The Texas Christian Massacre and Atheist Hate Speech

 This article was first published on Premier Christianity under the heading 

The Texas Christian Massacre and the Man who Committed It.

 

David Robertson says there’s a double standard in the way we judge the motives of those who commit evil.

 

26 people dead. 24 seriously wounded. Yet another US gun massacre. They are becoming so common that it appears we are becoming more desensitised to these massacres – so much so that less than 24 hours later the massacre has become a side note on many of the news programmes here in the UK.

Perhaps it would be different if people realised that Devin Patrick Kelley, the shooter who walked into the church and shot as many of the worshippers as he could, was a Muslim immigrant who shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he mercilessly gunned them down? Except he wasn’t. He had nothing to do with Islam or with immigrants.  Sadly in today’s perverted world there will be those who are disappointed that this is not the case.

Maybe if people realised that he was a Southern redneck evangelical Christian, we would now be having discussions on the BBC and the print media about the dangers of religion and how the Christian ‘Taleban’ in the Southern US are as dangerous as the real Taleban in Afghanistan? The secular and humanist Internet pages would be filled with dire warnings about how this proves the danger of religion. But that turns out not to be true either.

President Trump has already announced that this was a mental health issue by tweeting “this was not a gun issue is was a mental health issue”.  (If the shooter had been a Muslim immigrant can you imagine President Trump tweeting ‘this was not an immigrant issue…this was a mental health issue’?).  Perhaps there was a history of mental illness but it would be wiser to resist the almost pathological urge to tweet these kinds of pronouncements. It really doesn’t help those who suffer from mental illness to equate them with massacring people.

There is however an issue that has gone largely unnoticed in almost every news bulletin Devin-Kelley_article_imageand report I have heard today; an issue that explains why the secular societies websites have been so quiet about the whole massacre. It appears that Devin Patrick Kelley, who once taught briefly on a Christian vacation camp, had become a militant atheist. He had joined that exclusive group of online atheists who take great pleasure in letting the world know how dumb Christianity is.

A schoolmate Patrick Boyce told the Daily Mail:

‘He was the first atheist I met. He went Air Force after high school, got discharged but I don’t know why.  I was just shocked [to hear the news]. Still haven’t quite processed how he could have done that.’

Nina Rose Nava, who went to school with the gunman, wrote on Facebook: ‘in  complete shock! I legit just deleted him off my FB cause I couldn’t stand his post. 

‘He was always talking about how people who believe in God were stupid and trying to preach his atheism.’ 

There were several other posts in similar vein.  The bottom line is that Kelley was described by several as a ‘weird atheist outcast’.

A double standard

So why is Kelley’s atheism and hatred of Christianity regarded as irrelevant to the fact that he massacred Christians at worship in a Church? If he had been a homophobe who shot up a gay nightclub then this would automatically be classed as a crime motivated by homophobia. If he had been a white supremacist who shot up a Mosque, then howls of Islamaphobia would predominate in our media today.

In June 2015, when Dylan Roof, who was a militant racist, killed nine church members in a church prayer meeting in Charleston South Carolina, there was justified outrage which highlighted the continuing poison of racism in US society and even led to the removal of several Confederate monuments throughout the nation. So when a professed atheist goes into a church and kills 26 Christians, why is that not even considered as a possible factor? Where are the demands to remove all memorials of famous atheists?

Is it because so many of those who report our news find it incomprehensible that anyone would do such a thing because of atheism? In their eyes atheism is never a motivating factor for anything. When faced with the fact that Stalin was an atheist – they usually respond with a witty jibe such as – “yes but he didn’t like beards, does that mean he attacked barbers?”  In other words his atheism was meaningless.  Except that Stalin destroyed 20,000 churches and killed thousands of clergy – as far as we know he left barbershops alone!

When atheists attack

But atheists don’t do hate speech. Really?  I am all too familiar with the angry online atheists as portrayed by Kelley’s online friends. Let me share a couple of personal comments made in public (among the more printable ones) made about yours truly from some non-hate atheists.

I hate organised religion, but boy, I sure do hate you more!”

“Personally, as a secularist, I hate religion and feel I have every right to”

51aupXVBeKL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_I even once managed to get a death threat on an atheist website along with one for Professor John Lennox who was told his legs should be broken and if that failed he should be killed for crimes against humanity.  What disturbed me was not so much that they appeared on the website (we cannot be responsible for all the weirdos that post on our pages) but that they were allowed to remain.

For many decades there has been a militant form of atheism that regards religion in general and Christianity in particular as a virus that needs to be eradicated.  Nietzsche for example argued

I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct for revenge for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean, petty — I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind”

Richard Dawkins gave the green light to this kind of hate speech amongst his followers when he opined in The God Delusion that teaching children the truth of the Bible might be worse than child sexual abuse!

(Incidentally if you want many more examples of this just read some of the comments I received after writing The Dawkins Letters !  )

 

download-4It is this kind of ‘hate-speech’ which led to the burning down of 77 churches in Norway by militant atheists and which at the most extreme end of the atheist movement leads to comments such as this from the Church Arson website Any intelligent Antichrist methodology at that point will involve a consolidation of strength, public education in the ways of science and logic for our individual members, and actions taken against the remaining believers. The new society must first stabilize itself and come to a point of economic self-sufficiency and growth in social, intellectual, economic, technological and cultural areas. Once this is achieved, the executions of die-hard Christians and Jews should bother no one.’ 

Mocking

Rather than cause a degree of contrition and caution amongst the more militant atheists, the Texas Church Massacre has apparently caused even further justification for their anger against the God they don’t believe in.  I have already seen several comments which mocked Christians who have prayed for the situation. They were in church. They had the prayers shot right out of them. Maybe try something else.”

Even the BBC news report on it this evening signed off with a snide gibe that Americans seem to think the answer is in guns and God.

The Christian Response? – Do Unto Others

As Christians we believe we are to do unto others as we would want them to do to us. Therefore we must resist the temptation to respond in kind, rush into judgement, proclaim this as an atheist hate crime against Christians, tar all atheists with the same brush and suggest that atheism inevitably leads to such persecution of Christians.  Irrational atheists like Richard Dawkins like to cite Westboro Baptist as the example of where Christianity leads. They think that their hatred of Christianity is justified by the examples they post of the tiny percentage of the world’s three billion Christians who do extreme and wicked things. We must not do likewise and claim the Texas Church Massacre is the inevitable consequence of atheism.

However we must not ignore the fact that teaching hatred through atheism (or any other ideology) does have bad consequences.  It may be that Kelley had ‘domestic issues’, or ‘mental health’ issues, or other factors (as is so often the case, real life stories are usually far more complex than the 24 hour/24 second sound bite culture we live in) and that his expressions of hatred against Christianity were only secondary factors, if factors at all. But nonetheless there is an important message that we all need to hear.  Preaching hate – even in the name of love – always produces hate-filled fruit.

Don’t ban hate speech – just don’t use it!

It is vital that in our interactions at a personal or social media level, we do not foster the demonization of the ‘other’ and we do not use the communication opportunities we have, to communicate hate.  Atheists, Muslims, Christians, Humanists – and indeed every human group can all too easily do that.  As a Christian I don’t believe that ‘hate speech’ should be criminalized and controlled by the State – mainly because the State cannot do so and also because there is the danger that the definition of hate speech can itself become a way of institutionalizing hate. But I do think that we should all realize that words can wound and kill as well as heal and bring life.

As a Christian I face a far higher standard than that of the State. I must one day stand before the Christ who says that every careless word and thought will be judged. His standard is love – and forgiveness for our enemies. That is so essential to him that he tells us only to pray for forgiveness as we are prepared to forgive others! And if we think we can get away with just using love as a cute but undefined term we need to think again. Christ does not give us that option. Through his Word he tells us what love is. It is only through being in Him, the One who is Love, that the love of God can be shed abroad in our hearts.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7 NIV)

Note:  Since this article was published I came across something on the Christian Today website in which the author claims that those who say the shooters atheism had anything to do with it are expressing ‘fake news’.  “But it is an enormous jump to claim his strongly held atheistic views compelled him to kill 26 people and injure many more, as some are suggesting. This, again, amounts to fake news.”.  The trouble is that the writer is being slightly disingenous and putting two and two together and making five.   Let me explain.  It is fake news to say that Devlin was a muslim – because he wasn’t.  And it would be unwise to claim that Devlin’s atheism ‘compelled him to enter a church and kill 26 people”.   But that is what is not being claimed (and ironically to state that it is – is itself ‘fake news’).    We don’t know what motivated him – there may well be a variety of factors as my article states.  What is being asked is why if he had expressed views about hating black people and had killed black people that would have been considered as a potential motive. or he was homophobic and attacked a gay club that would have been considered as a potential motive; but the fact that he expressed hatred of Christians is apparently irrelevant to the fact that he entered a church and killed 26 Christians.  Why such double standards?   Why is it considered ‘fake news’ to point out what is true?   It strikes me that even Christians can be far too quick to label ‘fake news’ something which they just do not agree with or like, whether it is fake or not.

Incidentally I note that the writer who automatically dismissed any connection with his expressed hatred of Christians as ‘fake news’ had no qualms passing on the gossip that the shooter had had a row with his mother-in-law (who incidentally was not attending the church) as a possible motivation.  Again the question is why one factor is considered relevant – but the other is considered ‘fake’.

Why bothers me about the Christian who is writing and automatically dismissing this is why they do so?  They cannot know whether it was a motive or not.  And they are being dishonest by claiming that people are saying this is what compelled him.  I realise that people want to appear reasonable and cool…but we should be really careful before throwing out accusations of fake news when we just do not know. Sometimes the church is its own worst enemy.

 

54 thoughts on “The Texas Christian Massacre and Atheist Hate Speech

  1. Atheism does not actually have any specific agenda. All one could say was that he was an atheist who hated Christians.

    It doesn’t mean that all atheists are Christian-hating gunslingers waiting in the wings, but it should invite the question why did he hate Christianity?

    And it really really should raise questions about gun laws. But of course it probably won’t.

    1. I suppose, Ark,
      that the most likely reason he hated Christianity is that he hated people that he believed to be Christians.

      On gun laws, this case is already being put forward as a reason to keep the status quo because: “If a neighbor hadn’t had a gun, he would have killed even more people.” British scorn at such reasoning is unlikely to change American law.

      On atheism having no specific agenda — well, obviously: no anchor, no engine leads to aimless drifting.

      Yours,
      John/.

    1. Do you know what, Keith,
      I’m offended by your ‘LOL’ opening when the subject matter is the mass murder of 26 people. Besides that, your witticism rather misses the point about not using hate speech. From what are we to move along?

      Yours,
      John/.

      1. Oh, I thought that the subject matter was hate speech – and the corrosive human tendency to evaluate others based upon which flag they stand beneath, rather than their individual characteristics.
        At least that’s what I am talking about, in the process of accusing you of a little hypocrisy.

      2. Point taken, Keith,
        and thanks for the explanation. Perhaps I missed the hypocracy dig because it just isn’t hypocracy for David to deplore both the hate-filled ranting of Westboro and the denial of any possibility of a link between Devin Kelley’s Atheistic beliefs and his hate-filled murder of Christians.
        Yours,
        John/.

  2. I suppose, Ark,
    that the most likely reason he hated Christianity is that he hated people that he believed to be Christians.

    I am no particular fan of Christianity, but I certainly would march into a church and open fire.
    This strikes me as the behaviour of a complete nutter.
    But the question as to why he hates Christians remains unanswered? Would he do a similar thing oif he hated fans of the NY Giants or the Steelers?

    On atheism having no specific agenda — well, obviously: no anchor, no engine leads to aimless drifting.

    Aimless drifting? Do you honestly believe such an asinine, unsubstantiated comment in any way helps your cause or puts your belief in the redemptive powers of a human blood sacrifice in a better light?

    1. Pardon my asininity, Ark,
      I’ll take the compliment but, as for the substantiation of the comment or otherwise, that’s in your hands. And of course you’re right; it has everything with presenting Jesus as the Light of the World and preaching his reconciling death on the cross as the only way of Salvation. That’s scandalous to the religious and asinine to the sophisticated but to Believers it’s the power and the wisdom of God.
      Yours,
      John/.

  3. In one sense the atheists have it right when they say that there is nothing in atheism which causes people to commit acts of murder. (They won’t of course also admit that there is nothing in Christianity which causes people to commit acts of murder.) But the thing about atheism is that it is completely amoral. There is nothing in atheism which draws people to any particular form of morality. Therefore an atheist is as likely to be a murderer as he is to be a saint. An atheist may say that his particular morality condemns murder. What he cannot do is to give any reason why another atheist should not have the opposite morality. He has no basis on which to condemn people who commit murder other than the law. But laws can change. For example in 1967 a law was passed in the UK permitting abortions. Some atheists are against abortion. Some are in favour. It is entirely up to each atheist to choose whether to approve of abortion or to disapprove. Laws in the USA at one time permitted eugenics. We now have laws which permit using human embryos for experiments. So the law is not a very good basis for deciding morality. So in the case of, for example, Stalin, his atheism did not directly cause him to order the death of people he did not like but neither was it a barrier. His atheism allowed him to act in that way.

    1. (They won’t of course also admit that there is nothing in Christianity which causes people to commit acts of murder.)

      If you consider what was done to the Native Americans in the US then you will understand why your assertion is fallacious.
      And one only need mention the name Torquemada to drive the point home

    2. You state that “…there is nothing in atheism which causes people to commit acts of murder.” So you’re saying that it’s just a coincidence that many different countries, being led by communist atheists, killed over 100 million people in the last century? That’s some weeeeiirrd coincidence. Gee I wonder what else they had in common that could have been the cause of their immoral violence? “…Stalin, his atheism did not directly cause him to order the death of people he did not like but neither was it a barrier.” Really? So if God exists, denying Him the authority He deserves by virtue of His creating all things, and therefore taking His place instead, making oneself god, which an atheist does, would cause no problems in the spirit realm that would affect that person’s behavior? So a person can go away from God but somehow steer himself onto the right path anyways? If God exists and is who He says that He is, how is that possible? That’s sort of like saying that a person who makes the conscience decision to take drugs will not come under their effects. It’s like saying that a person can drink poison and yet live a healthy normal life. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, made the conscience choice to embrace atheism. Even though they made that decision that had nothing to do with their eventual path of destruction towards others? Making a conscience decision is a direct cause of the results which come afterwards. “I pointed the gun at a person and shot him. But I was not the direct cause of that person’s death, the bullet was.” I wonder if that would work in court?

      1. Kenny,
        your argument is simplistic. Only God knows how much Pol Pot’s subsequent crimes were a result of his atheism and whether the previous carpet bombing of Cambodia by the Americans had anything to do with it. What is clear is that sin is at the root of all these actions and not ‘faith’ as Dawkins et al like to claim.
        Yours,
        John/.

    3. Atheists are, like us, Mike,
      made in the image of God, so have as default:
      Creativity
      Spirituality
      Rationality
      Morality
      Impartiality
      Authority
      Dignity.
      By anybody’s lights, what Devin Kelley did was immoral, even when ‘explained’ existentialism-wise as him authenticating himself.

      We ought not confuse hatred for what Christians have done with hatred for Christianity. The ‘manifest destiny’ robbery of Native American land was manifestly unjust and Torquemada’s Spanish Inquisition was notoriously unkind yet we are instructed — [Micah 6:8] —
      He has told you, O man, what is good;
      and what does the LORD require of you
      but to do justice, and to love kindness,
      and to walk humbly with your God?

      Yours,
      John/.

  4. I find the most compelling thing we know about the shooter is that he was convicted of assaulting his wife and child. According to the FBI, there is a high correalation between those who commit mass shootings and domestic violence. Perhaps that is where our focus should be?

  5. There are some prominent, influential, rabid atheists wiith a motto along the lines, “There is no God and I hate him,” particularly taking aim at Christiantity. There are some logical and foreseeable entailments, some more extreme than others, from the espousal of those views

    1. You cannot hate something you do not believe exists.
      One might express hatred at the doctrine and or those indoctrinated into the religion.
      Otherwise it is as ridiculous as you asserting ”I hate Quetzalcoatl.”
      Do you see how silly this is?

      1. Perhaps I’m coming in a little late here , but I suggest that Richard Dawkins and many others like him make a substantial living venomously spewing out bile of the non existence of God . Is it, I ask , motivated by love ?

        The Christian says that God does exist , and He is Love ! Arkenaten , I suggest you have a blind spot !

  6. Thank you……

    On Nov 7, 2017 04:31, “THE BLOG OF DAVID ROBERTSON” wrote:

    > theweeflea posted: ” This article was first published on Premier > Christianity under the heading The Texas Christian Massacre and the Man > who Committed It. David Robertson says there’s a double standard in the > way we judge the motives of those who commit evil. ” >

  7. Ark. That’s marvellous, we agree. Why indeed do atheist (some prominent ones) spend so much of their lives, and make money out of it arguing their non- belief in a non being, and with such hostility. A waste of hot air and time. But of course it isn’t – there is an agenda.
    Ark, you are wonderfully more more logically rationalist than some high profile rational thinkers. Rare indeed.

    1. I would venture that many of the views of atheists concerning this man-made deity (n fact, all gods worshiped by humans) are voiced simply because so many indoctrinated people do believe it (they) is real.

      In itself this is no big deal, but all the heinous things across the board perpetrated in the name of the Christian god is cause for serious concern.
      And of course there is also the continued indoctrination of children.

      One only has to look over our history and even at the present day to realise that god belief has , in the main, never been a friend of humanity, and has by and large been a destructive force.

      1. I agree with you, Ark,
        that it is a cause for concern that heinous things have been and are even now still being perpetrated in God’s name. It is similarly a cause for concern that unjust things are done in the name of Justice every day. Etc. Apart from the fact that we are bound to disagree about whether or not some things are heinous or unjust — e.g. your remark about indoctrination — we get nowhere if we do not recognise that evil men will invoke the name of something generally considered good to cover up the fact that their real motives are generally considered to be wicked.
        Your assumption that a glance at history would persuade anyone that faith is a destructive force is delusional. That is your conviction, I’m sorry that you dismiss the positive benefits brought by Christianity so easily. You ought not to do so.
        Yours,
        John/.

      2. Gladly, Ark,
        here is a comprehensive list:
        1. Honour given to and provision made for Scripture knowledge and instruction for all from the very beginning is the basis for the ongoing universal education programme. One could argue that the same desire is the principal safeguard against the programme being halted and still the chief motivation to keep going in spite of setbacks, many of which — before you mention it — have been caused by professing Christians.
        2. Prayer: individual prayer that goes directly to God, needs no permission from any one and receives no payment for its practice is of great benefit for the entire world. It is perhaps a sadness to you that many non-believers are comforted when told that someone is praying for them but you ought to recognise that prayer according to instruction — e.g. ‘Pray for those who persecute you’ — has been a great remover of rooted bitterness in the Christian who prays and an aid to reconciliation on every level of human interaction.
        3. Gathering: People who have got their lives together are quite right not to want a church anywhere near where they live since they attract trouble like a piece of rotting meat attracts flies. Except, what happens when their lives are shattered?
        4. Mission: Since this is David’s blog and he ministers in Dundee, I’ll just mention one small example that you can examine for yourself: Mary Slessor of Calabar. It would be hard to deny the benefit of Christian mission to a twin or someone descended from a twin in Calabar. ‘Ma Slessor who saved the twins’ is the epitome of mercy there. Extrapolate as you may. It does also need to be said that Christianity took the benefits that were enjoyed by the Jewish people and spread them all over the world.
        5. Readiness to perform acts of mercy; to give a reason for personal assurance of Salvation; for the return of Christ; and to hold the things of this world light when troubles come, have made believing Christians pillars of the societies they live in, as well as of the church.
        6. Baptism: nothing magical, just a sign of allegence which in no way threatens the rulers of a nation.
        7. Communion: again, nothing magical, just a place when self-examination leads to the remembrance of Christ, his righteousness and his sacrifice. Redemption is of inestimable benefit to all who will believe.

        This list is comprehensive because you can include under one category or another all the things you were going to dismiss as not having any Christian origin. Or not as you see fit but this list is enough to be going on with.

        Yours,
        John/.

  8. It is well recognised by some non indoctrinated atheist thinkers and historians that the Reformation brought much good as well as bad to Europe and consequently N America.
    Many hospitals grew from Christian foundation. The printing of the Bible into English stimulated the desire for education and literacy. Gregor Mendel was an Augustinian monk. Your denial of this and more would reveal how indoctrinated you are.
    As for indoctrination into Christian belief that view takes no account of adult conversion from atheism.

    1. And all this was offset by the Inquisition,the Crusades, slavery, and possibly the worst genocide in recorded human history. All carried out in the name of your god.

      Most adult conversions are usually because of problems associated with emotional trauma of one kind or another and influenced by culture. And most converts were cultural Christians in one form or another to begin with, hence why almost every convert did not convert to another religion.
      Ask an adult deconvertee why they initially became Christian?

      1. I take it that you are referencing Hugo Chávez on the subject of the greatest genocide, Ark,
        and he was possibly right, though I hardly think poor old Columbus was to blame and you are right not to make that particular link. Nor are you wrong to point out that these things were done in God’s name. You are wrong, however, to say that these things were done because of faith in God. Doing wicked things in God’s name doesn’t ‘Christianise’ the sin but rather compounds it.
        A warning to all atheists who think that their lack of faith will keep them from wrongdoing: ‘The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.’ A warning to all Christians who think they can hold faith and greed in balance: ‘You cannot serve God and money.’

        On the indoctrination-of-children question — my testimony is this:
        I was six years old; my father took me to a children’s meeting at the Gospel Hall in the next villiage. The Evangelist — or Indoctrinator, if you must, — told the story of the Good Samaritan and I was gripped by the incidental detail that the man who fell among thieves was on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho, going down. The conviction that I too was going down was written on my face when I got home and my Mother, having been reassured that I wanted to get saved now! went through a prayer with me that I’d already learned by heart — or if you like, by rote — ‘Into my heart; into my heart; come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in Today; come in to stay. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.’

        Yours,
        John/.

      2. No – your comments are published as you send them. However I cannot put in all your numerous comments so leave out those that are basically inane, nothing to do with the subject, or just abusive.

      3. Basically inane?
        Lol… and the arbiter of inane is the man who believes in a man-made religion about a Lake Tiberius Pedestrian whose brutal death was necessary to absolve humanity from its ”sin” and reestablish a relationship with his dad?
        Yeah, that sounds very reasonable.

      4. Thats a superb example of the kind of ‘inane’ comment I won’t keep publishing….its just windy rhetoric based on ignorance, hatred and prejudice….when you want to post reasoned arguments feel free. When you want to rant and rave your prejudices feel free as well – but do it on your own blog/social media…not on mine…

      5. Ark,
        I’d like to think that your bothered/can’t be bothered withdrawal was more to do with my list of positive benefits getting under your radar rather than that you got moderated out for demonstrating that my reply was not beneath your contempt. I must confess to being disappointed when your arguments contain more heat than light. You make a show of being able to back up your big claims, then we get rant instead of reason. There is no reason why you should just accept my argument that if someone does unchristian things, albeit in Christ’s name, that is not Christianity; but if you have a counter-argument, bring it on. The boldness that David has in the Gospel is not foundationless; as I know because I share it. We have no fear that there is any substance to your charge against faith in God, so bring your best argument instead of ‘inane’ yah boo sucks wit and repartee.
        And, if I can give a bit of advice, you clearly think that what we believe is inane, so why not say: “the arbiter of ‘inane’ is the man who believes in a man who walked on water; whose brutal death was necessary to absolve humanity from its ‘sin’ and reestablish a relationship with his father? Yeah, that sounds very reasonable.“? I’m not ashamed of the Gospel but I’m a little ashamed for you that you have so little confidence that what we say sounds silly that you have to try and make it sound silly.
        Yours,
        John/.

      6. I’m not ashamed of the Gospel but I’m a little ashamed for you that you have so little confidence that what we say sounds silly that you have to try and make it sound silly.

        Actually, believing in a god that has a special interest in you personally, sounds rather silly to most normal people.
        Especially as this god is the same god found in the Pentateuch which is widely acknowledged these days by the more serious biblical scholar to be little more than myth … or if you prefer, historical fiction.
        Unless of course you are not a Trinitarian and go along with what Marcion believed?

        That said, I am fascinated when I hear of adults converting to any religion so, if you are up to it, would you be prepared to share your testimony of conversion and the circumstances that led up to you ”finding god” , or him finding you as may be the case?

      7. You’re asking me to tell you my adult conversion story, Ark,
        but remember, you already declared my childhood conversion story to be an example of religious child abuse!

        About the notion of God taking a personal interest in me appearing to be silly to most people: that’s better put. If you are going to state the obvious then don’t dress it up in rags. Like you do in your reply to Geoff:
        ‘How do you manage to square away your faith in the biblical character, Jesus the Nazarene knowing full well that in his other manifestation as YHWH, he was a meglomaniacal, genocidal monster?’
        This is nothing more than the ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ question and you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Says who that YHWH is presented in the Bible as a meglomaniacal, genocidal monster? Exactly, people who don’t believe he exists.
        However, behind your well-poisoning rhetoric lies a serious question: ‘How does a Christian reconcile belief in Jesus of Nazareth with his claim to be the God who both made the world and has the right to destroy it?’ That’s the sort of question asked by people who genuinely want to know.

        As for the first five books of the Bible, I’m not going to press you to tell how you distinguish ‘the more serious biblical scholar’ from the presumably less serious or downright frivolous, such as myself, nor what they (or you) mean by ‘myth.’ I suspect that the least likely reason for their agreement on the point is that they think they have proof of ahistoricity. At best or worst — depending on ones point of view — whether or not the Pentateuch was written as fact or as fiction is a moot point.

        A cautionary tale from history, if I may: In 1950 ‘serious’ statisticians thought that the probability of a nuclear accident was zero because their frequentative approach to the data made it impossible to calculate the probability of something happening where it hadn’t happened before. Sometimes the minority report is right and sometimes ‘the despised and rejected’ comes back to divide the spoils.

        Yours,
        John/.

      8. Those who accept that he is a genocidal megalomaniac consider YHWH was quite within his rights to obliterate his … sorry … His creation.
        The same type pf people justify slavery, rape, incest, talking snakes and donkeys etc ad nauseum.

        As for the first five books of the Bible, I’m not going to press you to tell how you distinguish ‘the more serious biblical scholar’ from the presumably less serious or downright frivolous, such as myself

        Serious scholars are generally those who do not enter the fray having declared they are sinners and need Jesus the Nazarene as a means to ”save them” and a Pass to enter Heaven and eternal life, and
        not the Liconas, Craigs, Lennox’s and Habermas’s of the world.

        Archaeology has shown that the Pentateuch is myth/Historical Fiction and there is evidence that provides us with a completely different history to that portrayed in the Bible.
        If you are unaware of this or disagree, then you need to start reading outside of your apparent evangelical, fundamentalist worldview.
        Or, if you want to save a few Shekels, watch a few YouTube videos on the subject.

        Start with Finkelstein and Dever….

      9. Ark – you get a yellow card. If you are to continue to post here please try to make your posts reasonable and not just rants based upon your Wiki knowledge. Your prejudice and ignorance shines through. Its quite amusing that the only people you consider ot be serious scholars are those who agree with you. Archaeology has not shown that the Pentateuch is myth – but you know as much about archaeology as you do about history! You just quote mine from confirmation bias articles you can find – worse still you watch YouTube videos which are about as reliable as Britain First videos! There’s a new identity for you – you are the President Trump of fundamentalist atheism….

      10. Archaeology HAS shown that the Pentateuch is myth/historical fiction.
        Collins and the genome project dispelled once and for all any notion of Adam and Eve.
        Finkelstein and Devers etc have shown that the Internal Settlement Pattern has refuted any more claims that there was a Captivity Exodus and Conquest as per the biblical tale.

        If you dispute this then please provide evidence to demonstrate the veracity of your claims.

      11. No – sorry. I don’t have time to be bothered with your school boy errors and accusations. How ironic that you cite Collins – who became a Christian believer whilst doing the genome project! Just stating that archaeology has shown that the pentateuch is myth doesn’t make it so. Lets see the evidence! I assume by Finkelstein you mean the throughly discredited and controversial Jewish scholar? If you are serious about this (and I seriously doubt that you are) and are prepared to read actual evidence – I suggest you start iwth K A Kitchen’s ‘On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Kitchen was the Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaelology, Classics and Oriental Studies, University of Liverpool – I suspect he may be a little more qualified than you and your Youtube videos!

      12. I am well aware of Collins’ conversion, thank you. It doesn’t alter the science.
        His work and that of the many, many scientists flatly refute any notion of a single couple as per the bible as being the progenitors of the human race.

        Just stating that archaeology has shown that the pentateuch is myth doesn’t make it so.

        Are you being serious here, David?
        Are you unaware of the Internal Settlement Pattern? Yes or No?
        Have you not at least read about the Radio Carbon dating at Jericho?
        Do you not know who Kenyan was?

        Archaeologists, Israel Finkelstein and William Dever are but two of the foremost in this field.
        Exactly how much evidence would you need to acknowledge the Pentateuch is considered myth/historical fiction?
        Are you, for example, willing to accept the scientific consensus?

        Thanks, am well aware of Kenneth Kitchen.
        Kitchen is an evangelical Christian fundamentalist and has never published a peer reviewed paper on the Exodus.

      13. This is why its so dull publishing your comments. For you anyone who disagrees with you is a fundamentalist…you only accept those who share your prejudices….ironically itself the actions of a fundamentalist. Yes I am aware of the history and arguments. And of the internal settlement pattern (although I suspect you are not). And yes – I am perfectly serious in stating that just because you make a statement that doesn’t make that statement true. Your basic pattern is to make a statement of something you have seen on YouTube or found on some atheist site and declare it as true because you want it to be. You have no expertise in the field (never having published a peer-reviewed paper) , have no idea what you are talking about and basically just waffle. If you were one of my students you would get a fail because of your lack of evidence and logic. So why should we actually listen to you?

        But you seem to be struggling with the idea that history and archaeology are not science and we don’t do ‘peer-reviewed’ papers. There is no ‘scientific’ consensus on whether the Exodus happened or not! Glad you are aware of Kitchen – whose qualifications and expertise in archaeology and ancient history are well beyond your capacities! But anyway one of the reasons I don’t just publish just any comment on this blog is that I don’t want it to turn into one of those dumbed down atheist pages where people yell abuse and when one question is answered, ignore it and move on to another. So unless you have something substantive to add…you’re done – because I don’t have the time to answer you and basically I don’t take you seriously. You don’t know what you are talking about and you don’t really care….you would just move on to another subject to vent your hatred….go and do it on your own blog!

      14. So you disagree with Kenyan’s dating of Jericho?
        On what grounds may I ask?
        Why do you throw out Dever and Finkelstein?
        Can you name a single archaeologist that accepts the tale of the Exodus as written in the bible and can provide at least some sort of verifiable evidence to support their claim?
        I cannot think of one.
        Where is the evidence at Kadesh, David?
        The Israelites are claimed to have spent 38 years there!

        I did not say there was a scientific consensus regarding the Exodus but asked if you were willing to accept scientific consensus?

        However there is most definitely consensus regarding the biblical tale of the captivity, exodus and conquest of Canaan, and only biblical innerentists the likes of Kitchen etc consider the biblical tale as written has any veracity.

        And all you have done is thrown Kitchen back who has a fundamentalist view of
        the Exodus.

        Tell me, David, would it seriously be worth my while providing you with links to secular literature that dismantles your faith-based beliefs concerning the Pentateuch?

        ”You’re done”.
        Sadly, this is so often the final retreat for the indoctrinated.
        Why not present your case with evidence?

      15. Why, Ark,
        why, why, why, are you so afraid to use the terms we use in order to disagree with us? I could understand it if it were speech, instead of text — ‘out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks’ — but you could so easily rephrase your text to get your point across. If you actually have a point.
        As a matter of fact, those who consider that God would have been quite within his rights to obliterate his creation do not accept that ‘he is [therefore] a genocidal megalomaniac.’ Besides, God didn’t obliterate his Creation.
        It would be a spectacular, if decidedly chilling achievement if ‘The same type pf people’ really could ‘justify slavery, rape, incest … etc.’ I think that what you are trying to say is that we try to justify certain instances of rape and incest although the Bible condemns both elsewhere, and we defend what the Bible says about slavery. I suspect that we would argue with you about whether at least some of the occasions you would describe as rape were in any meaningful sense, rape. You could also just complain that we believe that miracles were performed, for we do. However, paint our beliefs and putative attempts to justify of evil as dark as you dare, it still cannot add up to us accepting your monstrous description of the God we believe in and you don’t.

        So, you are really saying that anyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ cannot be a ‘serious scholar’? Wow is me, you really know how to throw an argument away, don’t you? I’ve heard of two of these men, but I’d not have looked to them as experts on the genres of Hebrew literature. I had assumed that by ‘the more serious biblical scholar’ you actually meant specialists in Hebrew literature who don’t believe that it was written by Moses. On that count you’d still have your majority, as far as I can see, but you’ve taken their purpose away if believing dissenters cannot be considered to be serious.

        Then you do me the kindness of assuming that my disagreement with what you take to be indisputable evidence must be down to ignorance. I’m afraid that I cannot plead total ignorance so your kindness — if that’s what it is — was misplaced. Don’t get me wrong, my ignorance is woeful: my master’s thesis in historical theology focussed on one aspect of a long running dispute in 18th Century Scotland; my bachelor’s degree in Botany/Zoology is 3rd class hons. and was earned nearly 40 years ago. Even with my deficiencies I know that you make a big show of being able to substantiate your claims but you never, ever do. You didn’t and it’s too late now.

        Yours,
        John/.

      16. I take it that you are referencing Hugo Chávez on the subject of the greatest genocide, Ark,

        I was referring to the genocide of the Native Americans in the USA.

        On your ”salvation” (sic)

        Yep, as good an example of religious child abuse as one is likely to hear.

  9. Ark,
    I’ll start with the fatuous and flaccid. You do your cause no good by denying that anything good has come from Christ. Eyes shut in the dark, cos to mind.
    I am an adult convert. To say that Christianity is man made, is a view I had as an atheist.
    However, it is the Triune God, supernaturally revealing Himself to humanity. Even the highest human intellect could not invent the monotheistic Triune God.
    I did not have to divest myself of my lawyer’s training, to come to faith.In fact Christianity is intellectually fulfilling and satisfying, and experientially real.
    And has been described by a medical doctor it is “Logic on fire”, in its telling.

    1. You do your cause no good by denying that anything good has come from Christ.

      Are you referring to good deeds done in the character’s name or good deeds that he may have been credited as having done himself?

      I am an adult convert.

      What were the circumstances surrounding your conversion, if I might ask?

      However, it is the Triune God, supernaturally revealing Himself to humanity. Even the highest human intellect could not invent the monotheistic Triune God.

      And yet, this is exactly what happened, and to this day there isn’t a person that I have ever read who can explain it with any serious degree of genuine understanding.

      In fact Christianity is intellectually fulfilling and satisfying, and experientially real.
      And has been described by a medical doctor it is “Logic on fire”, in its telling.

      Good for you. We simply have very different criteria when it comes to intellectually fulfilling and satisfying .
      As long as it makes you happy and you don’t feel the compulsion to thrust it upon others uninvited,and especially kids, then I see no issues here.

  10. And why do you come on this site, Ark? Uninvited perhaps? But welcomed, nevertheless.

    Anything good at all, from Christ, his followers, Christianity? Are you being deliberately dull, obtuse? From all the denial that precedes this particular question, probably.

    How do you know we have different criteria for intellectual fulfillment? Are you assuming we have? Why? Is it because you are an atheist and I am no longer?

    I am a mere singular example of an adult atheist who has come to faith, who you disparagingly tar with the same brush, with your trite, simplistic, handed down, recycled view, delivered with implied omniscient knowledge of every adult who comes to faith.., throughout the world

    Through your limited reading, are you saying that your intellectual capacity is beyond understanding the Trinity? As for “genuine” understanding, it is highly unlikely that an atheist with a genuine close mind will acquire a genuine understanding, as they will not be genuine in their seeking to understand.

    At the age of 47, and unchurched, I came to faith through the death of my dad in hospital, where, after reading the New Testament and Psalms from the bedside locker, God supernaturally answered my prayer. I have given a much fuller account two or so years ago, on this blog. I’d say to anyone who would seek to deny what happened, “don’t insult my intelligence.” Certainly, it was witnessed by nursing staff/medical staff who didn’t do so.

    It is intriguing, that your subsequent contributions here have born witness, provided evidence to what you initially thought preposterous and denied when I first commented on this topic.

    PS. At the risk of starting another lengthy set of rejoinders, the Christian faith of Dr. Martin Luther King is redacted out of much contemporary retelling of civil rights.

    May you come to know Christ and His surpassing loveliness and kindness. May He bless you with His presence.
    Yours In Christ Jesus,
    Geoff

  11. And why do you come on this site, Ark? Uninvited perhaps? But welcomed, nevertheless.

    If memory serves, it is an open site, yes?
    I am sure if David wished to limit dialogue to those whose beliefs were solely in line with his own he could quite easily make it private, or simply ban me outright.

    On saying this, surely you are interested in pursuing truth, Geoff, yes? How do you manage to square away your faith in the biblical character, Jesus the Nazarene knowing full well that in his other manifestation as YHWH, he was a meglomaniacal, genocidal monster? (assuming you believe YHWH is/was real, of course?)

    Anything good at all, from Christ, his followers, Christianity? Are you being deliberately dull, obtuse? From all the denial that precedes this particular question, probably.

    Not in the least. While there are most definitely ”good works” from Christians one is wont to ask if these people would have done such deeds had they not been Christian?
    Furthermore, the primary reasons for becoming Christian – sin, blood sacrifice, atonement, fear of Hell(sic) etc, etc are all quite simply barbaric.

    At the age of 47, and unchurched, I came to faith through the death of my dad in hospital, where, after reading the New Testament and Psalms from the bedside locker, God supernaturally answered my prayer.

    As unfortunate as this story is death is a part of life. We have all lost loved ones along the way, as we will inevitably be lost to those around us. My brother died as a result of massive brain damage after a car accident when he was 18.
    I was at his bedside when the life support was switched off. These things happen.

    Your coming to faith sounds like so many who struggled with a serious traumatic issue and a sudden (?) faith in the supernatural was simply a coping mechanism. There is no independently verified evidence that prayer has ever been answered.
    But there are a myriad of modern neurological studies that demonstrate perfectly what happens to the brain in such circumstances.
    And these circumstances can also be induced .
    However, you were not reasoned into faith so if it still helps you cope then good for you.

    Please bear in mind though that, there are millions who believe similarly and they come from all walks of life and …. more importantly …. from different cultural and religious backgrounds , and they will turned to the god they feel most comfortable and or familiar with.

    In short, you were likely familiar with Christianity, even if only at a superficial level, and thus, this was the god you turned to.

  12. Ark,
    My faith in Jesus Christ is based on evidence, on truth. And you are insulting my intelligence. I’m more than well aware of rules of evidence in Court, and in England and Wales, testimony, that what is seen and heard is primary evidence, and there are rules to limit how far opinion evidence of experts in any one field is allowed. I’m more than satisfied of the truth. The Courts system has not swallowed “scientism”, for weighing evidence and adjudging truth.
    The death and circumstance of the death of your brother may have had some effect on your belief system and the anger and, yes, hatred, that you can not conceal when you talk past the questions put to you. Do you not think so.? At the bottom do you really come to terms with the death of your brother with a shrug “These things happen.”

    Yes, this is an open site, but why do you come on it, if not to denigrate.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, frankly, your last sentence is tripe. “In short, you were likely familiar with Christianity, even if only at a superficial level, and thus, this was the god you turned to.” You weren’t there, weren’t a witness. And your “likelihood” for you has turned it in’t a certainty, that for you that is the true explanation. Where is the science in that?
    It is merely you trying to interpret what I’ve said from within your own belief system, closed as it is, for it can not really come to terms with it. It does not equate with the reality.Again it fails to answer conversions from around the globe, as is this statement of belief, of opinion of yours which carries with it not one iota of evidence: “and they will turned to the god they feel most comfortable and or familiar with.”
    Why oh why would I turn to the God of Christianity you describe – hardly the God I was comfortable or familiar with.
    My prayer for you remains, though I fear your heart is hardened and even if you were confronted with all the evidence you required you would still not believe.
    At about 2am, my dad who had had two stokes, couldn’t speak, had all medication removed from him, had distressed breathing, sat bolt upright with peaceful face. I had got up from one side of the bed, my wife was on the other. As I walked to the end of the bed, I asked God, who I wasn’t sure existed to “deliver my dad up.” I did’nt really know what I was asking, but by the time I got to the end of the bed, there was my dad, upright, face glowing. “Dad you look wonderful”. “Yes”, he replied. ” Do you want them to give you something to make you feel better?” Yes, he replied. I got the nurse. He asked my dad questions, to which my Dad replied. No one knew about the prayer I said, but there were witness to what transpired. My wife and I went home to refresh and to receive a phone call at about 7am to say Dad had died.
    A few days later, collecting his belongings, the staff gave me the bible to take with me.
    Evidence, first hand witness testimony, corroborated by others, truth, which you dismiss and don’t believe. I’d been reading the New Testament and Psalms to myself in the hospital and lastly John Chapter 21.
    Without hearing the evidence you have jumped to conclusions:
    “Your coming to faith sounds like so many who struggled with a serious traumatic issue and a sudden (?) faith in the supernatural was simply a coping mechanism. There is no independently verified evidence that prayer has ever been answered.
    But there are a myriad of modern neurological studies that demonstrate perfectly what happens to the brain in such circumstances.
    And these circumstances can also be induced .
    However, you were not reasoned into faith so if it still helps you cope then good for you.”

    That is completely the opposite to what happened.

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