Monday, February 16th, 2009...10:56 am

No leg to stand on

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It appears that my blog has a reader.  This is a banner moment in the history of my blog.  😉 This reader, whose handle is “pcamper” has posted a couple of comments on my post “Something from nothing?” from last October.  I have reproduced his most recent comment verbatim below:

Thank you for your response. What I actually have a problem with is belief in the supernatural. I do not live by faith now, but by reason and hope. The main reason I do not believe any more is the atrocities attributed to your “god” in the bible against innocent babies and children. He actually murdered babies (See 2nd Samuel, the baby of David and Bathsheba) as well as the firstborn males and the flood (if it happened) must have caused many babies and children to perish. My question to you then is: Do you ENJOY believing and praising a being who did these things to babies and children and who would send someone to be tortured just because they exercise their right to think for themselves? Also, I have a problem wth the concept of “hell”. There are christians who believe that even good people will be tortured if they do not believe. This is riduculous. Why would anyone deserve that kind of punishment? This is a being worse than Hitler. However, there are christians who do not believe in hell. So, my question to them is: If you do not believe that part of the bible is true regarding hell, then isn’t it just common sense that the rest of the bible is not true either.

As far as evolution, it makes more sense than some invisible being in the sky judging us. I don’t believe in sin anymore, I believe in right and wrong and always striving to do what is right.

I also believe in evidence. If you are an intelligent person, I cannot believe you think the earth is only 6000 years old. To me, science equals evidence without certainty and religion equals certainty without evidence. I will stick with the evidence without certainty.

As far as faith, I believe that blind faith equals blind obedience.

As far as the trinity, no one can explain that. It was decided upon at the council of nicea.

On the bible: I will quote Mark Twain who said that “most people are bothered by passages of scripture that do not understand, but I am bothered by the passages of scripture that I do understand.

Yes, it takes an incredible amount of faith to believe superstitious things, so I will stick with reason and hope instead of christianity.

In response, I have some comments and some questions:

1. pcamper’s claim that he doesn’t live by faith is epistemologically naïve to say the least.  Everybody lives by faith.  Faith is required to believe in anything, including evidence.  (In order to accept visual evidence, you need to have faith that your eyes are more-or-less representing reality accurately.)  The use of natural science requires faith that nature behaves in a law-like manner and that the laws don’t change willy-nilly from place to place or moment to moment.  The fact that he then goes on to say that he lives by reason and hope is especially delicious.  How can you have hope in something while not having faith in anything, unless you’ve got a really odd and arbitrary defininition of faith?

2.) Is it wrong to murder babies?  If so, how is that supportable on an evolutionist basis?  If evolution is true, then it’s survival of the fittest, and killing babies (who aren’t particularly fit) can’t be wrong.  In fact if your definition of the fittest is the one who leaves the most offspring (not uncommon), then it seems almost required by evolution that you kill other people’s babies whenever possible.  

3.) I also need to address the blasphemous accusation that God is a somehow a murderer.  God gives life and God takes it away according to his eternal decree.  The reason why men can’t do this (why it’s murder for men to do so) is that they don’t have the authority to take lives, including their own.  When one human being unlawfully takes the life of another, he is attempting to usurp God’s authority.  The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.  

In the case of II Samuel 12, the Lord’s causing the death of David’s son was not a bad thing for the son.  He went to heaven.  (See 12:23 “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”)  Even if we didn’t have that verse to indicate this, it would be reasonable to believe this because he was a covenant child.   

In the other cases pcamper mentioned, these people were enemies of God as were their children.  In Adam, all rebelled against God and are deserving of Hell.  Refusing to submit to God of heaven is certainly worthy of the punishment of Hell.  It is worthy of immediate death, but God in his common grace continues to provide unbelievers with sunshine, rain, and crops.  The reprobate does not honor God as God, nor does he give thanks for these things.  There are no innocent or good people who die or go to hell.  No one is righteous, not even one.  I am therefore not one of those Christians who believe that good people are tortured in Hell.  There are no good people, and apart from the saving grace in Jesus Christ for His church, everybody would go to Hell.  God is perfectly just and the standard by which humans ought to define justice.  I believe that every jot and tittle of the Bible is true, including the verses about Hell, to answer pcamper’s question.

4.  I find it amusing that the only defense of evolution yet offered is that “it makes more sense than some invisible being in the sky judging us.”  If this is living by reason, I’d hate to see living irrationally.  pcamper has no answer to the something- from-nothing argument.  This is clearly self-contradictory.  Either you have evolution or you have the conservation of matter.  You can’t keep both of them and remain consistent.  Belief in evolution must necessarily overthrow the validity of natural science.

5. As alluded to in point 2, pcamper has no basis for believing in right in wrong.  I’m not denying that he does actually believe in right and wrong; I’m just saying that he has no philosophical warrant for doing so.  On an evolutionary foundation, there cannot be any such thing as right and wrong.  If everything is just matter in motion, how can anything be right and wrong?  Stalin understood this better than pcamper does.  Stalin was a consistent materialist.  He believed that killing 20 million of his own people was no different than mowing a lawn.  In order for pcamper to believe in right and wrong, he needs to be a hypocrite (saying he believes one way and acting in another) and borrow from the Christian worldview.

6.  pcamper states that he believes in evidence, but ironically offers none.  He doesn’t even offer an appeal to evidence, because evidence is damning to the evolutionist.  Evidence must always be suppressed or else the whole theory will unravel.  This is, of course, because all of the evidence indicates creation by the Triune God of the Bible.  This isn’t a tradeoff between evidence and certainty.  I have both on my side, and he has neither.

 7. “As far as faith, I believe that blind faith equals blind obedience.”  This is a complete non-sequitur.  Where have I advocated blind faith anywhere?  The evolutionist is the only one here with blind faith.  I have the revealed Word of God which provides the basis for my faith and the created order that corroborates this.  pcamper wants people to believe that something came from nothing, life came from non-life, intelligent from non-intelligent, and moral from amoral–all without shred of evidence to back it up.  I’m sorry, I just can’t take a blind leap of faith like that.

8.  “As far as the trinity, no one can explain that. It was decided upon at the council of nicea.”  I’m not sure exactly what pcamper is trying to argue here, so I’ll have to give it my best guess.  I will readily grant that the Trinity cannot be understood exhaustively by any creature.  What I fail to see is why I must exhaustively understand something in order to believe in it.  Neither pcamper nor I understand anything exhaustively.  We don’t even understand ourselves exhaustively.  A common problem with unbelieving epistemology is that you must know everything in order to know anything.  Christians don’t have that problem.  I deny that you can’t explain the Trinity at all, and so does Nicea.    

Conclusion: pcamper’s main objection to Christianity is that he believes God is evil.  He accuses God of all these things but has no philosophical basis for making these accusations.  In order for him to argue against Christianity, he must implicitly concede that his evolutionary worldview is not true and that Christianity is true.  In order to object against God, he must borrow from the Christian worldview and adopt the Christian concept of ethical absolutes (albeit in a distorted manner).  pcamper has no leg to stand on here.

 pcamper, you have no reason for hope at all, even though you claim to live by hope.  What do you have hope in?  Objecting to the concept of Hell won’t keep you from going there, no matter how loudly you complain.  You are dead, but I believe in a God that can raise the dead.  God is calling men everywhere to repent and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.  God has been in the business of saving hopelessly wicked men since the Fall.  He saved Saul of Tarsus (who was on his way to kill Chrisitians) and turned him into the apostle Paul.  Obviously this is all of grace and all of God–not of man’s autonomous free will.  Nobody chooses to repent and believe unless the Holy Spirit regenerates their heart.  Jesus is reigning now.  You can either bend the knee and be adopted as a son in His church, or you can perish.  I’d personally much rather see the former than the latter.


  • Actually you have at least two readers! I syndicated your feed on livejournal and read it whenever you post. I so far have not had reason to disagree with you yet, though, so other than “ra ra” comments I wouldn’t have much to say.

    Actually that’s not true. I know a lot more about the Bible than I do Lincoln. Tell me more about Lincoln. I have never quite understood why it was mandatory or even legal to hold the union together at all costs (i.e. war and seizure of power) but I honestly don’t know the details and usually things aren’t as they seem on the surface. Fill me in. Thanks.

  • Thank you for reading, Keith. I’ll post some more on Lincoln from time to time.

    One of the best resources you can read on Lincoln is Thomas DiLorenzo. His books The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked offer historical analysis on Lincoln that you won’t get from the establishment. You can also read his archives on Lew for free. DiLorenzo provides a very nice minority report on Lincoln.

  • Yawn … Did he think that you’d never seen that stuff before? I mean, isn’t that Chapter One of the “Lame Attacks on Believers” handbook?

    By the way, you’re in my Google reader, too, so you have at least a few readers.

    I see Lincoln as a lot more of a mixed bag. Not the worst President (FDR), but certainly not the best as he’s often presented (tough to call … I’m torn between Eisenhower, Adams, and a few others). I’ll admit that I usually don’t bother to argue the point; I think there are bigger fish to fry.

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