christians. Today, some people feel the same way about Paul. Occasionally, a charge is made that Paul was a Pharisee who tried to corrupt the teachings of Christ and that his writings should have no place in the Bible. This accusation can be put to rest by examining his conversion experience and his adherence to Christ and His teachings.

Paul’s Persecution of Christianity
Paul first appears in Scripture as a witness to the martyrdom of Stephen: “When they had driven him [Stephen] out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul" (Acts 7:58). “Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death” (Acts 8:1). The words “hearty agreement” indicate active approval, not just passive consent. Why would Paul agree with the murder of Stephen?

Paul the Pharisee would have immediately recognized the statement Stephen made right before his death: “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). Stephen’s words repeat the claim Christ made at His trial before the high priest (Mark 14:62). Just as Jesus’ claim resulted in Him being accused of blasphemy, so also these words would bring a murderous response from Saul the Pharisee toward Stephen.

In addition, the term “Son of Man” is filled with significance. It is the last time the term is used in the New Testament and it is the only time in the Gospels and Acts when it is not spoken by Jesus. It shows that Jesus is the Messiah, and it speaks of Christ’s position in the end times as the coming King. It also combines two great Messianic passages: Daniel 7:13-14 and Psalm 110:1. Daniel 7:13-14 emphasizes the universal aspect of Jesus’ rule; that He is not simply a Jewish ruler, but also the Savior of the world. Psalm 110:1 presents the Messiah as being at God’s right hand. Besides stressing power and position, it also shows acceptance.

All these things would have infuriated Saul the Pharisee, who at the time did not possess the true knowledge of Christ. But it would not be long before Saul the Pharisee would become Paul the evangelist for Christ.

The Conversion of Paul
In the three versions of Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:1-9, 22:6-11, 26:9-20), there are repeated elements which appear to be central to his mission and commissioning. First, it marked his conversion to Christianity; second, it constituted his call to be a prophet; and third, it served as his commission to be an apostle. These three points may be broken down into the following, more intimate considerations: (1) Paul was specifically chosen, set aside, and prepared by the Lord for the work that he would do; (2) Paul was sent as a witness to not just the Jews, but the Gentiles as well; (3) Paul’s evangelistic mission would encounter rejection and require suffering; (4) Paul would bring light to people who were born into and currently lived in darkness; (5) Paul would preach repentance was required prior to a person’s acceptance into the Christian faith; (6) Paul’s witness would be grounded in space-time history and be based on his Damascus Road experience—what he had personally seen and heard in a real location that would be known to all who lived in Damascus.

Before Gamaliel’s pupil came to a proper assessment of the ministry entrusted to him by God and the death of Jesus, a revolution had to take place in his life and thought. Paul would later say that he was “apprehended” by Jesus (Philippians 3:12) on the road to Damascus, a term that means to make something one’s own or gain control of someone through pursuit. In Acts 9, we clearly see miracles on display in Paul’s conversion, the point of which were to make clear that God is in control and directing all the events, so that Paul will undertake certain tasks God has in mind, something the former Saul would never have had any intention of doing.

Although there are many observations that can be made about Paul’s Damascus Road conversion, there are two key items of interest. First is the fact that Paul’s life would become centered on Christ after his experience. After his encounter with Jesus, Paul’s understanding of the Messiah had been revolutionized, and it was not long before he is proclaiming, “He [Jesus] is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).

Second, we note that in Paul’s conversion there are no positive antecedents or precursory events that led him from being a zealous opponent to a fervent proponent of Christ. One minute Paul had been an enemy of Jesus, and the next he had become a captive to the Christ he had once persecuted. Paul says, “By the grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10), indicating he was transformed by God, became truly spiritual, and he was one whom Christ possessed and was now a Christ-bearer himself.

After the Damascus experience, Paul first went to Arabia, but whether he actually began his missionary work there is unknown. What is more likely is that he earnestly desired a time of quiet recollection. Then after a short stay in Jerusalem, he worked as a missionary in Syria and Cilicia (that is for the most part in Antioch on the Orontes and in his native city of Tarsus) and after that in company with Barnabas in Cyprus, in Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia.

The Love of Paul
Paul, the former cold aggressor and legalist, had now become a person who could write of the key attribute that witnessed above everything else in 1 Corinthians 13 – love for God and those around him. The one who was supremely educated in knowledge had come to the point of saying that knowledge devoid of love only makes one arrogant, but love edifies (1 Corinthians 8:1).

The book of Acts and Paul’s letters testify to a tenderness that had come over the apostle for both the unbelieving world and those inside the Church. As to the latter, in his farewell address to the Ephesian believers in Acts 20, he tells them that “night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears” (Acts 20:31). He tells the Galatian believers they are his “little children” (Galatians 4:19). He reminds the Corinthians that whenever they experience pain, he is wounded as well (2 Corinthians 11:29). He speaks of believers in Philippi as “having them in his heart” (Philippians 1:7). He tells the Thessalonian church that he “abounds” in love for them (1 Thessalonians 3:12) and demonstrated that fact by living among them and helping build up a Christian community (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1–2). Repeatedly throughout his writings, Paul reminds his believing readers of his care and love for them.

Paul’s attitude toward unbelievers is one of caring and deep concern as well, with perhaps the clearest example of this being his articulation in the letter to the Romans of the sorrow he felt for his fellow Israelites who had not come to faith in Christ: "I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:1-3).

This type of angst exhibited by Paul for unbelievers was also not restricted to his own nationality, but extended to non-Jews as well. As just one example, when he entered Athens, the text in Acts 17:16 makes clear that Paul was both repulsed and “greatly distressed” over the idolatrous situation the city was in. Yet he deeply cared about God’s rightful place as well as the people who were involved in false worship, and he immediately went about trying to engage the pagan unbelievers in discourse about the gospel which had been entrusted to him (Acts 17:17-34). And at the heart of his message was Jesus.

Paul on Jesus
Some try to argue that the picture Paul paints of Jesus in his Epistles does not match the Christ portrayed in the Gospels. Such a position could not be further from the truth. From Paul’s letters, we learn the following of Jesus:

• He had Jewish ancestry
• He was of Davidic descent
• He was born of a virgin
• He lived under the law
• He had brothers
• He had 12 disciples
• He had a brother named James
• He lived in poverty
• He was humble and meek
• He was abused by the Romans
• He was deity
• He taught on the subject of marriage
• He said to love one’s neighbor
• He spoke of His second coming
• He instituted the Lord’s Supper
• He lived a sinless life
• He died on the cross
• The Jews put Him to death
• He was buried
• He was resurrected
• He is now seated at right hand of God

Beyond these facts is Paul’s testimony that he left everything to follow Christ (the true test of a disciple as outlined by Jesus in Luke 14:26-33). Paul writes, “But whatever things [his Jewish background and benefits that he had just listed] were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3:7–11).

Paul’s Enemies
Paul’s teachings and proclamation of Jesus were not popular. If the success of an evangelistic mission were to be measured by the amount of opposition, his mission would be regarded as a catastrophic failure. This would be in keeping with Christ’s statement made to Ananias: "For I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake" (Acts 9:16). The book of Acts alone chronicles more than 20 different episodes of rejection and opposition to Paul’s message of salvation. We should also take seriously the litany of opposition and rejection that Paul lays out in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. In truth, such hostility and dismissal is to be expected, given his audience. A crucified deliverer was to the Greeks an absurd contradiction in terms, just as to Jews a crucified Messiah was a piece of scandalous blasphemy.

Paul’s enemies comprised a trinity. First, there were the spiritual enemies indicated in his writings that he was acutely aware of (e.g. 1 Thessalonians 2:18). Next, there were his already mentioned initial target audience of both Jews and Gentiles, many of whom would mistreat and dismiss him. Lastly came the one that, it could be argued, perhaps caused him the most grief—the early Church itself.

The fact that Paul was seen as strange and questionable, not merely by fellow Jews but also by a number of fellow Jewish Christians, was no doubt hurtful to him. It would be one thing for Paul’s authority and authenticity to be challenged outside the Body of Christ, but inside was a different foe with which he had to wrestle. First Corinthians 9:1-3 is an example: Paul insists to the Church that he was commissioned by Christ (others include Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1). Some even believe that 2 Corinthians 11:26 suggests that there was a plot to murder Paul; a plot formed by other Christians.

Such combined opposition—lost humanity, spiritual adversaries, and distrusting brethren—certainly must have caused the apostle to despair at times, with evidence in his writings that he carried out his missionary work with the prospect of martyrdom before his eyes (Philippians 2:17), which ultimately turned out to be true. Paul was beheaded, tradition asserts, under the persecution of Nero near the third milestone on the Ostian Way. Constantine built a small basilica in Paul’s honor by AD 324, which was discovered in 1835 during excavations preceding the erection of the present basilica. On one of the floors was found the inscription PAVLO APOSTOLO MART – “To Paul, apostle and martyr”.

Concluding Thoughts About Paul
So was Paul for real? The evidence from history and from his own writings declares that he was. Paul’s 180 degree turnaround from his Pharisaic life is not disputed by any learned scholar of history, both secular and Christian. The only question is: what caused his about-face? What would cause a very learned Jewish Pharisee to suddenly embrace the very movement he violently opposed and be so committed to it that he would die a martyr’s death?

The answer is contained within Paul’s writings and the book of Acts. In Galatians Paul summarizes his story in this way:

“For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; but only, they kept hearing, ‘He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.’ And they were glorifying God because of me" (Galatians 1:13–24).

Paul’s very life testifies to the truthfulness of what happened to him. In that respect, he was very much like Tom Tarrants. A dramatically changed life is hard to argue with. And what finally happened to Tom Tarrants? J. Edgar Hoover wouldn’t believe that Tarrants had actually become a Christian so he sent an FBI agent into the prison disguised as an inmate whose job it was to befriend Tarrants and find out the truth. About a week later, that FBI agent became a Christian and reported back to Hoover that Tarrants indeed was no longer the man he used to be.

A number of people petitioned that Tarrants be released, and eight years into his sentence, Tarrants was paroled and left prison. He went to seminary, earned a doctorate of ministry degree, and went on to serve as president of the C. S. Lewis Institute for 12 years. Currently, he serves as the Institute’s director of ministry.

“You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16) and the fruits of the apostle Paul leave no doubt that he was very real indeed.

Recommended Resource: Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit by Charles Swindoll

Show post

unknown #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Does the Bible really say that parents should have their rebellious children stoned?"

Answer: This is one of those “Yes, but…” questions that require serious explaining. Leviticus 20:9 says, “If there is anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his bloodguiltiness is upon him.”

First, a note on the last part of the verse. “His bloodguiltiness is upon him” basically means that he brought this punishment on himself. He knew what he was supposed to do, and he didn’t do it. Also, it is important to remember that the Mosaic Law was for God’s covenant people, Israel, living in a theocracy. The Old Testament Law is not in force today (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23–25; Ephesians 2:15).

Deuteronomy 21:18–21 expands on the law:

If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his home town. And they shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear of it and fear.

The context of a passage is crucial to understanding what it means. Taking these two verses by themselves, one could come away with a negative attitude toward God and His Word. In the Leviticus passage, this law is part of a section dealing with egregious sins, sins that would tear a nation and family apart. The trespass in question was not a casual, slip-of-the-tongue curse, but a deep-seated rebellion, an ongoing attitude of hatred that had to be dealt with severely. In other words, the punishment was not for minor infractions but for determined defiance.

There are several things to keep in mind about this particular sin and about the law:

The sin was ongoing and continuous. Deuteronomy 21:18 indicates that the punishment was only meted out after a persistent refusal to heed both father and mother and after all discipline had failed. The parents have tried to deal with their son in a loving, firm way, but nothing worked.

It was deep-seated sin. Verse 20 specifies that the son is stubborn in his rebellion. Not only is he recalcitrant, “he is a glutton and a drunkard.” This is not a case of a child who misses curfew or plays ball in the house. This was a true menace, a child who is causing trouble in society and grieving his parents, possibly to the point of endangering them physically and financially.

The punishment was not an impulsive act of anger or vengeance. Verse 19 says that the city elders had to oversee the case and determine the guilt of the child. It is only after the elders pronounced a sentence of death that the execution could take place. The law did not allow an angry parent to arbitrarily stone a child. A modern equivalent of this is when a parent sees news footage of his child committing a crime and subsequently turns the child in to the police. If parents know their child is acting in a way that endangers society, they are responsible to obey the civil authorities and report the crime.

The punishment was designed to preserve the nation. As verse 21 explains, the reason for this law was to purge evil from society and act as a deterrent to further rebellion. Israel was a nation chosen by God to be holy (Exodus 20:6). God gave the Israelites three types of laws: judicial, moral, and ceremonial. This is a judicial law. A child who was actively and deliberately rejecting the laws of the land needed to be punished judicially.

Which brings us to the last and most important factor:

Rebellion against one’s parents is direct rebellion against God. The 5th Command is to honor one’s father and mother (Exodus 20:12). Parents are a God-ordained authority. Disobedience to parents is disobedience to God (Ephesians 6:1-3). Throughout the Bible, there are only a handful of things we are told to fear: God (Proverbs 1:7) and parents (Leviticus 19:3) are among them.

The law requiring rebellious children to be stoned to death was meant for extreme cases to protect God’s people. It would have been heartbreaking for parents to bear the responsibility of initiating such severe measures. However, the Bible never records this law being enforced.

Show post

got question #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "What is the meaning of the strange fire in Leviticus 10:1?"

Answer: In order to understand the phrase “strange fire,” we must review the story in Leviticus in which it appears. The first tabernacle had been erected, and Aaron was doing a lot of sacrificing per God’s instructions (Leviticus 8—9). One day, two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, came along and offered incense with “strange fire.” The Hebrew word translated “strange” means “unauthorized, foreign, or profane.” God not only rejected their sacrifice; He found it so offensive that He consumed the two men with fire.

After Nadab and Abihu were killed, Moses explained to Aaron why God had done such a harsh thing: “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: ‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored’” (Leviticus 10:3). The exact nature of the profane fire isn’t known, but, since it was the fire that was unauthorized, it could be that Nadab and Abihu were burning the incense with fire of their own making rather than taking fire from the altar, as specified in Leviticus 19:12. Or it could have been that the two men came into the tabernacle drunk and therefore could not remember what was a violation and what was not (Leviticus 10:8–9). Whatever it was the men did to render the offering profane, it was a sign of their disregard for the utter holiness of God and the need to honor and obey Him in solemn and holy fear. Their carelessness and irreverence were their downfall.

In judging Nadab and Abihu for their strange fire, God was making a point to all the other priests who would serve in His tabernacle—and later, in His temple—and to us, as well. Since this was the first time sacrifices were being offered on the altar and Israel was getting to know the living God better, when Aaron’s sons were disobedient and profane, God displayed His displeasure in no uncertain terms. God was not going to allow the disobedience of Aaron’s sons to set a precedent for future disregard of His Law. A similar story occurs in Acts 5:1–11, during the time of the early church. A husband and wife lie to Peter about some land given to the church, and they are judged with physical death because of their lie. As Peter puts it, “You have not lied just to human beings but to God” (Acts 5:4).

God knows our hearts. He knows what we truly believe and our attitude toward Him. We cannot offer to Him proud “sacrifices” that are unworthy of Him. He seeks those who come to Him in humility, ready to sacrifice their pride and lay before Him humble and contrite hearts grieving for sin (Psalm 51:17). Certainly, there is grace and forgiveness and plenty of “second chances” for those who belong to Him. But God wants us to know that He is serious when it comes to His honor and glory. If there is willful disobedience in the life of a believer, then God disciplines us out of His great love for us (Hebrews 12:7–11). If such disobedience continues, God will take harsher measures until we understand how we are disappointing Him. If we continue in our disobedience even after that, then God has every right to remove us from this earth (see 1 Corinthians 11:29–30).

Show post

got question #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Why did God condone such terrible violence in the Old Testament?"

Answer: The fact that God commanded the killing of entire nations in the Old Testament has been the subject of harsh criticism from opponents of Christianity for some time. That there was violence in the Old Testament is indisputable. The question is whether Old Testament violence is justifiable and condoned by God. In his bestselling book The God Delusion, atheist Richard Dawkins refers to the God of the Old Testament as “a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser.” Journalist Christopher Hitchens complains that the Old Testament contains a warrant for “indiscriminate massacre.” Other critics of Christianity have leveled similar charges, accusing Yahweh of “crimes against humanity.”

But are these criticisms valid? Is the God of the Old Testament a “moral monster” who arbitrarily commands genocide against innocent men, women, and children? Was His reaction to the sins of the Canaanites and the Amalekites a vicious form of “ethnic cleansing” no different from atrocities committed by the Nazis? Or is it possible that God could have had morally sufficient reasons for ordering the destruction of these nations?

A basic knowledge of Canaanite culture reveals its inherent moral wickedness. The Canaanites were a brutal, aggressive people who engaged in bestiality, incest, and even child sacrifice. Deviant sexual acts were the norm. The Canaanites’ sin was so repellent that God said, “The land vomited out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:25). Even so, the destruction was directed more at the Canaanite religion (Deuteronomy 7:3–5,12:2-3) than at the Canaanite people per se. The judgment was not ethnically motivated. Individual Canaanites, like Rahab in Jericho, could still find that mercy follows repentance (Joshua 2). God's desire is that the wicked turn from their sin rather than die (Ezekiel 18:31-32, 33:11).

Besides dealing with national sins, God used the conquest of Canaan to create a religious/historical context in which He could eventually introduce the Messiah to the world. This Messiah would bring salvation not only to Israel, but also to Israel’s enemies, including Canaan (Psalm 87:4-6; Mark 7:25–30).

It must be remembered that God gave the Canaanite people more than sufficient time to repent of their evil ways—over 400 years (Genesis 15:13–16)! The book of Hebrews tells us that the Canaanites were “disobedient,” which implies moral culpability on their part (Hebrews 11:31). The Canaanites were aware of God's power (Joshua 2:10–11; 9:9) and could have sought repentance. Except in rare instances, they continued their rebellion against God until the bitter end.

But didn’t God also command the Israelites to kill non-combatants? The biblical record is clear that He did. Here again, we must remember that, while it is true the Canaanite women did not fight, this in no way means they were innocent, as their seductive behavior in Numbers 25 indicates (Numbers 25:1–3). However, the question still remains: what about the children? This is not an easy question to answer, but we must keep several things in mind. First, no human person (including infants) is truly innocent. The Scripture teaches that we are all born in sin (Psalm 51:5; 58:3). This implies that all people are morally culpable for Adam’s sin in some way. Infants are just as condemned from sin as adults are.

Second, God is sovereign over all of life and can take it whenever He sees fit. God and God alone can give life, and God alone has the right to take it whenever He so chooses. In fact, He ultimately takes every person's life at death. It is not our life to begin with but God’s. While it is wrong for us to take a life, except in instances of capital punishment, war, and self-defense, this does not mean that it is wrong for God to do so. We intuitively recognize this when we accuse some person or authority who takes human life as "playing God." God is under no obligation to extend anyone's life for even another day. How and when we die is completely up to Him.

Third, an argument could be made that it would have been cruel for God to take the lives of all the Canaanites except the infants and children. Without the protection and support of their parents, the infants and small children were likely to face death anyway due to starvation. The chances of survival for an orphan in the ancient Near East were not good.

Finally, and most importantly, God may have provided for the salvation for those infants who would not have otherwise attained salvation if they had lived into adulthood. We must remember that the Canaanites were a barbarous and evil culture. If those infants and children had lived into adulthood, it is very likely they would have turned into something similar to their parents and been condemned to hell after they died. If all infants and young children who die before an age of moral accountability go straight to heaven (as we believe), then those children are in a far better place than if God had allowed them to live and grow to maturity in a depraved culture.

Surely, the issue of God commanding violence in the Old Testament is difficult. However, we must remember that God sees things from an eternal perspective, and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8–9). The apostle Paul tells us that God is both kind and severe (Romans 11:22). While it is true that God's holy character demands that sin be punished, His grace and mercy remain extended to those who are willing to repent and be saved. The Canaanite destruction provides us with a sober reminder that, while our God is gracious and merciful, He is also a God of holiness and wrath.

Show post

got question #fundie gotquestions.org

Answer: The Old Testament records God killing multitudes of people, and some people want to believe this makes Him a murderer. The misconception that “killing” and “murder” are synonymous is partially based on the King James mistranslation of the sixth commandment, which reads, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). However, the word kill is a translation of the Hebrew word ratsach, which nearly always refers to intentional killing without cause. The correct rendering of this word is “murder,” and all modern translations render the command as “You shall not murder.” The Bible in Basic English best conveys its meaning: “Do not put anyone to death without cause.”

It is true that God has intentionally killed many people. (God never “accidentally” does anything.) In fact, the Bible records that He literally wiped out entire nations including women, children, cattle, etc. In addition to that, God killed every living creature upon the face of the earth with the exception of eight people and the animals on the ark (Genesis 7:21-23; 1 Peter 3:20). Does this make Him a murderer?

As already stated, to kill and to murder are different things. Murder is “the premeditated, unlawful taking of a life,” whereas killing is, more generally, “the taking of a life.” The same Law that forbids murder permits killing in self-defense (Exodus 22:2).

In order for God to commit murder, He would have to act “unlawfully.” We must recognize that God is God. “His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4; see also Psalm 11:7; 90:9). He created man and expects obedience (Exodus 20:4-6; Exodus 23:21; 2 John 1:6). When man takes it upon himself to disobey God, he faces God’s wrath (Exodus 19:5; Exodus 23:21-22; Leviticus 26:14-18). Furthermore, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If [man] does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready” (Psalm 7:11-12).

Some would argue that executing the innocent is murder; thus, when God wipes out whole cities, He is committing murder. However, nowhere in Scripture can we find where God killed “innocent” people. In fact, compared to God’s holiness, there is no such thing as an “innocent” person. All have sinned (Romans 3:23), and the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23a). God has “just cause” to wipe us all out; the fact that He doesn’t is proof of His mercy.

When God chose to destroy all mankind in the Flood, He was totally justified in doing so: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

During the conquest of Canaan, God ordered the complete destruction of entire cities and nations: “But of the cities of these peoples which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the LORD your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 20:16-17). And Joshua did what God had told him (Joshua 10:40).

Why did God give such a command? Israel was God’s instrument of judgment against the Canaanites, who were evil, almost beyond what we can imagine today: “Every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:31). Their utter annihilation was commanded to prevent Israel from following their ways: “Lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 20:18; also Deuteronomy 12:29-30).

Even in the dire judgments of the Old Testament, God offered mercy. For example, when God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, God promised Abraham that He would spare the whole city in order to save ten righteous people there. Though God did destroy those cities (ten righteous people could not be found), He saved “righteous Lot” and his family (Genesis 18:32; Genesis 19:15; 2 Peter 2:7). Later, God destroyed Jericho, but He saved Rahab the harlot and her family in response to Rahab’s faith (Joshua 6:25; Hebrews 11:31). Until the final judgment, there is always mercy to be found.

Every person dies in God’s own time (Hebrews 9:27; Genesis 3:19). Jesus holds the keys of death (Revelation 1:18). Does the fact that everyone experiences physical death make God a “killer”? In the sense that He could prevent all death, yes. He allows us to die. But He is no murderer. Death is part of the human experience because we brought it into the world ourselves (Romans 5:12). One day, as John Donne put it, “Death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.” God, in His grace, has conquered death for those who are in Christ, and one day that truth will be fully realized: “The last enemy to be subdued and abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26).

God is faithful to His word. He will destroy the wicked, and He holds “the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment” (2 Peter 2:9). But He has also promised that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Why are there two different Creation accounts in Genesis chapters 1-2?"

Answer: Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Later, in Genesis 2:4, it seems that a second, different story of creation begins. The idea of two differing creation accounts is a common misinterpretation of these two passages which, in fact, describe the same creation event. They do not disagree as to the order in which things were created and do not contradict one another. Genesis 1 describes the “six days of creation” (and a seventh day of rest), Genesis 2 covers only one day of that creation week—the sixth day—and there is no contradiction.

In Genesis 2, the author steps back in the temporal sequence to the sixth day, when God made man. In the first chapter, the author of Genesis presents the creation of man on the sixth day as the culmination or high point of creation. Then, in the second chapter, the author gives greater detail regarding the creation of man.

There are two primary claims of contradictions between Genesis chapters 1-2. The first is in regard to plant life. Genesis 1:11 records God creating vegetation on the third day. Genesis 2:5 states that prior to the creation of man “no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground.” So, which is it? Did God create vegetation on the third day before He created man (Genesis 1), or after He created man (Genesis 2)? The Hebrew words for “vegetation” are different in the two passages. Genesis 1:11 uses a term that refers to vegetation in general. Genesis 2:5 uses a more specific term that refers to vegetation that requires agriculture, i.e., a person to tend it, a gardener. The passages do not contradict. Genesis 1:11 speaks of God creating vegetation, and Genesis 2:5 speaks of God not causing “farmable” vegetation to grow until after He created man.

The second claimed contradiction is in regard to animal life. Genesis 1:24-25 records God creating animal life on the sixth day, before He created man. Genesis 2:19, in some translations, seems to record God creating the animals after He had created man. However, a good and plausible translation of Genesis 2:19-20 reads, “Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.” The text does not say that God created man, then created the animals, and then brought the animals to the man. Rather, the text says, “Now the LORD God had [already] created all the animals.” There is no contradiction. On the sixth day, God created the animals, then created man, and then brought the animals to the man, allowing the man to name the animals.

By considering the two creation accounts individually and then reconciling them, we see that God describes the sequence of creation in Genesis 1, then clarifies its most important details, especially of the sixth day, in Genesis 2. There is no contradiction here, merely a common literary device describing an event from the general to the specific.

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Where was God on September 11?"

Answer: On September 11, 2001, God was exactly where He always is – in Heaven in total control of everything that happens in the universe. Why, then, would a good and loving God allow such a tragedy to happen? This is a more difficult question to answer. First, we must remember, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). It is impossible for finite human beings to understand the ways of an infinite God (Romans 11:33-35). Second, we must realize that God is not responsible for the wicked acts of evil men. The Bible tells us that humanity is desperately wicked and sinful (Romans 3:10-18, 23). God allows human beings to commit sin for His own reasons and to fulfill His own purposes. Sometimes we think we understand why God is doing something, only to find out later that it was for a different purpose than we originally thought.

God looks at things from an eternal perspective. We look at things from an earthly perspective. Why did God put man on earth, knowing that Adam and Eve would sin and therefore bring evil, death, and suffering on all mankind? Why didn’t He just create us all and leave us in Heaven where we would be perfect and without suffering? It must be remembered that the purpose for all creation and all creatures is to glorify God. God is glorified when His nature and attributes are on display. If there were no sin, God would have no opportunity to display His justice and wrath as He punishes sin. Nor would He have the opportunity to show His grace, His mercy, and His love to undeserving creatures. The ultimate display of God’s grace was at the Cross where Jesus died for our sins. Here was unselfishness and obedience displayed in His Son who knew no sin but was “made sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This was all to the “praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:14).

When thinking of September 11, we tend to forget the thousands of miracles that occurred on that day. Hundreds of people were able to flee the buildings just in the nick of time. A small handful of firemen and one civilian survived in a tiny space in a stairwell as the one of the towers collapsed around them. The passengers on Flight 93 defeating the terrorists was a miracle in and of itself. Yes, September 11 was a terrible day. Sin reared its ugly head and caused great devastation. However, God is still in control. His sovereignty is never to be doubted. Could God have prevented what happened on September 11? Of course He could, but He chose to allow the events to unfold exactly as they did. He prevented that day from being as bad as it could have been. Since September 11, how many lives have been changed for the better? How many people have placed their faith in Christ for salvation as a result of what happened? The words of Romans 8:28 should always be in our minds when we think of 9-11, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.”

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Does Deuteronomy 22:28-29 command a rape victim to marry her rapist?"

Answer: Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is often pointed to by atheists, skeptics, and other Bible attackers as evidence that the Bible is backwards, cruel, and misogynist, and therefore, not the Word of God. At first glance, this passage seems to command that a rape victim must marry her rapist. Is that the correct interpretation of the text, and if so, how is that not horribly unfair to the woman? This issue is actually addressed in two passages, both of which are below:

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 “If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days."

Exodus 22:16-17 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride price for her and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride price for virgins."

Together, these passages clearly state that if a man has sex with a virgin who is not betrothed (regardless of whether or not it was rape or consensual) he is obliged to marry her. He should have sought her father's permission first, negotiated a bride-price, and taken her as his wife. Because he did not, he is punished for this—he now must pay up (he can't opt out any more) and marry her (which could be a major punishment in itself if this was a foolish, spur-of-the-moment act and she really wasn't the right woman for him!).

Also note that "he may not divorce her all his days" – this initially doesn't seem significant but is actually a major punishment. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (restated more clearly in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9) allowed for divorce, but only in the case of sexual immorality (the word "uncleanness" refers to this and was translated as such in the LXX). This man now may not divorce his wife even for this reason, but is obliged to continue to support her all his life whatever she does.

But her father is ultimately in authority over her, as her head, until he hands this authority over to her husband. If the man is unsuitable, the father can refuse to give his daughter to him. How many fathers would give their daughter to a rapist? Not many. So, in general, a rapist would actually have to pay a 50 silver shekel fine to her father, and not get a wife at all.

The answer to the question is in Exodus 22:17 - the woman does NOT have to marry a rapist, she must only do what her father says.

Note that throughout the Old Testament no rape victim is ever recorded as being forced to marry a rapist. However it is plausible that there could be circumstances in which a father would choose to have his daughter marry a rapist. In 2 Samuel 13, Amnon, a son of David, rapes his half-sister, Tamar. Tamar was not forced to marry Amnon. Interestingly, though, Tamar seemed to have wanted to marry Amnon after the rape (2 Samuel 13:13-16). Why would she desire such a thing? In that culture, virginity was highly prized. It would have been very difficult for a woman who was not a virgin, and especially a woman who had been raped, to find a man to marry her. It seems that Tamar would have rather married Amnon than live desolate and single the rest of her life, which is what happened to her (2 Samuel 13:20). So Deuteronomy 22:28-29 could be viewed as merciful to the woman, who, because of the rape, would be considered unmarriageable. In that culture, a woman without a husband would have a very difficult time providing for herself. Unmarried women often had no choice but to sell themselves into slavery or prostitution just to survive. This is why the passage leaves marriage to the discretion of the father, because every situation is different, and it is better to be flexible than have a blanket rule.

Also note that the penalty for having sex with an unbetrothed virgin is completely different from the penalty for sex with a married or betrothed woman. Sex with a married or betrothed woman is adultery and was to be punished by the death of both if consensual, or the death of the man if it was rape (Deuteronomy 22:22-27).

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Is there an argument for the existence of God?"

Answer: The question of whether there is a conclusive argument for the existence of God has been debated throughout history, with exceedingly intelligent people taking both sides of the dispute. In recent times, arguments against the possibility of God’s existence have taken on a militant spirit that accuses anyone daring to believe in God as being delusional and irrational. Karl Marx asserted that anyone believing in God must have a mental disorder that caused invalid thinking. The psychiatrist Sigmund Freud wrote that a person who believed in a Creator God was delusional and only held those beliefs due to a “wish-fulfillment” factor that produced what Freud considered to be an unjustifiable position. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche bluntly said that faith equates to not wanting to know what is true. The voices of these three figures from history (along with others) are simply now parroted by a new generation of atheists who claim that a belief in God is intellectually unwarranted.

Is this truly the case? Is belief in God a rationally unacceptable position to hold? Is there a logical and reasonable argument for the existence of God? Outside of referencing the Bible, can a case for the existence of God be made that refutes the positions of both the old and new atheists and gives sufficient warrant for believing in a Creator? The answer is, yes, it can. Moreover, in demonstrating the validity of an argument for the existence of God, the case for atheism is shown to be intellectually weak.

To make an argument for the existence of God, we must start by asking the right questions. We begin with the most basic metaphysical question: “Why do we have something rather than nothing at all?” This is the basic question of existence—why are we here; why is the earth here; why is the universe here rather than nothing? Commenting on this point, one theologian has said, “In one sense man does not ask the question about God, his very existence raises the question about God.”

In considering this question, there are four possible answers to why we have something rather than nothing at all:

1. Reality is an illusion.
2. Reality is/was self-created.
3. Reality is self-existent (eternal).
4. Reality was created by something that is self-existent.

So, which is the most plausible solution? Let’s begin with reality being simply an illusion, which is what a number of Eastern religions believe. This option was ruled out centuries ago by the philosopher Rene Descartes who is famous for the statement, “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes, a mathematician, argued that if he is thinking, then he must “be.” In other words, “I think, therefore I am not an illusion.” Illusions require something experiencing the illusion, and moreover, you cannot doubt the existence of yourself without proving your existence; it is a self-defeating argument. So the possibility of reality being an illusion is eliminated.

Next is the option of reality being self-created. When we study philosophy, we learn of “analytically false” statements, which means they are false by definition. The possibility of reality being self-created is one of those types of statements for the simple reason that something cannot be prior to itself. If you created yourself, then you must have existed prior to you creating yourself, but that simply cannot be. In evolution this is sometimes referred to as “spontaneous generation” —something coming from nothing—a position that few, if any, reasonable people hold to anymore simply because you cannot get something from nothing. Even the atheist David Hume said, “I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause.” Since something cannot come from nothing, the alternative of reality being self-created is ruled out.

Now we are left with only two choices—an eternal reality or reality being created by something that is eternal: an eternal universe or an eternal Creator. The 18th-century theologian Jonathan Edwards summed up this crossroads:

• Something exists.
• Nothing cannot create something.
• Therefore, a necessary and eternal “something” exists.

Notice that we must go back to an eternal “something.” The atheist who derides the believer in God for believing in an eternal Creator must turn around and embrace an eternal universe; it is the only other door he can choose. But the question now is, where does the evidence lead? Does the evidence point to matter before mind or mind before matter?

To date, all key scientific and philosophical evidence points away from an eternal universe and toward an eternal Creator. From a scientific standpoint, honest scientists admit the universe had a beginning, and whatever has a beginning is not eternal. In other words, whatever has a beginning has a cause, and if the universe had a beginning, it had a cause. The fact that the universe had a beginning is underscored by evidence such as the second law of thermodynamics, the radiation echo of the big bang discovered in the early 1900s, the fact that the universe is expanding and can be traced back to a singular beginning, and Einstein’s theory of relativity. All prove the universe is not eternal.

Further, the laws that surround causation speak against the universe being the ultimate cause of all we know for this simple fact: an effect must resemble its cause. This being true, no atheist can explain how an impersonal, purposeless, meaningless, and amoral universe accidentally created beings (us) who are full of personality and obsessed with purpose, meaning, and morals. Such a thing, from a causation standpoint, completely refutes the idea of a natural universe birthing everything that exists. So in the end, the concept of an eternal universe is eliminated.

Philosopher J. S. Mill (not a Christian) summed up where we have now come to: “It is self-evident that only Mind can create mind.” The only rational and reasonable conclusion is that an eternal Creator is the one who is responsible for reality as we know it. Or to put it in a logical set of statements:

• Something exists.
• You do not get something from nothing.
• Therefore a necessary and eternal “something” exists.
• The only two options are an eternal universe and an eternal Creator.
• Science and philosophy have disproven the concept of an eternal universe.
• Therefore, an eternal Creator exists.

Former atheist Lee Strobel, who arrived at this end result many years ago, has commented, “Essentially, I realized that to stay an atheist, I would have to believe that nothing produces everything; non-life produces life; randomness produces fine-tuning; chaos produces information; unconsciousness produces consciousness; and non-reason produces reason. Those leaps of faith were simply too big for me to take, especially in light of the affirmative case for God's existence … In other words, in my assessment the Christian worldview accounted for the totality of the evidence much better than the atheistic worldview.”

But the next question we must tackle is this: if an eternal Creator exists (and we have shown that He does), what kind of Creator is He? Can we infer things about Him from what He created? In other words, can we understand the cause by its effects? The answer to this is yes, we can, with the following characteristics being surmised:

• He must be supernatural in nature (as He created time and space).
• He must be powerful (exceedingly).
• He must be eternal (self-existent).
• He must be omnipresent (He created space and is not limited by it).
• He must be timeless and changeless (He created time).
• He must be immaterial because He transcends space/physical.
• He must be personal (the impersonal cannot create personality).
• He must be infinite and singular as you cannot have two infinites.
• He must be diverse yet have unity as unity and diversity exist in nature.
• He must be intelligent (supremely). Only cognitive being can produce cognitive being.
• He must be purposeful as He deliberately created everything.
• He must be moral (no moral law can be had without a giver).
• He must be caring (or no moral laws would have been given).

These things being true, we now ask if any religion in the world describes such a Creator. The answer to this is yes: the God of the Bible fits this profile perfectly. He is supernatural (Genesis 1:1), powerful (Jeremiah 32:17), eternal (Psalm 90:2), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7), timeless/changeless (Malachi 3:6), immaterial (John 5:24), personal (Genesis 3:9), necessary (Colossians 1:17), infinite/singular (Jeremiah 23:24, Deuteronomy 6:4), diverse yet with unity (Matthew 28:19), intelligent (Psalm 147:4-5), purposeful (Jeremiah 29:11), moral (Daniel 9:14), and caring (1 Peter 5:6-7).

One last subject to address on the matter of God’s existence is the matter of how justifiable the atheist’s position actually is. Since the atheist asserts the believer’s position is unsound, it is only reasonable to turn the question around and aim it squarely back at him. The first thing to understand is that the claim the atheist makes—“no god,” which is what “atheist” means—is an untenable position to hold from a philosophical standpoint. As legal scholar and philosopher Mortimer Adler says, “An affirmative existential proposition can be proved, but a negative existential proposition—one that denies the existence of something—cannot be proved.” For example, someone may claim that a red eagle exists and someone else may assert that red eagles do not exist. The former only needs to find a single red eagle to prove his assertion. But the latter must comb the entire universe and literally be in every place at once to ensure he has not missed a red eagle somewhere and at some time, which is impossible to do. This is why intellectually honest atheists will admit they cannot prove God does not exist.

Next, it is important to understand the issue that surrounds the seriousness of truth claims that are made and the amount of evidence required to warrant certain conclusions. For example, if someone puts two containers of lemonade in front of you and says that one may be more tart than the other, since the consequences of getting the more tart drink would not be serious, you would not require a large amount of evidence in order to make your choice. However, if to one cup the host added sweetener but to the other he introduced rat poison, then you would want to have quite a bit of evidence before you made your choice.

This is where a person sits when deciding between atheism and belief in God. Since belief in atheism could possibly result in irreparable and eternal consequences, it would seem that the atheist should be mandated to produce weighty and overriding evidence to support his position, but he cannot. Atheism simply cannot meet the test for evidence for the seriousness of the charge it makes. Instead, the atheist and those whom he convinces of his position slide into eternity with their fingers crossed and hope they do not find the unpleasant truth that eternity does indeed exist. As Mortimer Adler says, “More consequences for life and action follow from the affirmation or denial of God than from any other basic question.”

So does belief in God have intellectual warrant? Is there a rational, logical, and reasonable argument for the existence of God? Absolutely. While atheists such as Freud claim that those believing in God have a wish-fulfillment desire, perhaps it is Freud and his followers who actually suffer from wish-fulfillment: the hope and wish that there is no God, no accountability, and therefore no judgment. But refuting Freud is the God of the Bible who affirms His existence and the fact that a judgment is indeed coming for those who know within themselves the truth that He exists but suppress that truth (Romans 1:20). But for those who respond to the evidence that a Creator does indeed exist, He offers the way of salvation that has been accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13).

Show post

unknown #fundie gotquestions.org

Demon possession is a condition in which a demon or demons have complete control over a person. Demon possession involves demons actually inhabiting a person and controlling his or her actions (see Mark 9:22). Christians cannot be demon possessed. The indwelling Holy Spirit will not allow it (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18). Therefore, the devil and his demons cannot control a believer. They cannot make us do anything involuntarily. So, rather than blame the devil, we need to look at ourselves.

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/the-devil-made-me-do-it.html#ixzz3eImsj8i1

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "What is the right religion for me?"

Answer: Fast food restaurants entice us by allowing us to order our food exactly the way we want it. Some coffee shops boast over a hundred different flavors and varieties of coffee. Even when buying houses and cars, we can look for one with all the options and features we desire. We no longer live in just a chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry world. Choice is king! You can find about anything you want according to your own personal likes and needs.

So how about a religion that is just right for you? How about a religion that is guilt-free, makes no demands, and is not encumbered with a lot of bothersome do's and don'ts? It is out there, just as I have described. But is religion something to be chosen like a favorite flavor of ice cream?

There are a lot of voices vying for our attention, so why should anyone consider Jesus above, say, Muhammad or Confucius, Buddha, or Charles Taze Russell, or Joseph Smith? After all, don't all roads lead to Heaven? Aren't all religions basically the same? The truth is that all religions do not lead to Heaven, just as all roads do not lead to Indiana.

Jesus alone speaks with the authority of God because Jesus alone conquered death. Muhammad, Confucius, and the others molder in their graves to this very day. But Jesus, by His own power, walked away from the tomb three days after dying on a cruel Roman cross. Anyone with power over death deserves our attention. Anyone with power over death deserves to be heard.

The evidence supporting the resurrection of Jesus is overwhelming. First, there were over five hundred eye witnesses of the risen Christ! That is a lot of eye witnesses. Five hundred voices cannot be ignored. There is also the matter of the empty tomb. The enemies of Jesus could have easily stopped all talk of the resurrection by producing His dead, decaying body, but there was no dead body for them to produce! The tomb was empty! Could the disciples have stolen His body? Hardly. To prevent such a contingency, the tomb of Jesus had been heavily guarded by armed soldiers. Considering His closest followers had fled in fear at His arrest and crucifixion, it is most unlikely this ragtag band of frightened fishermen would have gone head to head against trained, professional soldiers. Nor would they have sacrificed their lives and become martyrs—as most of them did—for a fraud. The simple fact is that the resurrection of Jesus cannot be explained away!

Again, anyone who has power over death deserves to be heard. Jesus proved His power over death; therefore, we need to hear what He says. Jesus claims to be the only way to salvation (John 14:6). He is not a way; He is not one of many ways. Jesus is the way.

And this same Jesus says, "Come to me all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). This is a tough world and life is difficult. Most of us are pretty well bloodied, bruised, and battle-scarred. Agree? So what do you want? Restoration or mere religion? A living Savior or one of many dead "prophets"? A meaningful relationship or empty rituals? Jesus is not a choice—He is the choice!

Jesus is the right "religion" if you are looking for forgiveness (Acts 10:43). Jesus is the right "religion" if you are looking for a meaningful relationship with God (John 10:10). Jesus is the right "religion" if you are looking for an eternal home in Heaven (John 3:16). Place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior; you will not regret it! Trust in Him for the forgiveness of your sins; you will not be disappointed.

If you want to have a "right relationship" with God, here is a sample prayer. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. It is only trusting in Christ that can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. "God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness - the gift of eternal life! Amen!"

Have you made a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, please click on the "I have accepted Christ today" button below.

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

[What happens to those who have never heard about Jesus?]

The problem is “there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11). People reject the knowledge of God that is present in nature and in their own hearts, and instead decide to worship a “god” of their own creation. It is foolish to debate the fairness of God sending someone to hell who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ. People are responsible to God for what God has already revealed to them. The Bible says that people reject this knowledge, and therefore God is just in condemning them to hell.

Instead of debating the fate of those who have never heard, we, as Christians, should be doing our best to make sure they do hear. We are called to spread the gospel throughout the nations (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). We know people reject the knowledge of God revealed in nature, and that must motivate us to proclaim the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Only by accepting God’s grace through the Lord Jesus Christ can people be saved from their sins and rescued from an eternity apart from God.

If we assume that those who never hear the gospel are granted mercy from God, we will run into a terrible problem. If people who never hear the gospel are saved, it is logical that we should make sure no one ever hears the gospel. The worst thing we could do would be to share the gospel with a person and have him or her reject it. If that were to happen, he or she would be condemned. People who do not hear the gospel must be condemned, or else there is no motivation for evangelism. Why run the risk of people possibly rejecting the gospel and condemning themselves when they were previously saved because they had never heard the gospel?

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

The vehemence and anger expressed by many in the gay rights movement to any who oppose them is, in fact, an indication that they know their position is indefensible. Trying to overcome a weak position by raising your voice is the oldest trick in the debating book. There is perhaps no more accurate description of the modern gay rights agenda than Romans 1:31, “they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

To give sanction to gay marriage/same-sex marriage would be to give approval to the homosexual lifestyle, which the Bible clearly and consistently condemns as sinful. Christians should stand firmly against the idea of gay marriage/same-sex marriage. Further, there are strong and logical arguments against gay marriage/same-sex marriage from contexts completely separated from the Bible. One does not have to be an evangelical Christian to recognize that marriage is between a man and a woman.

According to the Bible, marriage is ordained by God to be between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 19:4-6). Gay marriage/same-sex marriage is a perversion of the institution of marriage and an offense to the God who created marriage. As Christians, we are not to condone or ignore sin. Rather, we are to share the love of God and the forgiveness of sins that is available to all, including homosexuals, through Jesus Christ. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and contend for truth with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). As Christians, when we make a stand for truth and the result is personal attacks, insults, and persecution, we should remember the words of Jesus: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

So, if the Bible, history, psychology, and nature all argue for marriage being between a man and a woman—why is there such a controversy today? Why are those who are opposed to gay marriage/same-sex marriage labeled as hateful, intolerant bigots, no matter how respectfully the opposition is presented? Why is the gay rights movement so aggressively pushing for gay marriage/same-sex marriage when most people, religious and non-religious, are supportive of—or at least far less opposed to—gay couples having all the same legal rights as married couples with some form of civil union?

The answer, according to the Bible, is that everyone inherently knows that homosexuality is immoral and unnatural, and the only way to suppress this inherent knowledge is by normalizing homosexuality and attacking any and all opposition to it. The best way to normalize homosexuality is by placing gay marriage/same-sex marriage on an equal plane with traditional opposite-gender marriage. Romans 1:18-32 illustrates this. The truth is known because God has made it plain. The truth is rejected and replaced with a lie. The lie is then promoted and the truth suppressed and attacked.

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "What does the Bible say about gay marriage / same sex marriage?"

Answer: While the Bible does address homosexuality, it does not explicitly mention gay marriage/same-sex marriage. It is clear, however, that the Bible condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin. Leviticus 18:22 identifies homosexual sex as an abomination, a detestable sin. Romans 1:26-27 declares homosexual desires and actions to be shameful, unnatural, lustful, and indecent. First Corinthians 6:9 states that homosexuals are unrighteous and will not inherit the kingdom of God. Since both homosexual desires and actions are condemned in the Bible, it is clear that homosexuals “marrying” is not God’s will, and would be, in fact, sinful.

Whenever the Bible mentions marriage, it is between a male and a female. The first mention of marriage, Genesis 2:24, describes it as a man leaving his parents and being united to his wife. In passages that contain instructions regarding marriage, such as 1 Corinthians 7:2-16 and Ephesians 5:23-33, the Bible clearly identifies marriage as being between a man and a woman. Biblically speaking, marriage is the lifetime union of a man and a woman, primarily for the purpose of building a family and providing a stable environment for that family.

The Bible alone, however, does not have to be used to demonstrate this understanding of marriage. The biblical viewpoint of marriage has been the universal understanding of marriage in every human civilization in world history. History argues against gay marriage. Modern secular psychology recognizes that men and women are psychologically and emotionally designed to complement one another. In regard to the family, psychologists contend that a union between a man and woman in which both spouses serve as good gender role models is the best environment in which to raise well-adjusted children. Psychology argues against gay marriage. In nature/physicality, clearly, men and women were designed to “fit” together sexually. With the “natural” purpose of sexual intercourse being procreation, clearly only a sexual relationship between a man and a woman can fulfill this purpose. Nature argues against gay marriage.

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Theistic evolutionists tend to subscribe to either the day-age theory or the framework theory, both of which are allegorical interpretations of the Genesis 1 creation week. Young earth creationists subscribe to a literal 24-hour day as they read Genesis 1. Both of the theistic evolutionist views are flawed from a Christian perspective in that they do not line up with the Genesis creation account.

Theistic evolutionists imagine a Darwinian scenario in which stars evolved, then our solar system, then earth, then plants and animals, and eventually man. The two theistic evolution viewpoints disagree as to the role God played in the unfolding of events, but they generally agree on the Darwinian timeline. This timeline is in conflict with the Genesis creation account. For example, Genesis 1 says that the earth was created on day one and the sun, moon, and stars were not created until day four. Some argue that the wording of Genesis suggests the sun, moon, and stars were actually created on day one but they could not be seen through earth’s atmosphere until day four, leading to their placement on day four. This is a bit of a stretch, as the Genesis account is pretty clear that the earth did not have an atmosphere until the second day. If the sun, moon, and stars were created on day one, they should have been visible on day one.

Also, the Genesis account clearly says that birds were created with sea creatures on day five while land animals were not created until day six. This is in direct opposition to the Darwinian view that birds evolved from land animals. The biblical account says that birds preceded land animals. The theistic evolutionist view says exactly the opposite.

One of the most unfortunate trends in modern Christianity is that of reinterpreting Genesis to accommodate evolutionary theories. Many well-known Bible teachers and apologists have caved in to the evolutionists and have come to believe that adhering to a literal interpretation of Genesis is somehow detrimental to the credibility of Christians. If anything, evolutionists lose respect for those whose belief in the Bible is so tenuous that they are willing to quickly compromise it. Although the number of true creationists may be dwindling in academia, several faithful organizations such as Answers in Genesis, the Creation Research Society, and the Institute for Creation Research have affirmed that the Bible is not only compatible with real science, but affirm that not a single word in the Bible has ever been disproved by true science. The Bible is God’s living Word, given to us by the Creator of the universe, and His description of how He created that universe is not compatible with the theory of evolution, even a “theistic” understanding of evolution.

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "Why is the idea of eternal damnation so repulsive to many people?"

Answer: In the shifting winds of modern cultures, the idea of everlasting torment and damnation is difficult for many people to grasp. Why is this? The Bible makes it clear that hell is a literal place. Christ spoke more about hell than He did of heaven. Not only Satan and his minions will be punished there, everyone who rejects Jesus Christ will spend eternity right along with them. A desire to reject or revise the doctrine of hell will not mitigate its flames or make the place go away. Still, the idea of eternal damnation is spurned by many, and here are some reasons for it:

The influence of contemporary thought. In this postmodern era, many go to great lengths to assure no one is offended, and the biblical doctrine of hell is considered offensive. It is too harsh, too old-fashioned, too insensitive. The wisdom of this world is focused on this life, with no thought of the life to come.

Fear. Never-ending, conscious punishment devoid of any hope is indeed a frightening prospect. Many people would rather ignore the source of fear than face it and deal with it biblically. The fact is, hell should be frightening, considering it is the place of judgment originally created for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

A flawed view of God’s love. Many who reject the idea of eternal damnation do so because they find it difficult to believe that a loving God could banish people to a place as horrific as hell for all eternity. However, God’s love does not negate His justice, His righteousness, or His holiness. Neither does His justice negate His love. In fact, God’s love has provided the way to escape His wrath: the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 3:16-18).

A downplaying of sin. Some find it shockingly unfair that the recompense for a mere lifetime of sinning should be an eternal punishment. Others reject the idea of hell because, in their minds, sin isn’t all that bad. Certainly not bad enough to warrant eternal torture. Of course, it is usually our own sin that we downplay; other people might deserve hell—murderers and the like. This attitude reveals a misunderstanding of the universally heinous nature of sin. The problem is an insistence on our own basic goodness, which precludes thoughts of a fiery judgment and denies the truth of Romans 3:10 (“There is no one righteous, not even one”). The egregiousness of iniquity compelled Christ to the cross. God hated sin to death.

Aberrant theories. Another reason people reject the concept of eternal damnation is that they have been taught alternative theories. One such theory is universalism, which says that everyone will eventually make it to heaven. Another theory is annihilationism, in which the existence of hell is acknowledged, but its eternal nature is denied. Annihilationists believe that those who end up in hell will eventually die and cease to exist (i.e., they will be annihilated). This theory simply makes hell a temporary punishment. Both these theories are presented as viable options to the biblical teaching on hell; however, both make the mistake of placing human opinion over divine revelation.

Incomplete teaching. Many contemporary pastors who do believe in the doctrine of hell consider it simply too delicate a subject to preach on. This further contributes to the modern denial of hell. Congregants in churches where hell is not preached are ignorant of what the Bible says on the subject and are prime candidates for deception on the issue. A pastor’s responsibility is “to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3), not pick and choose what parts of the Bible to leave out.

Satan’s ploys. Satan’s first lie was a denial of judgment. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent told Eve, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). It is still one of Satan’s main tactics. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the blindness he produces includes a denial of God’s holy decrees. Convince the unsaved that there is no judgment, and they can “eat, drink and be merry” with no care for the future.

If we understand the nature of our Creator, we should have no difficulty understanding the concept of hell. “[God] is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4, emphasis added). His desire is that no one perish but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

To contradict the Bible’s teaching on hell is to say, essentially, “If I were God, I would not make hell like that.” The problem with such a mindset is its inherent pride—it smugly suggests that we can improve on God’s plan. However, we are not wiser than God; we are not more loving or more just. Rejecting or revising the biblical doctrine of hell carries a sad irony, which one writer put this way: “The only result of attempts, however well meaning, to air-condition hell is to assure that more and more people wind up there.”

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/eternal-damnation.html#ixzz3VMhetZD8

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

While nothing can justify the Holocaust, we do see at least one good thing which came from World War II: Israel now exists as a nation. The Holocaust was a primary reason the White Paper of 1939 was rescinded, freeing Jews to immigrate to Palestine. The fact that, as of 1948, the Jews have a restored national identity helps to fulfill such biblical prophecies as Ezekiel 37 and Matthew 24. Defeating Nazism and giving the land of Israel back to the Jews is a classic example of God’s thwarting Satan’s plan and bringing about good in spite of the evil.

In all of His doings, God is just (Psalm 145:17). The blame for the Holocaust lies squarely on the shoulders of sinful humanity. The Holocaust was the product of sinful choices made by sinful men in rebellion against a holy God. If the Holocaust proves anything, it is the utter depravity of man. Just fourteen years after "the war to end all wars" (World War I), Hitler rose to power. What is even more shocking is that millions followed him, enabling his horrific policies and pursuing a path to national destruction.

And while Nazism took hold in Germany, where were the European churches? Some, it is true, stood fast against the evil in their midst, and some churchmen, such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, paid the ultimate price for dissenting. But they were the minority. Most churches of the era acquiesced to Nazi Party rules and remained silent while the Jews were slaughtered. Where were the world leaders? Other than England’s Winston Churchill, the world’s politicos took the route of isolation or appeasement. Neither worked. Where were the good, decent people? Edmund Burke is often quoted as saying, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." Although there were a few Germans and other Europeans such as Oscar Schindler and Corrie ten Boom and her family, who risked their lives to save thousands of Jews from annihilation, most remained silent and the Holocaust ensued. The question is not so much "Why did God allow the Holocaust?" but "Why did we?"

God gives mankind freedom of choice. We can choose to follow Him and take a stand for righteousness, or we can rebel against Him and pursue evil. The problem resides in the heart of man. "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). Until man’s heart turns to God, the world will continue to witness "ethnic cleansings," genocides, and atrocities such as the Holocaust.

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Could God have prevented the Holocaust? Yes, He could have. He could also have prevented Stalin’s massacres in the U.S.S.R., the Spanish Inquisition’s torture of dissidents, and Nero’s reign of terror. In each case, God allowed evil men to exercise a certain amount of power for a short period of time.

Ultimately, we do not know the reasons for what God allows. His ways and thoughts are infinitely higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). His sovereign plan takes in the whole scope of history, past, present, and future, encompassing every possible course of action, every cause and effect, every potentiality, and every contingency. There is no way we could possibly fathom the intricacies of His design. By faith, we trust that His plan is the best plan possible for restoring fallen humanity and a cursed world to righteousness and blessing.

But we can understand this: God’s permission is not the same as His approval. God permitted Adam to eat of the forbidden tree, but He did not approve of the action. In the same way, God’s allowing the Holocaust in no way suggests His approval of it. God is grieved by the sinfulness of man and the hardness of his heart (Genesis 6:6; Mark 3:5).

We also know that God has done everything possible to redeem us from the sin which would destroy us. He gave His only Son, who sacrificed His life for our sin and took our penalty. All who turn to Jesus Christ in faith are saved. The sin in this world, and horrors such as the Holocaust, are a direct result of mankind’s continued rebellion against God.

Show post

Got Questions ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "If I convert to Christianity, my family will disown me, and I will be persecuted. Should I follow Jesus?"

Answer: Converting to Christianity means becoming a follower of Jesus by faith (John 10:26-30). Crowds flocked to Jesus, but most were not His true followers. They just wanted to experience healing of their diseases, see Jesus cast out demons, and eat their fill of the bread He miraculously provided. Jesus warned them of the cost of following Him.

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels’” (Mark 8:34-38).

Would you follow your own fleshly desires, or would you deny yourself and follow Jesus? Do you value your earthly life or eternal life? Do you treasure the goods of this world or the salvation of your soul? Do you fear being ashamed of Jesus or fear Jesus being ashamed of you?

You pursue what you treasure. You go to work and sweat because you know the rewards of a paycheck outweigh the temporary pleasure of reclining at home in front of the T.V. If Jesus calls you, you will follow, knowing that losing your earthly life is worth gaining eternal life.

Would you follow Jesus? Count the cost (Luke 14:25-33):

• Following Jesus costs your own life. Jesus said you must deny yourself, taking up your cross. One who rejects the cross cannot be Christ’s disciple (Luke 14:27).

• Following Jesus may cost the loss of family and friends. Jesus said His coming often brings division between His followers and their families, friends, and the world. Anyone who does not hate (meaning love less) his family is not worthy of Christ (Matthew 10:32-39).

• Following Jesus may cost the loss of your possessions. One rich man proudly thought he was good enough to go to heaven. “Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me’” (Matthew 19:21). Loving wealth more, the rich man sadly forsook Jesus.

• Following Jesus will cost facing persecution. Christians should expect suffering as a normal part of belonging to the “man of sorrows” (See Isaiah 53 and John 15:18-21). Jesus even called the persecuted one “blessed,” saying “rejoice and be glad for your reward in heaven is great” (See Matthew 5:10-12).

God’s people have always faced persecution. The prophets were reviled, tortured, and killed (Hebrews 11:37). History records that ten of Jesus’ disciples were executed for preaching Christ. Tradition states that Peter insisted on being crucified upside down because he counted himself unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord. Yet he wrote, “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of God and of glory rests on you” (1 Peter 4:14). The apostle Paul was jailed, beaten, shipwrecked, and stoned numerous times for preaching Christ, but he considered suffering not even worth mentioning compared to the reward he knew awaited in paradise (Romans 8:18).

Following Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose your possessions, family, friends, and physical life, but are you willing?

While the cost of discipleship seems high, persecution brings earthly and heavenly rewards. Through persecution, the Lord stays with believers (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5); He knows their limits and gives grace (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9); He rewards them in heaven (Matthew 5:10-12); He works persecution for good, shaping the believer’s character and glorifying Himself (Romans 8:28). The rewards far outweigh the cost of following Jesus!

Jesus suffered and died on the cross to take the believer’s punishment for sin. The only way of forgiveness and eternal life is through faith in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9). Although a Christian’s enduring persecution does not add any saving merit to the perfect work of Christ, a true believer will faithfully follow Jesus through suffering.

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

Question: "How is the Islamic idea of jihad different from the violence in the Bible?"

Answer: Immediately following the horrific terrorist attacks on 9/11, many Westerners began to take notice of Islam for the first time. Many were shocked to find out that Islam’s holy book (the Koran) provides specific injunctions to engage in acts of violence as part of the “holy war” (jihad) in the cause of their religion. Soon many secular thinkers began to draw comparisons between Islamic terrorist attacks and the violence found in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. But are these comparisons valid? Are the commands of Yahweh to the Israelites in the Old Testament the same as jihad as prescribed in the Koran? What is the difference between the violence found in the Bible and Islamic understanding of jihad?

To answer this question, we must define what we mean by “jihad.” The word jihad means “striving” or “struggle.” Within Islam, there are several categories of jihad. The word can be used to describe various types of struggles such as “jihad of the pen” (which would involve persuasion or instruction in the promotion of Islam) or “jihad of the heart” (a battle against one’s own sin). However, the most well-known form of jihad is that which involves physical violence or warfare in the cause of Islam. While the Koran does contain passages that encourage Muslims to engage unbelievers with grace and persuasion (Sura 16:125), the Koran contains other verses that appear to command Muslims to engage in offensive physical warfare against non-Muslims.

In Sura 9 we read, “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem [of war]; but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful” (Sura 9:5). Also in Sura 9, “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, [even if they are] of the People of the Book [Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya [tribute] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Sura 9:29).

In addition to the teachings of the Koran, Muslims also follow the Hadith, a supposedly inspired record of Muhammad’s words and actions. The Hadith explains how Muhammad instructed his commander when sent out on an expedition, “When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to [accept] Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them” (Sahih Muslim, Book 19, Number 4294).

But what about the violence commanded by God in the Old Testament? Is that any different? The most often-discussed episodes of violence in the Old Testament are Yahweh’s command for the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites and return to the land that He had promised to them. When assessing these incidents, we must understand the context in which these events took place. The Canaanites were a brutal and wicked culture that frequently engaged in incredibly decadent behavior. As Christian author Norman Geisler put it, “This was a thoroughly evil culture, so much so that the Bible says it nauseated God. They were into brutality, cruelty, incest, bestiality, cultic prostitution, and even child sacrifice by fire. They were an aggressive culture that wanted to annihilate the Israelites.”

By ordering the destruction of the Canaanites, God enacted a form of corporate capital punishment on a people that had been deserving of God’s judgment for some time. God had given the Canaanite people over 400 years to repent (Genesis 15:13–16). When they did not, the Lord used the Israelites as an instrument of judgment on an evil and deeply depraved society. The Canaanites were not ignorant as news of God’s awesome power had reached them (Joshua 2:10–11; 9:9). Such awareness should have driven them to repentance. The example of Rahab and her family is a sure proof that the Canaanites could have avoided their destruction if they had repented before Israel’s God (Joshua 2). No person had to die. God’s desire is that the wicked turn from their sin rather than perish (Ezekiel 18:31–32; 33:11). We must also remember that Yahweh did not sanction all of the wars recorded in the Old Testament, and that all of the wars that were specifically commissioned by Him beyond the time of Joshua were defensive in nature. A number of the battles that Israel fought on the way to and within Canaan were also defensive in nature (Exodus 17:8; Numbers 21:21–32; Deuteronomy 2:26–37;Joshua 10:4).

The more difficult question, however, has to do with Yahweh’s command to kill all of the Canaanites, including the women and children. In response to this, two points need to be kept in mind. First, while the Bible reads that such a command was given, it may well be the case that no women or children were actually killed. All of the battles would probably have involved only soldiers where women and children would likely have fled. As Jeremiah 4 indicates, “At the noise of horseman and archer every city takes to flight; they enter thickets; they climb among rocks; all the cities are forsaken, and no man dwells in them” (Jeremiah 4:29).

Moreover, Deuteronomy 7:2–5 uses the phrase “utterly destroy” immediately followed by “you shall not intermarry among them,” highlighting the fact that, at least in some instances, the biblical authors may have employed the rhetorical exaggeration (e.g., “all that breathes,” “utterly destroy,” etc.) common to ancient Near East military accounts. This leaves open the possibility that these phrases may express some degree of hyperbolic language, and thus, that no non-combatants were actually killed. The text nowhere explicitly narrates any women or children actually being killed in these battles.

Second, even if we interpret the text to mean that children were killed, this may have been God’s way of ensuring that these children would be saved and immediately brought into His eternal kingdom. The Scripture implies that all children who die before an age of moral accountability will enter heaven (2 Samuel 12:23; Matthew 19:14). Had God allowed these children to grow up in such a vile and heinous culture, these children would likely have grown up into something like their parents and been condemned to hell after they died. God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and we are simply not in a position to question God as to what is best. Since God is the Giver of life, only He has the right to take it.

In conclusion, we have seen that there is a radical difference between the violence in the Old Testament and Islamic jihad. First, the violence prescribed by God in the Old Testament was intended for a particular time and limited to a particular people group. There was no precedent set to continue this practice beyond what God had commanded. In contrast, the Koran actually prescribes and condones military jihad in the promotion of Islam. At no time in the Bible do we see God commanding His people to kill unbelievers in the promotion of biblical faith. Second, it is beyond dispute that, in its earliest years, Islam was promoted by the sword. It is exactly the opposite for early Christianity. Many of the early Christians were severely persecuted and martyred for their commitment to Christ. As one Christian philosopher put it, “Both Islam and Christianity were spread by the sword, but the swords were pointing in opposite directions!”

Finally, for the Christian, the final and complete revelation of God is in Jesus Christ, who was remarkably non-violent in His approach. If a Christian engages in violence in the name of Christ, he is doing so in direct disobedience of His Master. Jesus taught that all who live by the sword will die by it (Matthew 26:52). The teachings and example of Muhammad are very different. A Muslim who desires to commit violence in the name of Islam can find ample justification for his action both in the Koran and in the words and actions of the prophet Muhammad.

Show post

unknown #fundie gotquestions.org

Both Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 read, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Some take these verses to indicate that atheists are stupid, i.e., lacking intelligence. However, that is not the meaning of the Hebrew word translated “fool.” In this text, the Hebrew word is nabal, which refers more to a “moral fool,” e.g., someone without morals. The meaning of the text is not “unintelligent people do not believe in God.” Rather, the meaning of the text is “immoral people do not believe in God.”

Many atheists are very intelligent. It is not intelligence, or a lack thereof, that leads a person to reject belief in God. It is a lack of morals that leads a person to reject belief in God. People do not reject the idea of there being a Creator Being. Rather, people reject the idea of there being a Creator Being who demands morality from His creation. In order to clear their consciences and relieve themselves of guilt, people reject the idea of God as the only source of absolute morality. Doing so allows atheists to live however they choose—as morally or as immorally as they desire—with no feelings of guilt for their refusal to be accountable to God.

Several prominent atheists have admitted this. One famous atheist, when asked what he hopes to accomplish through atheism, declared that he wants “to drink as much alcohol and have sex with as many women as possible.” Belief in a divine Being is accompanied by a feeling of accountability and responsibility toward that Being. So, to escape from the condemnation of conscience, which itself was created by God, one must deny the existence of God in order to deny the moral pull of the conscience.

This is not to say that all atheists are immoral people. Many atheists live relatively moral lives. The point of “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” is that a lack of evidence of His existence is not the true reason people reject belief in God. People reject belief in God due to a desire to live free of the moral constraints He requires and to escape the guilt that accompanies the violation of those constraints.

Show post

Got Questions Ministries #fundie gotquestions.org

In short, the difference between belief in God and belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster is this:

Belief in God is rational and supported by good reasons, and belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster is irrational and not supported by any good reasons. Bobby Henderson simply begs the question (commits a logical fallacy) when he says that there are no good reasons for belief in God. Despite his claim to the contrary, Christianity is a rationally defensible religion. There are difficult questions that we must ask ourselves as Christians, but the fact that there are difficult questions is not grounds for dismissing Christianity. As believers, our pursuit of answers to our own deep-seated spiritual questions draws us further into the intellectual richness of the Christian faith.

Show post

Unknown #fundie gotquestions.org

[Part of a hilarious Christian advice column]

If one spouse does not want to have sex, the other spouse should agree to abstain. If one spouse wants to have sex, the other spouse should agree.

Show post

gotquestions.org #fundie gotquestions.org

When God created Adam and Eve, they were fully developed human beings, capable of communication, society, and development (Genesis 2:19-25; 3:1-20; 4:1-12). It is almost entertaining the lengths evolutionary scientists go to prove the existence of prehistoric cavemen. They find a misshaped tooth in a cave and from that create a misshapen human being who lived in a cave and hunched over like an ape. There is no way that scientist can prove the existence of cavemen by a fossil. Evolutionary scientists simply have a theory and then they force the evidence to fit the theory. Adam and Eve were the first human beings ever created and were fully-evolved, intelligent, and upright.