Pray for the Nation – Why Should We Be Concerned About The Sins Of The Nation?

LastWelldocumentedGrasshopper-size_restrictedSt Andrews day is coming up (November the 30th).   The Free Church now holds it as a day of prayer for church and nation.   Yesterdays blog looked at the collective insanity amongst the governing classes which seems to be growing on a daily basis  – Transmania

Today I want to take a look at the deeper cause of this confusion – of which Transmania is only a small part.  It is tied in with Romans 1.  The greatest punishment that God could ever inflict upon us is to leave us to what I call the Burger King version of society ‘have it your way’.  You could call it the Sinatra version (I did it my way), or the Fleetwood Mac (Go Your Own Way).   But whatever you call it – the assertion of human autonomy and sovereignty is disastrous.  God as man recreates.  Man as God destroys.    John Owen in his ‘Sermons to the Nation’  (Works vol 8) and ‘Sermons to the Church’ (vol 9) is insightful and helpful on this.

Owen asks the question:  “What concern have we in the sins of the day wherein we live?”  (Discourse III, vol. 9 p.365)

He answers that all sins may be classed under two heads – irreligion and immorality.

Irreligion itself can be divided into atheism and false worship.    Atheism is found in the heart (it is not primarily a matter of the mind or intelligence).  Owen identifies four signs of atheism in the nation:

  1. By horrid, cursed, blasphemous swearing; which is a contempt of the name of God.  And when did it ever abound more in this nation?”.  The answer is today!  I cannot switch on the TV, walk down the street or speak in schools/universities without hearing coarse, ugly and blasphemous language.
  2.  By reproaching of the Spirit of God.   
  3. By scoffing at all holy things; as at the Scriptures – at everything that carries a reverence and fear of God; so that a man who dares profess a fear of God in what he does, makes himself a scorn. 
  4. Contempt of all God’s providential warnings is another proof of atheism.  Never had a nation more warnings from God’s providence, nor ever were they more despised. 

Owen speaks of a 17th Century England which is characterised by coarse language, mockery of the Gospel and a refusal to listen to the warnings of God.  Sounds familiar?

Owen then goes on to speak of immorality in the nation:  “It would be an endless thing, to go over the sins that reign among us: oppression, blood, uncleanness, sensuality, drunkenness – all to the height, raging and reigning in the nation” .  But what really hit home to me was his description of the ‘security’ within the nation.  Occasionally there is a wake up call with some disaster and people wake as from a slumber but soon close their eyes and go back to sleep again.   That is true in the nation – but then Owen asks why Christians should care about the sins of others.

The answer comes from Scripture – Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed. (Psalm 119:136).  Not only do we need to be free from these ‘abominations’ we need to be those who mourn for them in our nation and communities.

 “The name of God is blasphemed, the Spirit of God reproached, a flood of iniquity spreads itself over the nation, the land of our birth, over the inheritance of Christ, over a nation professing the reformed religion; all things go backward – every thing declines.  Indeed, brothers, if you will not, I do acknowledge here before you, and to my own shame, I have great guilt upon me in this matter, that I have not been sensible of the abominations of the nation, so as to mourn for them and be humbled for them, as I ought to have been.    And you will do well to search your hearts, and consider how it is with you; – whether indeed you have been affected with these things; or whether you have not thought all is well, while all has been well with yourselves and families, and, it may be, with the church, that may have no trouble upon that account.”  

Are we not too secure in our middle class churches, with our comfortable lives?  Have we become so comfortable in the midst of sin that we do not see it with the eyes of God?  Do we weep for the blood being shed (the slaughter of the unborn)?  the damage being done to our children in the name of ideology?  the destruction of the family?  the crass materialism and the gap between rich and poor?  the exploitation of the weak by the powerful?  the replacement of God by the State? the destructiveness of vice and addictions?  the decline of education?  the culture of death? false religion?  misogyny? racism?  injustice?  cruelty?  mockery and abuse of our precious Lord Jesus?

Screenshot 2018-11-27 at 12.20.25It’s a dangerous prayer but perhaps all Christians should pray that the Lord would open our eyes, minds and hearts that we would see, understand and feel his grief.  As Freddy Mercury sang at Live Aid “Oh, what must He think of the mess that we’ve made, of the world that He created?”.

And then we need to pray the prayer of the Psalmist that we might see the solution:

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Ps 119:18)

Its Time for Nicola Sturgeon to Call A National Day of Prayer

 

74 thoughts on “Pray for the Nation – Why Should We Be Concerned About The Sins Of The Nation?

  1. Yet another good article hitting the target on the bullseye. To quote you where you said
    “The greatest punishment that God could ever inflict upon us is to leave us to what I call the Burger King version of society ‘have it your way”.
    The late American Bible scholar Chuck Missler, used to refer to this as Gods judgement of abandonment as experienced by Samson when the Spirit of God left him. I believe we are experiencing this judgement today when we see God giving nations and individuals over to sins like homosexuality. Homosexuality, is as Mr Missler saw it a result of Gods abandonment. Nov 30th if Gods people seek Him might well change all that. Be blessed as we seek Him.

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  2. Revival starts with……me…and you. WWJD – what would Jonah do? He would probably relish the idea of the heathen being judged and destroyed. That resonates with us all – if we’re honest! We would like to be on a ship to Tarshish – and just get away from all this madness and yet God would still trouble the waters because we are not meant to be comfortable – but engaged in the battle – the invisible struggle with powers and principalities. We need a vision for prayer! Can a nation be turned around – like Ninevah? Or like the ship to Tarshish – are we actually on the Titanic – that Great British Empire – cracked and sinking and all the while saying “we are unsinkable” !? Perhaps for a start – we can pray for the grace and courage to appeal to those drowning without Christ!! “…save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garments stained by the flesh.” Jude 1:23. A national day of prayer is a great idea. I hope to participate.

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    1. Why isn’t your own obedience to this god of yours enough to satisfy you I wonder?

      You cannot seriously expect those who have no religious faith to suddenly start paying attention to Christian exhortations to behave in certain ways and not others. It is never going to happen. Never.

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      1. John,
        The what, why and how of prayer is unknown to you, let alone who it is to, though you seem to think you know something of the the what? How tiny is your omniscient, absolutist, finite, “Never.”

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      2. The claims of success for prayer are so general as to be meaningless. They hold about as much truth as the claims for faith healing or the thousands upon thousands of apparent “miracles” performed by the likes of Benny Hinn et al.

        I know that much and that is enough.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Please don’t limit things to your own limited experience. I could point to specific answers to prayer – but you of course, because you have an a priori need to dismiss all such claims, will automatically try to find another explanation…

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      4. I think, John,
        you will have posted the answer to my question about the source of your certainty before you got the question, nevertheless it does explain a lot. Your analogy puts the sort of prayer-success claims you’re complaining about right into perspective: faith-healing as entertainment belongs in the same stable as selling prayer cloths and papal indulgences or, for that matter, buying space in the Liverpool Echo to advertise incantations that will have guaranteed results if repeated three times.
        But it is a category mistake to confuse the brand-building gimmicks of tele-evangelists with concerted prayer such as David has been calling for. Jesus told a story about a Pharisee (religious type) and a tax collector (despised collaborator) in which the Pharisee ‘prayed’ a boastful prayer, commending his own religious observance and the tax collector pleaded, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ When Jesus told this story the audience needed to be told that it was the tax collector’s prayer that was heard. Your mistake is to assume that neither is heard because the one that claims to have God’s ear patently doesn’t. (I know that you don’t believe that anyone hears the prayer but that does not justify saying that all prayer is the same.)
        Yours,
        John/.

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      5. John,
        it very difficult to work out what your certainty is based on. You say:

        You cannot seriously expect those who have no religious faith to suddenly start paying attention to Christian exhortations to behave in certain ways and not others. It is never going to happen. Never.

        But since revivals have happened time and again where there has been a sudden paying of attention to Christian exhortation, I find your faith that it will never happen again rather extraordinary.
        Yours,
        John/.

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  3. Psalm 126:
    Today there is a reflection by Keller, on Psalm 126, in his book on the Psalms.

    5 Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!
    6 He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
    shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him.

    We in church often stretch stoicism gossamer thin, in the names of patience and peace keeping and grace and even evangelism and social action rather than groan and weep in prayer.

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  4. We are answerable for our own conduct. That much is true – for all of us. The point is then, that at what point do we say we will not push our ideas on others. And what ideas DO we push, whoever we are, what ideas do we not push, whoever we are. And who is allowed then, in this framework, to comment. Who then, is free to push anything? Who is the arbiter? Who ultmately is allowed to be in control, especially for those who have “no religious faith”? What a nightmare. And we are seeing it unfold, because not all of you who are “of no religious faith” agree about the transgender issue either! Where is your bias?

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    1. Read the article – on the one hand it’s so heartwarming that Royal Mail staff were so touched by the little boy’s desire to wish his dad a happy birthday and that they took the time to reply. The intentions were so good. But I agree with you that it is a totally false comfort for the boy and he will come to realize in time that this was impossible and I wonder how he will feel about that – that adults didn’t actually have the answers that he needed at a critical time in his life. There is so much opposition to teaching children about God and Christ – and I wonder if the same people will object to this child being told that his dad is in heaven and therefore there is life after death? I doubt it! Because there is no mention of Christ. It is Christ that people have an issue with. It just shows what ignorance there is about spiritual matters in this country – and highlights the necessity for good teaching about spiritual matters for both children and adults alike. Then we would have real comfort – not wishful thinking. But – not surprisingly – there is huge opposition against teaching children what the Bible says about life and death and eternity – because the enemy is very active to ‘steal, kill and destroy’. Much prayer and work is needed – while it is still day. Because night is coming when no man can work.

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  5. ” ….mockery of the Gospel and a refusal to listen to the warnings of God.

    The gospel should be mocked – from the first to the last. Aside from the fact that it is riddled with every form of inaccuracy/falsehood you care to name ,
    it can be indirectly and directly linked to some of the worst actions and periods in human history. You name, you’ll find it in this revolting ”book”.

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    1. Love that atheist logic – ‘every form of inaccuracy’…..two plus two =5. Is that one of them?! Can you actually name ANY inaccuracy? And one of the worst actions that the Gospel is DIRECTLY linked to….will I hold my breath? Sometimes fundie atheists can be somewhat amusing in their rants and illogicality!

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      1. Can you actually name ANY inaccuracy?

        The claim of a worldwide census and the ridiculous nativity narrative is a good example( as we are approaching the Silly Season)
        I would include include Herod’s slaughter of the innocents but you would probably cite Argument from Silence on that one.

        How about the raising of the Dead Saints and the Zombie Walkabout?

        How about Adam and Eve or the Flood? Or the Exodus and Conquest?
        What about the Johannine comma.the woman caught in adultery, the Long Ending of Mark approx. 50% of the supposed Letters of Paul are deemed pseudoepigraphic ( forged in, other words)
        How’s that for a Starter for Ten , Bamber?

        And one of the worst actions that the Gospel is DIRECTLY linked to…

        The antisemitism in the bible, especially g John and Luther’s personal virulent antisemitism can be directly attributed to much of the horrors perpetrated against the Jewish people.

        How we doing so far, chief?

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      2. Ah – some ‘facts’ at last. If you don’t mind I’ll stick to the four Gospels just now…not because the others can’t be answered but limitation of time.

        1) There was not a claim of a worldwide census – it was clearly referring to the Roman world. I don’t think Luke (as an historian) was suggesting that there was a census in Brazil or Australia!

        2) Just calling something ridiculous doesn’t make it so. What is your problem with the slaughter of the innocents?

        3) The raising of the dead saints is of course possible for an Almighty God – but you have already presupposed that such an Almighty God does not exist, therefore it cannot happen. So all we are learning from you is not facts – just your prejudices – which we already know.

        4) There are a couple of textual problems – but relatively easily solved. The Markan longer ending is not in the ancient ms so should not be included.

        5) N0 – 50% of the letters are not forged….don’t believe everything you Google.

        6) The Bible is not anti-Semitic. Luther was not in the Bible. John was a Jew and not anti-Semitic. The irony is that today I was meeting with an Israeli official who was thanking the church for our support for the Jews – both of us were concerned about the increasing secular anti-Semitism.

        How are you doing? Very poorly….I would expect a 12 year old with access to the Internet to come up to your level….try again?!

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      3. And you wonder why Twitter suspends your account!
        Yes , only 6 or possibly 7 of the epistles are considered written by the hand of Paul.
        And this is what genuine scholars have concluded – not blogging pastors.

        I don’t actually think you are ignorant, but you are most certainly disingenuous.

        gJohn is most certainly antisemitic – ask a proper scholar – and Luther’a actions can be directly traced to biblical text and the Christian view that the Jews were Christ killers.

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      4. “all the world should be enrolled”
        Luke 2:1
        When you state what you doubt Luke would have meant you mean, of course, the writer of Luke – whoever this was – as the gospels are anonymous.

        On the Jews and Their Lies is a 65,000-word antisemitic treatise written in 1543 by the German Reformation leader Martin Luther.

        His gospel also is laced with anti-Semitism, referring to Jesus’ enemies, clamoring for his execution, simply as “the Jews.” Hill notes that at the time it was written, John’s community of Jesus-following Jews was being expelled from their synagogues, as Judaism and Christianity finally sundered into separate religions. Hill, who is also a School of Theology professor of New Testament and pastoral theology, says it’s essential that “the tragic history of anti-Semitism in Christianity, and some of it is connected to the Gospel of John, is rooted up and understood, that John is understood, in its particular context.”

        Rev. Robert Hill, whose latest book probes all aspects of the most unusual of the Bible’s four gospels—that of John.

        Anything else you’d like to add?

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      5. As I said you are struggling. Luther did not write any of the Gospels and he was wrong about the Jews. And John’s Gospel is not laced with anti-Semitism (can you give one example)…? John was after all a Jew!

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    2. “The gospel should be mocked – from the first to the last.”

      Thank you, Arkenaten, for that great statement. Did you know that when Richard Dawkins used it – and others like it – he sparked a new generation of critically thinking, inquisitive and wise young people who were intrigued to know more? They wondered why he used it and so looked into the the Christian Gospel themselves, and as a result some became Christians. Did you also know that Richard Dawkins has played a big part in the renewal of Christianity and has done it a great service? His book, The God Delusion, spawned a host of new books from knowledgable Christians around the world (even including David Robertson), causing Christendom to rethink its theology and ground it on the Bible rather than whimsy.

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      1. Thanks for the comment.

        And yet, in the US alone research shows that over 200,000 young people are walking away from fundamentalist Christianity each year.
        In my experience through interacting with deconverted Christians and especially the more fundamentalist type, and also deconverts, every individual has stated that faith rather than evidence was the primary reason they became/remained Christian.

        However, as you rightly point out, the importance of critical thinking is so often what drives people to actually read and study the bible, and those that truly exercise this in their analysis of the evidence often reach the conclusion that what they have been taught is noting but fiction / and not a very pleasant fiction at that.

        Christian apologetics became necessary as far back as Origen, (maybe before?) and even at that stage Celsus knew a nod’s a good as a wink to a blind horse.

        Anything grounded in the bible will result in an even higher deconvert rate. So please, preach it, because faith is all you have; evidence and truth always top that.

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      2. Someone mentioned this point that you raised in the comment.

        “causing Christendom to rethink its theology and ground it on the Bible rather than whimsy”

        So is that a tacit admission that Christendom was grounded on whimsy rather than the Bible prior to the publication of Richard Dawkins book?

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      3. Ah … and who is to decide what is ”liberal progressive” over True Christianity?
        You?
        I thought one would usually defer to jesus?
        Or at least what it’s claimed he said.

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      4. IMHO, if there was a prize for counterproductive mocking, Richard Dawkins would win hands down. His obsession with lumping everything faith-related into the one toxic category of ‘Religion’ led him astray not a few times in The God Delusion as you point out; but there is a parallel in The Greatest Show on Earth where he could have been expected to have a bit more nous. Here, with the self-appointed task of presenting the evidence for evolution, he cannot resist the temptation to mock creationists instead. This becomes downright embarassing when he decides to mock the ‘design’ of the eye as though optimization was the be all and end all of optics. His analogy is how engineers were able to make corrections to the Hubble telescope so that it worked whereas it is poor design — says Dawkins — to have nerves and blood vessels inside the eye, running over the retina: a good designer would have ‘gone back to the drawing board’ and changed that.
        O really? I heard my counter analogy on BBC Radio Cumbria, funnily enough, some years ago. The presenter — I think it was Paul Braithwaite — was bemoaning the fact that listeners would send him CDs that played perfectly well on his own system at home but wouldn’t play on the far-more-expensive players at the station. The engineers explained that broadcast-quality players couldn’t handle CDs that weren’t perfect and Braithwaite wondered why the station couldn’t have a cheap and nasty CD player in reserve so that his listeners could hear what they wanted to hear and have heard. What is the point of having a perfect receptor if it only works when it gets a perfect signal?
        Despite Dawkins’s faux pas, the structure of the eye doesn’t prove intelligent design but mocking ID theorists as though mockery is the presentation of evidence will in the long run make The Greatest Show on Earth a liability rather than an asset for its cause. (IMHO).

        Yours,
        John/.

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  6. Arkenatan, are you keen to avoid confirmation bias? If so, and since you’re keen to quote deconversion figures, I’m interested to know if you’ve read ‘Making Sense of God – An Invitation to the Sceptical’ by Tim Keller. If not, I can recommend it highly as I’ve just finished listening to the ‘Audible’ version.

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    1. Sorry, I am not following why you would believe I have confirmation bias in this regard?
      Everything about your Christian worldview is founded on faith, not evidence.

      If you are suggesting something else could you please be a little more specific?

      Also, why would you think I would find anything by someone (Keller) who holds beliefs that are not based on evidence worthy of consideration, especially as such people are wont to indoctrinate children.

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      1. From your reply I would suggest you may be unaware of your own confirmation bias. I read and follow atheistic people and websites, I subscribe to Richard Dawkins and am always interested to know what’s being claimed by such people. So I would suggest you try to achieve some kind of balance as well by reading Tim Keller’s book because it’s written especially for sceptics (or skeptics if you’re in the US). Keller even addresses the topic of ‘evidence’ among many more of your objections, so it’s right up your street. The audio version lasts approx nine hours and I listened to it while redecorating a bedroom.

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      2. I read an awful lot of the writings of Christians on the internet as well as listen to numerous video presentations.

        I have listened to a couple of his presentations on youtube -also recommended by another Christian – a Pastor no less.
        From what I heard, he said nothing that I haven’t heard previously in one form or another, and to my knowledge, he has not produced a single piece of evidence that would verify his Christian claims.

        However, you have obviously listened to a lot more of his perspective than I, so please, I would appreciate if would summarize what you consider are his best arguments for his beliefs/worldview and then, with David’s leave, perhaps we could discuss them?

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      3. Keller approaches Christianity from the sceptic’s point of view, comparing different belief systems, including atheism, from a social and psychological viewpoint, with belief in Christ. He does briefly explain and compare the usual ‘five arguments for God’ towards the end of the book and provides his reasons for their validity (I was surprised by the weight he gives to the Moral argument as I’ve previously considered that the weakest.). To summarise his ‘best’ arguments I would need to listen again and take notes, so it would be much simpler if you could either read or listen to the book for yourself.

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      4. Thanks for the reply.

        In light of your previous recommendation, I did a little more research and watched a couple more (short) videos
        I found nothing new that altered my perspective of the man, and in fact gleaned a little more insight into his faith.
        You undoubtedly know he is a Calvinist – or rather a New Calvinist,
        Why anyone would pin their colours to someone like Calvin who did little to intervene in the burning alive of Severus is disconcerting to say the least.
        One of Keller’s fundamental beliefs, and one he does not shy away from, is the Doctrine of Total Depravity.
        This I was not previously aware of.
        He believes in The Fall, which suggests he accepts the veracity of Adam and Eve, though I could not find out if he believes in a literal understanding. ( I suspect he does)
        He has also written for Biologos and one can presume he is in agreement with their statement of faith regarding biblical innerancy.
        So, right off the bat, here are aspects of his faith that have no basis in fact or reality.
        How on earth Keller has any sort of argument to demonstrate the veracity of his claims is quite baffling.
        In fact , in the comment on one video someone wrote ”Wolf in Sheep’s clothing”, which to a degree, I echo.

        Therefore , as his arguments obviously resonate with you, I am quite surprised you cannot simply offer a single piece of evidence to support his claims or at least to present a defense of his perspective, then why would I want to shed out any hard earned cash to purchase his book, audio or otherwise?

        Regards
        Ark

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      5. Okay, in an effort to meet you some of the way I read several reviews of the book you recommended and the subsequent comments on Amazon.

        I hope you don’t immediately come back and claim ”bias” as even some of the good reviews state that the book does not present arguments likely to convince a skeptic.
        The comment below hit home for me as some years ago one of my nephew’s suffered a rare form of bone cancer as a baby and I flew to England while he was in hospital.

        Just Jos1 year agoIn reply toan earlier post
        Thank you for your comprehensive response but I am reminded by something that Bertrand Russell said…”Once one has stood by the beside of a dying child, one knows that there is no God.” I spent 6 months on a pediatric oncology unit and, with all due respect, any god that allows that I don’t want to have anything to do with…

        And when I read of Keller’s belief in the Doctrine of Total Depravity you can perhaps understand why I feel the way I do about him and his faith.

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      6. Ark – a wee hint…if you are going to comment on a book its better to read the book – rather than cherry pick the reviews that conform to your prejudice…

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      7. If you are going to criticize my comments then it is better to tell me exactly what about my comment is wrong.
        I mentioned that even some of the positive reviews 4/5 star stated that the book would not likely convince a skeptic.
        If you know Keller’s perspective then why don’t you offer some evidence to defend it instead of merely flinging out more rhetoric that conforms to your prejudice.

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      8. Arkenaten, if you wanted me to discuss whether or not freewill is illusory, would you suggest I check the background of Sam Harris, or would it make more sense to recommend one of his books first?

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      9. I found this .
        Even better than the book …. here it is from the Horse’s Mouth.
        His entire approach is based on presupposition and not once does he try to demonstrate or show any evidence for the foundational tenets of his faith.

        Neither would a single thing he said likely convince any skeptic, be they atheist or someone from another religion.

        Tell me if you find anything new in his lecture that has not been mentioned or written about by most apologists in one form or another

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      10. Ark, I’m listening to the ‘horse’s’ video right now, and my mind is full of questions which I’d like to ask you. So I’m going to buy the book and each time you post on here I’ll be asking you the kind of questions raised by Keller which ought to cause you to doubt your worldview. Are you OK with that?

        For instance, would you call yourself a ‘proofist’? If not, how might you label yourself?

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      11. <by Keller which ought to cause you to doubt your worldview. Are you OK with that?

        Ask away, It will be an interesting and enlightening discussion, I’m sure.

        However, I’m intrigued; how on earth do you know what my worldview is, if I may ask, as I most certainly never mentioned anything to you?
        For instance, would you call yourself a ‘proofist’? If not, how might you label yourself?

        In context, I am an atheist. Period.

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      12. I have a thought …
        As David moderates all the time perhaps you might find it easier to conduct this discussion on my blog?
        I can open up a dedicated page specifically to allow you to ask all the questions you wish?
        Let me know if you would prefer this to the rather stilted arrangement we are obliged to follow here.
        Regards
        Ark.

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      13. If Cumbriasmithy would like to venture further on my blog it will be a lot easier for all concerned.
        Even you could join in, if you like?

        Surely tolerance should begin with yourself, David?
        Don’t you ever question whether you and your beliefs are wrong?

        Let’s be honest you have neve once produced any evidence to support a single claim of your faith based worldview, yet you continually denigrate atheists in one form or another on practically every post .
        This is not tolerance, it is blatant arrogance.

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      14. Why is it dishonest? You have to work out the difference between what you disagree with and what is dishonest. The gospels are eyewitness testimony – I suggest you read Richard Bauckham’s ‘Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” which provides the evidence….

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      15. The gospels are not eyewitness testimony and every genuine scholar recognizes this fact.
        Good grief , even a layman can see this from a cursory read of the first few verses of John.

        Fundamentalist views of people like you and Licona have been dismantled more times than I’ve had hot dinners.

        A quick look at wiki and Baukhan is quoted that the Synoptics are based “quite closely” on the testimony of eyewitnesses, and he reckons gJohn is eyewitness testimony.

        So straight away you have your facts wrong.
        Fir someone who claims they did history you have a very skewed view of it.
        I suggest it’s about time you ditched your presuppositional fundamentalist view and start to do some serious study.

        But as you have read him, feel free to impart a few gems that might entice me to investigate further. After all, you are supposed to evangelize are you not?

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      16. Still stuck in your closed mind? ‘genuine scholar’ = ‘someone who agrees with me’. So Prof Richard Bauckham of the University of St Andrews is not a genuine scholar in your eyes….? Eyes which simply by reading the first few verses of John are able to work out that is is not eyewitness testimony – despite John’s own claim to have been an eyewitness! Instead of Wiki try reading a whole book – and then you might at least be able to spell Bauckham’s name correctly!

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      17. Baukham’s views are influenced by his faith.
        Think on that for a few moments.
        Thus , like you, he enters into such research with his presupposition firmly in place.
        Furthermore, his views are not accepted by the consensus of biblical scholars.
        Secular as well as Christian.
        The advantage of being able to read is I do, and the Gospels are not eyewitness accounts. And I know because I have read them. They don’t read as eyewitness accounts. Neither do they purport to be. Maybe your KJV is different to mine?
        You’ll be telling me Noah’s Ark was real and the Exodus as well, I suppose!
        You demonstrate willful ignorance at every turn.
        I recommend you listen to the testimony of former evangelical preacher and missionary Dan Barker.

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      18. Your views are influenced by your faith! Everyones views are influenced by their faith. Your claim was that there were NO serious ‘real’ scholars….its seems as though your faith/prejudice stops you recognising a professor at the University of St Andrews as a real scholar! Kind of says it all!

        But then you give up all pretence to scholarship by pointing out that you can read and on the basis of your reading (entirely unprejudiced of course!) you have determined that the Gospels are not eyewitness accounts (doubtless based on your extensive reading of 1st Century historical documents?!). Furthermore you tell us that they do not purport to be – I guess your extensive and insightful reading misses out Luke 1 – “Luke 1:1    Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,c 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” As you said – prejudice, ignorance leads to an inability to read even the most basic documents!

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      19. The thing is, Smithy,
        that Simeon was right — Luke 2:34f. —

        And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.

        Here and now, in the decadent West, the most strident opposing call is the call for evidence. It is ironic and wonderfully reassuring that the most obvious sign in an ocean of evidence is the floating hulk of H.S.M.S. Unbelief; unable to sink despite the best efforts of her crew to overload and scuttle her.
        Yours,
        John/.

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  7. @Cumbriasmithy & Arkenaten. You may be aware Cumbriasmithy, that Ark lures Christians into a ‘discussion’ with seemingly ‘reasonable’ enquiries. He has no intention of having a reasonable discussion – and having practised the deviant art of irrational argument and seeking to cause division among Christians for so long now – he may be now unable to engage in rational discussion – and is reaping what he has sown having abandoned rational evaluation, he might just be unable to summon those abilities lost somewhere in the cobwebby recesses of his mind. All this for some perverse satisfaction – and sadly, while aiming to dig a pit for Christians – he is becoming stuck in the quick sand of his own making – only God can release him now and may God have mercy on him. When any person habitually misuses their intelligence for perverse purposes – God hands them over – “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind”.
    Arkenaten claims that Christians are ignorant, gullible, irrational, insane unintelligent and the epitome of evil in every sense now and for the past 2000 years. Perhaps there is still a flicker of rationality in his mind – because methinks ‘the lady doth protest too much’. I truly pray that he doesn’t harden his heart past the point of no return. Every person is precious – in God’s eyes – even an NFA troll.

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    1. Hello, Martha
      Nice to read your warm, Christian love oozing through the metaphorical quicksand!

      Arkenaten claims that Christians are ignorant, gullible, irrational, insane unintelligent and the epitome of evil in every sense now and for the past 2000 years.

      Hmm … that’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?

      And I would certainly disagree with epitome of evil in every sense now and for the past 2000 years.

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      1. @ Ark. Christian love definitely not oozing. I would like to think though – that righteous indignation was pouring forth! You have frequently and habitually, either directly or indirectly said/implied that Christians are deluded, ignorant, mentally challenged. You have never once indicated that Christians/Christianity have/has the remotest redeeming aspects. I quote from your comment above “it [the gospel] can be indirectly and directly linked to some of the worst actions and periods in human history. ” The worst actions in human history are described as evil. Now I don’t actually believe that you really think all this is true – but you seem to want to divide, distort, defame, disrupt, destroy Christian claims by any or all means – save except maybe violence. That said – your kind of talk and the talk of the likes of Richard Dawkins – drums up opposition to Christians, hatred of Christians – and claiming that Christians and Christianity are responsible for and linked to some of the worst actions in human history could sow the seeds of hatred and violence against Christians in the minds of ignorant, unstable zealots who are looking for someone to blame for all that’s wrong in this world.
        Christian love – is , as believers understand – a fruit of the Spirit. But love doesn’t always manifest itself in a softly softly approach. Some of the harshest warnings in Scripture – intended for our better good and safety – are rooted in love.
        An intrinsic element of Christianity is to evangelise – and this is also done in love – love for the lost. Perhaps you think that Christianity’s only fruit should be selling pots of homemade strawberry jam at the Church fete – with a sweet smile – whilst saying nothing at all about the faith!! Jesus said he would build his church – it’s being built for 2000 years and continuing!! Now there’s a thing!

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      2. You have frequently and habitually, either directly or indirectly said/implied that Christians are deluded, ignorant, mentally challenged.

        100% correct, but not necessarily all at the same time.

        You have never once indicated that Christians/Christianity have/has the remotest redeeming aspects.

        Maybe not on this particular blog. However, my mother is a devout Christian (C of E), an active member of her church, and a kinder person you are unlikely to meet.

        I quote from your comment above “it [the gospel] can be indirectly and directly linked to some of the worst actions and periods in human history. ” The worst actions in human history are described as evil.

        I do not generally use the term evil, but one only has to consider the near genocide of the Native Americans and the Indian tribes in South America.
        We can also consider all the internecine wars that raged across Europe for hundreds of years. The pogroms also.
        In fact there are a multitude of examples to demonstrate how Christianity has been used to perpetrate some hideous actions and much of these were Christian against Christian

        An intrinsic element of Christianity is to evangelise – and this is also done in love – love for the lost.

        Two examples of how misguided evangelizing so often is I listed above. There are plenty of others.

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    2. Thanks Martha. I’m reasonably familiar with the likes of Arkenaten, which is why I don’t spend much time discussing and prefer to ask probing questions, writing single, short paragraphs where possible. I’m no apologist though as my ability to remember Bible verses, references and names is abysmal, but concepts and principles are less of a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. @Ark With regard to any positive aspects of the Christian faith you replied “Maybe not on this particular blog. However, my mother is a devout Christian (C of E), an active member of her church, and a kinder person you are unlikely to meet.” By this – you imply that her kindness is a fruit of her Christian faith.
    But if she is a Christian – you have to include her in the group you 100% agreed are deluded, ignorant, mentally challenged.
    “100% correct, but not necessarily all at the same time.”
    If she is a different ‘brand’ of Christian than those included in the deluded group – than what sort of a Christian is she? Is there another acceptable sort?
    If it is evangelism you have a problem with – and your mother keeps her faith to herself – then if she had lived in the first century and all Christians were keeping their faith to themselves – the church would have died out pretty soon. She couldn’t really be a Christian if she doesn’t agree with the words of Jesus “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” and indeed the instruction to take the gospel into all the world.
    Your above list of atrocities may very well have links to the religion of Christianity. But wherever you have people – you have evil and war – greed and oppression. The behaviour of so-called ‘Christian’ nations and so-called Christians and Christians can be a very bad witness for Christianity but that doesn’t mean that a) the bible is not the Word of God b) Jesus Christ wasn’t born of a virgin, crucified as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world and that c) people aren’t converted to the Christian faith by the Holy Spirit who indwells believers and that believers are not cleansed of their sins and reconciled to God.
    If as you say – your mother is very active in her local church – then what does she do if she is not involved in the body of Christ somehow in one of the ways described in 1 Corinthians Chpt 12? – 12Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
    15Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
    If she is part of the body – she is either directly or indirectly involved in evangelism – which is part of church life. That would then number her with your misguided and hideous category you mention above.
    You seem to have double standards – and contradictory statements.
    It seems that you are not interested in truth but in power. You want Christians out of the public space – so man can rule the world and have the freedom he so desires. Except that when he thinks he has freedom – he is deluded and enslaved. Look at all the countries of the world – which country would you live in that isn’t at least influenced by Christianity or formerly Christian? Make sure you really know what you are talking about before you cite the idyllic cultures ruined by the arrival of Christianity.

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    1. Re: my Mother being a kind person: But if she is a Christian – you have to include her in the group you 100% agreed are deluded, ignorant, mentally challenged.
      “100% correct, but not necessarily all at the same time.”
      100% correct. Like every Christian with regards their religious worldview –

      If she is a different ‘brand’ of Christian than those included in the deluded group – than what sort of a Christian is she? Is there another acceptable sort?

      Christianity as a worldview is based on supernatural claptrap with no basis in evidence whatsoever. However, to my knowledge, my mother has never tried to preach it or evangelize her faith. ( other than to send me to Sunday school when was five) . Under these conditions she is entitled to believe what she likes. And under these conditions I have no major issues.

      If it is evangelism you have a problem with – and your mother keeps her faith to herself – then if she had lived in the first century and all Christians were keeping their faith to themselves – the church would have died out pretty soon.

      Yes, and wouldn’t that have been a blessing? However, history tells another tale and it was actually through the edicts and laws promulgated by people such as Constantine and later Theodosius that ensured Christianity got a major foothold. That said, I do take your point.

      She couldn’t really be a Christian if she doesn’t agree with the words of Jesus “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” and indeed the instruction to take the gospel into all the world.

      Well, you will have to take this up with my mum. I can ask her if she would like to discuss this with you, if you like?

      Your above list of atrocities may very well have links to the religion of Christianity.

      Directly linked and this is an undeniable fact of history. There is no escaping it.

      But wherever you have people – you have evil and war


      I am not religious. Neither evil nor have I ever been involved in a war. Neither is anyone I know evil or been involved in a war.

      The behaviour of so-called ‘Christian’ nations and so-called Christians and Christians can be a very bad witness for Christianity

      That would include just about every country in Europe at one time or another. And still today in certain cases. Can you think of any nation that has improved (a Good Witness) in this respect?

      but that doesn’t mean that a) the bible is not the Word of God

      Faith statement. No evidence. Based on the number of inaccuracies it contains it certainly looks ‘’man made’’. One would not likely associate this level of nonsense with a deity.

      that doesn’t mean that b) Jesus Christ wasn’t born of a virgin,

      Faith statement . No evidence. In fact internal evidence tells us Matthew used the passage from Isaiah 7:14 for his story and this had nothing to do with anyone called Yeshua.
      Also, ( the late) Raymond Brown has admitted this should not be taken in a literal biological sense.

      As for the rest of your comment. I do not know everything my mother is involved in at the Church. Remember … I am an atheist! David is probably a lot more familiar with the internal day to day workings of a church. I know she attends two or three times a week – or she did the last time I asked. She’s no spring chicken any more so I doubt she is whizzing about as she once was. If you need specific details and my mother is willing to discuss these with you, I will pass on your inquiry. Let me know?

      Make sure you really know what you are talking about before you cite the idyllic cultures ruined by the arrival of Christianity.

      Well, any country where Christianity was used to commit genocide, enact slavery, and Apartheid are three examples .that ruined local culture.

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      1. @ Ark. I have no intention of having a discussion with your mother – it’s you I’m talking with. I’m merely reflecting back your inconsistency. If she is deluded, ignorant, gullible and irrational – then you should start putting her straight before you start on the rest of us. Surely you owe her that much. If she is a Christian – then she will believe that her atheist son is headed for hell – and presumably she cares very deeply about that. So I hope she is making some attempt either in prayer or conversation with you to influence you to turn in a different direction. You have no problem with her ‘brand’ of Christianity because she appears not to evangelise. I would question her Christianity if she has no concern for the lost. But of course that is for you to think about – not me.
        Wars are a hideous fact of life – always have been. People start wars – and your answer is silly – that you or nobody you know have started a war. It’s not that simple. The church has been given a spiritual battle – the sword is the Word of God. The government has the power of the sword – as it were. If religion and politics get mixed up – a war can appear to originate in the religion – but the gospel is nothing to do with politics. Jesus wasn’t in the slightest bit political.
        As for your reference to ‘faith statements’. What’s wrong with faith? Anyhow – people who have encountered Jesus as Saviour and God – have tested the objective claims – and found them to be subjectively true. That is the testimony of millions over the centuries – you can only testify that you don’t believe the claims – but you are not in a position to deny someone else’s testimony nor are you in a position to tell someone else’s testimony.
        Your own arguments are full of holes and you don’t play fair.
        I did ask you the question as to which country you would choose to live in that wasn’t formerly ‘Christian’. You simply cannot blame all the evils of the world on Christians. Would you like to live in Roman times? Pre-Christian barbarous Britain? Countries saturated in pagan religions, witchcraft, superstitious folklore, child sacrifice, widow burning, cruel ritual practices? Christianity made the world more humane. Fact.
        The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is what God wants us to produce in our lives – not violence.
        Anyhow, this conversation could go on forever – and as I said – I don’t think you are looking for truth. Hope you find it though. Answer if you want – but I’m finishing up. You may want to pick your conversation up again with Cumbriasmithy – who seems a very well-meaning, polite person – so behave yourself and show some respect!!
        Meanwhile “Glory to God on high and on earth peace ………TO THOSE ON WHOM HIS FAVOUR RESTS… In other words……peace with God. Not peace on earth!!

        Merry Christmas x

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      2. Anyhow, this conversation could go on forever – and as I said – I don’t think you are looking for truth.

        In light of this sentence which strongly suggests that in fact it is you, Martha, that is no longer interested in open dialogue, what was the point of writing everything that preceded it?
        As a matter of fact, I am having a discussion with Cumbriasmithy – over on my blog.
        Feel free to join in if you like?

        Whenever you wish to have a conversation that includes evidence , and a high degree of honesty, then let me know, okay?

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      3. At ark(Doug)

        Being a careful observer of your interactions here and there, Martha has more than adequately addressed your concerns, eloquently and to the point.

        It was YOU who brought up your mother in the context of faith, and she nailed you to the wall , in grace of course.

        Since by your own words, you have stated that ALL believers are liars, not because we have lied, but because we simply believe God’s testimony of Himself as revealed through history, scripture, nature, and the human conscience which entirely, factually, and perfectly separates men from beasts.

        To this end you can never win a single argument against people of faith who are mature and cannot be shaken by rolling and raging waves of the sea such as you bring in a consistent tiring manner.

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      4. I have never said all believers are liars, Colorstorm. That is a lie.

        You are correct about (not) ”winning an argument with people of faith,” and this has never been the objective of writing on this and related subjects.

        In fact, simple tit for tat ”point scoring” is somewhat infantile.
        In an era where information is (in most cases) freely available surely it is everyone’s responsibility to thoroughly check out claims and not to swallow everything they are fed?
        And I am sure there are plenty of times I fall foul of this as well.

        Thus it is sensible to question things that we are told, and to try our best to ensure we have the correct information.
        Let’s be honest,CS, with the science that is available these days what sort of blithering idiot would believe that human induced climate change is a hoax?
        Likewise one would have to be a complete arse to believe that dinosaurs and humans co-existed and that the earth was no more than 10,000 years old, for example?

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