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5/28/2004                                                                                       View Comments

My responses to James

sent in by BenjaminTC

A few months back, someone named James, a fundamental Xian, sent out a letter about 12 pages to a lot of people on the exchristian.com message boards. I don't know that many people took the time to read and respond to it, so here it is.

The top half is the original letter. You don't really need to read this, because I quote it later in my response, but its there for reference. I'll put a break in so you know where my response begins. I still haven't gotten a response from James, but I got a half-assed response from "Dr." Kent Hovind. He basically said all my responses were just speculation.

This makes me believe he didn't really read what I said, just assumed that since I wasn't Xian I was just making stuff up. I don't know, well, here it is:

This paper is written to those who do not believe or are skeptical of the Christian faith, As well as those who are Christian and would like to understand arguments and objections. I would like to ask you to please read the document thoroughly before making any judgments. It’s about 12 pages, so maybe get some coffee, sit back and read it with an open mind and heart. I welcome any comments or questions regarding the paper after you have read it in its entirety. I understand that I am not the best person for grammar, please overlook that.

QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIONS TO THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

It’s been said that the worst thing that you could ever tell a person is, “You are wrong.” It’s a sad indictment on humanity that this statement is probably true. Even if someone is completely in the wrong and you tell them without discretion, you will more than likely alienate yourself from them. Being wrong is a blow to the proud human ego.

CAN YOU PROVE THERE IS A GOD?

Sure you can. Every time you see a Nike shirt you know it had a creator. Every time you see a watch you know it had a designer. Every time you see art you know it had an artist. Every time you see order, like twenty cups in a row, you know there is an orderer. When you look at the universe what do you see? You see creation, design, art, and order. If every other thing has a creator, designer, artist, and orderer, then why would you not think that there is a Creator, Designer, Artist, and Orderer of the Universe?

Romans chapter 1 verse 20 from the Bible says, “Since the creation of the world His (God) invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

How do I know there is a builder to a building? I simply look. The building is proof that there was a builder. I don’t need to physically see the builder to know that. The universe is proof there is a God.

THE BIBLE HAS CHANGED DOWN THROUGH THE AGES!

It really has not. In the spring of 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. These manuscripts
were copies of large portions of the Old Testament, a thousand years older than any other existing copies. Study of the scrolls has revealed that the Bible has not changed in content down through the ages as many skeptics had surmised. Anyone can now obtain access to computer programs that give the original Hebrew and Greek words, and the only “changes” have been made for clarity. For example, the old English translation of 2 Corinthians 12:8 “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice…,” while a contemporary translation is “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times…”

PROVE TO ME THAT THE BIBLE IS SUPERNATURAL!

Prophecies from the Old and New Testaments that have been fulfilled have added credibility to the Bible. The Scriptures predicted the rise and fall of great empires like Greece and Rome (Daniel 2:39, 40), and foretold the destruction of cities like Tyre and Sidon (Isaiah 23). Tyre’s demise is recorded by ancient historians who tell how Alexander the Great laid siege to the city
For seven months. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had failed in a 13 year attempt to capture the
seacoast city and completely destroy its inhabitants. During the siege of 573 B.C., much of the population of Tyre moved to its new island home approximately half a mile from the land city.
Here it remained surrounded by walls as high as 150 feet until judgment fell in 332 B.C. with the arrival of Alexander the Great. In the seven-month siege, he fulfilled the remainder of the prophecies (Zechariah 9:4; Ezekiel 26:12) concerning the city at sea by completely destroying
Tyre killing 8,000 of its inhabitants and selling 30,000 of its population into slavery. To reach the island he scraped up the dust and rubble of the old land city of Tyre, just like the Bible predicted, and cast them into the sea, building a 200-footwide causeway out to the island.

Alexander’s death and the murder of his two sons were also foretold in the Scripture. Another startling prophecy was Jesus detailed predication of Jerusalem’s destruction, and the further spreading of the Jewish Diaspora through-out the world which is recorded in Luke 21. In A.D. 70,
Not only was Jerusalem destroyed by Titus, the future emperor of Rome, but another prediction of Jesus Christ is Matthew 24:1-2 came to pass-the complete destruction of the temple of God.

In the Book of Daniel, the Bible prophesied the coming of the one and only Jewish Messiah prior to the temple’s demise. The Old Testament prophets declared He would be born in Bethlehem
(Micah 5:2) to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13),
die by crucifixion (Psalm 22), and be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9). There was only one person who fits all of the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament who lived before A.D.70; Jesus of Nazareth. Isaiah prophesied this 700 years before Christ. Yes! The Bible is an amazing book.

PROVE TO ME THE BIBLE IS INSPIRED?

For a moment, let us imagine that God had nothing to do with the Bible. Here is the task: man is going to produce a book with 40 different authors. The book will span 1,500 years in time. The book will be written in three languages by men from as varied professions as that of a shepherd, a king, a soldier, a doctor, a tax collector, and a farmer. At the same time, there must be continuity without collusion and the authors must speak out on every major moral subject without
contradicting each other. Imagine people from varied walks of life writing a book without collaboration and without any major conflicts! We can only come to one conclusion: although the building of God’s Word, line upon line, took well over 1,000 years, there was only one Architect who put all the pieces together. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, men were inspired to each add a part until we were given the complete revelation of the written Word of God.

The prophetic accuracy of the Bible points to an important internal evidence. We are not discussing a good percentage of accuracy, but 100 percent accuracy. The Bible meets the most stringent test of prophecy.

Remoteness of Time. There must be such a separation between the prediction and its fulfillment that the prophet can have no power, directly or indirectly, to influence the result. This criteria is met over and over again in the Bible’s prophecies concerning Israel, the nations, and Christ.

Is it by chance that the prophet Daniel predicted five historical worldwide Gentile powers when he was living in the second great world empire? Is it mere speculation that Micah, a shepherd, was able to predict the village in which the Messiah would be born 400 years before the event?

How could Ezekiel have understood what he was writing when he foretold the present coalition of nations just before the coming of Christ (Ezekiel 38:39)? How did the prophets know Israel, with its God-given blessings, would be destroyed and the seed of Abraham scattered throughout the whole earth? How could they have known that in the latter times it would become a nation again? Most of our modern seers have a hard time with next week, let alone with the next millennium.

Minuteness of Detail. Another test of prophecy demands that the prediction’s details be so many and minute that is cannot be attributed to blind luck or shrewd guesswork. For instance, the most critical student would be overwhelmed by the details of prophecy concerning Israel, but equally astounding are the prophecies concerning the nations around Israel. There were 12 major countries in or near Israel’s borders in Old Testament times. Years in advance, the prophets accurately predicted the future of these countries. Minor details, such as who would conquer them and how it would be done, were foretold.

In one prophecy concerning Babylon, the Prophet Isaiah’s prediction of a siege included this detail: “Two tings shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood” (Isaiah 47:9). In the midst of the siege, and driven to madness by famine, the Babylonians strangled 50,000 of their women and children in one day, sparing only enough to bake bread during the siege.

The minute details of Christ’s life, as prophesied in the Scriptures, defy the random chance theory so completely that any objective student must conclude that Biblical prophecy is divine.

There are hundreds of prophecies concerning Christ (The Messiah). Covering 61 major areas of His life. One must realize these prophecies were given hundreds of years before the actual events.

The prophecies concerning Christ include such details as His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14), the village of Bethlehem where He would be born (Micah 5:2), and that He would be presented with gifts by the kings of Sheba. They also predict His ministry of miracles, His use of parables, His betrayal by a friend for 30 pieces of silver, His crucifixion with thieves, and the casting of lots for His garments. These are just a few of the intricate details prophesied hundreds of years before the events occurred.

Finally, it’s moral power and influence. No other book has had such an impact on nations and individuals.

Some examples of Prophecies and their fulfillment hundreds of years later:

His being born of a virgin – Isaiah 7:14 fulfilled in Matthew 1:22-23
His being born in Bethlehem of Judea- Micah 5:2 fulfilled in Matthew 2:1
His being sold for 30 pieces of silver, Zechariah 11:12 fulfilled in Mat 26:15
His hands and feet being nailed to the Cross, Psalm 22:16 fulfilled in John 19:18
His sitting at the right hand of God, Psalm 110:1 fulfilled in Hebrews 1:3

These are just a few examples. I would suggest you re-examine the Bible and consider it.

IS JESUS CHRIST THE MESSIAH/IS HE GOD?

Jesus claimed to not only have found truth, but be truth. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no man comes unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6). He claimed to be God. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus is divine because of His sinless life. His enemies
put the searchlight on his life and could find no flaws. Jesus said to the religious Pharisees “Which of you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46). They hated him yet could not find any faults with Him. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15).


Jesus did things only God could do. He forgave sins. He healed people in compassion such as blindness, the lame, leprosy, fevers, He raised the dead- Lazarus was dead four days and put in a tomb. Jesus raised him from the dead. These were eyewitness accounts even from the religious group that hated him. He walked on the water. He was crucified for the purpose of taking our sins. He prophesied his own death and resurrection. That is why you can go to Him with all of your sins, shame, and guilt and He will forgive you, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. You make the choice. Don’t just shove it off. Consider it.

I’M AS GOOD AS ANY CHRISTIAN!

.Jesus said that only God is good. The only “goodness,”
or righteousness that the believer has - comes from Jesus Christ. The bible tells us that without Christ, man is corrupt and filthy; “There is none that does good no not one” (psalm 14:3).

IT’S INTOLERANT TO SAY THAT JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD!

Jesus is the One who said that He is the only way to the Father. For Christians to say that there are other ways to find peace and forgiveness with God is to bear false testimony or lie. In one sweeping statement Jesus discards all other religions as a means of finding forgiveness of sins.
This agrees with other scriptures: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), and “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).


I DON’T BELIEVE IN HELL. GOD IS LOVE AND COULD NOT SEND PEOPLE THERE. AND IF THERE IS ONE, I DON’T MIND GOING, BECAUSE ALL MY FRIENDS WILL BE THERE!

Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain once sang a song with these lyrics: “Where do young kids go when they die, they don’t go to heaven with the angels and fly, they go to the Lake of Fire and fry then come out on the fourth of July.” These are words to a song, but many people buy this mentality. Obviously,
those who say such things – don’t believe in the biblical concept of hell. Their understanding of God is erroneous. The slow witted criminal thinks that the electric chair is a place he can put up his feet for a while and relax.

“If a judge in Florida turns a blind eye to the unlawful dealings of the Mafia, if he sees their murderous acts and deliberately turns the other way, is he a good judge or a bad judge? He is
obviously corrupt and should be brought to justice himself. If he is a good judge, he will do
everything in his power to bring those murderers to justice. He should make sure they are punished. If Almighty God sees a man rape and strangle to death your mother or sister or daughter, do you think God should look the other way? Or Should He bring that rapist/murderer
to justice? If He looked the other way, He is corrupt and should be brought to Justice Himself.
It makes sense then, that if “God is good” He will then do everything in His power to ensure that Justice is done. God will not overlook our crimes/sins. If an earthly judge will do right, how much more do you think God will do right?

There are those who accept that Hell is a place of punishment, but believe that the punishment is to be annihilated.—to cease conscious existence. They can’t conceive that the punishment of the wicked will be conscious and eternal. If they are correct, then a man like Adolph Hitler, who was responsible for the deaths of millions, is being “punished” merely with eternal sleep. His fate is simply to return to the non-existent state he was in before he was born, where he doesn’t even know that he is being punished. However, Scripture paints a different story. The rich man who found himself in Hell (Luke chapter 16:19-31) was conscious. He was able to feel pain, to thirst, and to experience remorse. He wasn’t asleep in the grave; he was in a place of torment. Hell is a place of consciousness, a place of regrets and torments.

Take time to think of the reality of Hell personally. Sinners like to picture it as a fun, hedonistic, pleasure-filled place where they can engage in all the sensual sins that are forbidden here. But Jesus said that it was a “Place of torment” where the “Worm never dies and the fire is never quenched” (Matthew 9:43-44). We tend to forget what pain is like when we don’t have it. Can you imagine how terrible it would be to be in agony with no hope or relief for eternity? Many human beings
go insane if they are merely isolated for a long time from other people. Imagine how terrible it would be if God merely withdrew all the things we held so dear – Friendship, love, color, light, joy, laughter, security. Hell isn’t just a place with an absence of God’s blessings, but a punishment for sin. It is literal torment, fire, loneliness, darkness, forever. He doesn’t want people to go there. That is Not His will, but we have free will to choose. Choose wisely and remember your sins and your choices do have consequences! God is merciful and wants you in heaven, but you make the choice to receive Him or reject Him. It wasn’t made up by people. Jesus spoke of hell more than He spoke of heaven in the New Testament. We must heed his words.


WHY DOES THE OLD TESTAMENT SHOW A GOD OF WRATH AND THE NEW TESTAMENT A GOD OF MERCY?

The God of the New Testament is the same as the God of the Old Testament. The Bible says that He never changes. He is just as merciful in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament. Read the Book of Nehemiah Chapter 9 for a summary of how God mercifully forgave Israel, again and again, after they repeatedly sinned and turned their back on Him. The Psalms of David often speak of God’s mercy poured out on sinners.

He is also wrath-filled in the New Testament as He is in the Old Testament. He killed a husband and wife in Acts chapter 5 because they told one lie. Jesus warned that He was to be feared because He has the power to cast body and soul into hell (Matthew 10:28). The apostle Paul said
that he persuaded men to come to the Savior because he knew the “terror of the Lord.” Read the dreadful judgments of the Book of Revelation. That will put the “fear of God’ in you which is the
beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). Perhaps the most fearful display of His wrath is seen in the cross of Jesus Christ. Whether we like it or not, our God is a consuming fire of holiness (Hebrews 12:29). He isn’t going to change, so we had better…before the Day of Judgment. If we
Repent and believe in the Gospel then God in His mercy will forgive us and grant us eternal life in heaven with Him.



I MADE A COMMITMENT, BUT NOTHING HAPPENED.”

Some people don’t get past “square one” because they trust in their feelings rather than God. His Promises are true, despite our feelings. If I make a promise to my wife, that promise is true whether she is feeling happy or sad. If she doubts my word then she brings a slur to my integrity.

Anyone who genuinely repents (turns away from their sins) and trusts in Christ for salvation will be saved. The bible makes this promise. “He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). There’s the promise, and there’s the condition. Any person who loves and obeys Jesus will begin a supernatural relationship with Him and the Father. That does not mean you will hear voices or see visions. God will instead make you a new person from within. He will send His Spirit to live within you. You will have a new heart with new desires. You will suddenly become conscious of God and His creation. The Bible will open up to you and become a living Word, and you will have an inner witness that you are saved, that your name is written in heaven, and that death has lost its sting. (1 John 5:10-12).

GOD MADE ME LIKE THIS! SIN IS HIS FAULT!

If this won’t work in a civil court, it certainly won’t work on Judgment Day. Even with an expert defense lawyer, it would take an inept judge to fall for the old “God made me do it” defense.

We are responsible moral agents. The “buck” stopped at Adam. He tried to blame both God and Eve for his sin; Eve blamed the serpent. It is human nature to try, but it doesn’t work with God.

We are responsible for our actions. If you run somebody over with the car you will be responsible for your actions. If you shoot somebody, don’t blame the gun-Blame yourself. If you skip school and get bad grades don’t blame the teacher or your parents. Blame yourself for skipping. God gives the Christian the Bible to follow and live by. We are to put into practice the truths by His grace.

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT RELIGIONS?

It has been said that “religion” is man’s way of trying to deal with guilt. Different religions have different ways of attempting to rid themselves of sin and its consequences. They fast, pray, deny themselves legitimate pleasures, chasten themselves, say Hail Mary’s, go to Mass, and chant mantras,often to a point of inflicting pain. This happens because they have a conception of what they think God is like. They then go about to establish their own righteousness being ignorant of the righteousness which is of God. The “Good News” of the Christian faith is that no one needs to suffer the pains of religions works. The Blood of Jesus can cleanse our conscience from “dead works” of religion (Hebrews 9:14). Jesus took our punishment upon Himself, and He is the only One who can save us from sin and death. Good works cannot save anyone. We call ourselves good people, but just let all the electricity go out again for a week. Let all the lights go out for a week and we will see how good we as people really are. All the frustrations, the anger, the selfishness, thievery. That is why we won’t suspend American laws because we would find out real quick our need of police officers, and that we are not inherently good.

WHY IS THERE SUFFERING? THAT PROVES THERE IS NO GOD!

Study the soil for a moment. It naturally produces weeds. Nobody plants them; nobody waters them. They even stubbornly push themselves through cracks on a dry sidewalk. Millions of useless weeds sprout like there’s no tomorrow, strangling our crops and ruining our lawns. Pull them out by the roots, and there will more tomorrow. They are nothing but a curse!

Look at how much of the earth is uninhabitable. There are millions upon millions of square miles of nothing but barren deserts in Africa and in different parts of the world. Most of Australia is desert. There is nothing but miles upon miles of useless desolate land. Not only that, but the earth is constantly shaken with massive earthquakes. Its shores are lashed with hurricanes; tornadoes rip through creation with incredible fury. Floods of Biblical proportions soak the land, and terrible droughts parch the soil. Sharks, tigers, lions, snakes, spiders and disease-ridden mosquitoes attack humanity and suck its life blood. The earth’s inhabitants are afflicted with disease, pain, suffering and death.

Think of how many people are plagued with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Heart disease, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease and a host of other diseases. Think of all the kids with leukemia, or people born with crippling diseases or without the mental capacity to even feed themselves. All these things should convince thinking minds that something is radically wrong. Did God blow it when He created humanity? What sort of tyrant must our Creator be if this was His Master plan?

Sadly, many use the issue of suffering as an excuse to reject any thought of God, when its existence is the very reason we should accept Him. Suffering stands as terrible testimony to the truth of the explanation given by the Bible. But how can we know the Bible is true? Simply by studying the prophecies of Matthew 24, Luke 21 and 2 Timothy 3. A few minutes of openhearted inspection will convince any honest skeptic that this is no ordinary book.

It is the Testament of God as to why there is suffering. …and what we can do about it.

The Bible tells us that God cursed the earth because of Adam’s transgression. Weeds are a curse.

So is disease. Sin and suffering cannot be separated. The Scriptures inform us that we live in a fallen creation. In the beginning, God created man perfect and he lived in a perfect world, without suffering. It was Heaven on earth. When sin came into the world, death and misery came with it. Those who understand the message of the Bible eagerly await a new Heaven and a new earth. “Where righteousness dwells.” In that coming kingdom there will be no more pain, suffering, disease or death. We are told that “No eye has seen nor ear has heard neither has any man’s mind ever imagined the wonderful things that God has in store for those who love Him”. The promise of a new Heaven and a new earth come from a faithful Creator, and there is no greater insult to God than not to believe His promises. Let me illustrate this with the following example of a child.

The dilemma is that we are all like a small child whose insatiable appetite for chocolate has caused his face to break out. He looks in the mirror and sees a sight that makes him depressed. His face is nothing but ugly sores. But instead of stopping the eating of his beloved chocolate, he takes a solace by stuffing more into his mouth, yet, his very joy is actually causing his suffering.

The whole face of the earth is nothing but ugly sores of suffering. Everywhere we look, we see unspeakable pain. But instead of believing God’s explanation and asking Him to forgive us and change our appetite, we run deeper into sin’s sweet embrace. There we find solace in its temporal pleasures; thus intensifying our pain in this life.

RELIGION HAS CAUSED MORE WARS THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN HISTORY!

It is true that man has used religion for political and personal gain. Hitler had “God with us” engraved on the belts of Nazi soldiers. America said, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” The law may even allow you to start the Christian Nazi party, if you so desire. You can become a “reverend” for a few dollars through the mail and then further your political agenda with the worlds blessing, or be a money-hungry greedy television evangelist no matter how much it smears the name of Christ.

If Jesus told His followers to love their enemies, and someone puts a knife into someone’s back in the name of Christianity, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that something isn’t quite right. If we human beings can detect it, how much more will God? He will deal with it on Judgment Day. They are not fooling anyone but themselves. There are people who go to church and claim the name of Christian, but are far from the truth. They may fool men, but not God.

Just because the outside of the bottle says Pepsi, and the contents appear to be Pepsi, doesn’t mean that’s the truth. God sees their hypocrisy and will deal with them. Matthew 7:21 says this clearly “Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father in heaven.” Just because people go to church and wear nice suits doesn’t make them a Christian. Mankind looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DENOMINATIONS?

In the early 1500’s, a German monk named Martin Luther was so conscious of his sins, he spent up to six hours in the confessional. Through study of the Scriptures he found that salvation did not come through anything or any suffering he did, but simply through trusting in the finished work of the Cross of Jesus Christ. He listed the contradictions between what the Bible said, and what the Catholic Church taught, and nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany for all to see.

Martin Luther became the first to protest against the Roman church, and thus he became the father of the Protestant church. Since that split, there have been many disagreements about how much water one should baptize with, how to sing and why, who should govern who, etc., causing thousands of splinter groups. Many of these groups are convinced they are the “only ones” who are right. These have become known as Protestant denominations. Despite the confusion, these churches subscribe to certain foundational beliefs such the Deity, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible says “And the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal- the Lord knows those that are His.”

Luther’s beliefs lined up with the early apostles from the book of Acts that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ. You don’t need to go to a priest for forgiveness. You don’t need to go to mass, or pray to the saints, Mary, or go to church to be saved. This is not what Jesus taught. These are man-made traditions. Jesus said, (you) “Make the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do. Mark 7:7-13 “All too well, you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your tradition.” “This people honor Me with their lips and their heart is far from Me, and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Note: The Pharisees and religious people did this. God wants your heart not a ritual. You can go to church, be “good” and still go to Hell. Your works can’t get you to heaven. Your “being good” doesn’t get you to heaven, being a member of a church whether it’s Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal or whatever will not get you to heaven. It’s trusting in Christ. When Jesus said to “Believe” on Him, he was saying we should have faith in Him in the same way you would trust a parachute to save you when you jump from a plane. You don’t merely believe in the parachute- You put it on.





GOING FOR THE SPIDER

The problem with us humans is that we don’t see our need of a Savior. We think we can somehow defy the Moral law of God. My aim is not to convince you of the Moral law. You already know it exists. The Bible says that the “work of the Law” is written in our hearts and that our conscience bears witness (Romans 2:13-15). God has given light to every man. We have always known it is wrong to kill, steal, murder, commit lies etc. We even have known in our hearts that God exists. Michael Pearly rightly said, “When a man calls himself an atheist, he is not attacking God; he is attacking his own conscience.” Our conscience has always been there as a judge in the courtroom of our own mind. The word con-science means “with knowledge.” The conscience is the headline warning of sin; the Scriptures give the fine print. Our conscience has given us the knowledge of what is right and wrong. Nobody can say they do not know that it’s wrong to murder, steal, commit adultery, or lie. That knowledge is written in bold print in our heart. There are two witnesses to our crimes: Our conscience and God. God has written this in our hearts according to Jeremiah chapter 31 Verses 31-34. “I will put My Law in their minds, and write it on their hearts…”

My aim is rather to persuade of the consequences of breaking that law. I have a question for you:

Do you consider yourself a good person? (Go ahead and answer)


We as humans judge each other by our standard. For example, we say, “I am not that bad! I am not like Timothy McVeigh. I didn’t blow up a building and kill people. I am not like those people who kill others. I am better than that. I am not a drug dealer. This is judging by our standard. We may not kill, steal, murder, but we are good people that are better than that. This is judging by our standards.

But God has a standard of Goodness. Let’s be really honest with ourselves as we go through God’s test to determine if we really are good? To do this we will go through the Ten Commandments. As we do this, remember this:

God sees the sins your youth as though it were yesterday. Just as time doesn’t forgive transgression of the law (i.e. a murderer is still a murderer ten years after the crime), so time doesn’t forgive sin.

God sees your thought life. He made the mind so He can surely see what He made. Nothing is hidden from His all seeing eye.

God is perfect, holy, good, just and utterly righteous. By His very nature, He must punish transgression of His Law. If He sees a murder take place, He must eventually bring the murderer to justice.

What is sin? It’s missing the mark. There is a certain standard and we have missed it. Let’s go through the Test: Be honest with yourself concerning these 10 from Exodus and Deuteronomy.

Be honest with yourself as we go through these Commandments and ask yourself if you have truly kept them:


1) You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me!

This means that God should be the focal point of your affections. Is God number one in your life?
Have you always put God first in your life? If not, then you have broken this commandment.

2) You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water below, you shall not bow down nor serve them.

(You won’t find this Commandment in the traditional Roman Catholic teaching. It was removed
because it exposed Idolatry within the Church – Bowing down to statues. They deleted it and split the Tenth Commandment into two in order to bring the total back to Ten Commandments).

People can make a god out of anything they desire even themselves. Some people want a lawless god, that god does not exist. Have you ever bowed down to another god? If so, you have broken this one.

3) You shall not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Have you ever said, “God Damn” or use Jesus Christ like you would say a four-letter curse word? If you have even once then you took the name which is above every name, the name of the one who gives you breath and keeps your heart beating and used it as a filth word. If you have done this even once in your life you are a blasphemer and cannot enter heaven.

4) Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy

Whether you worship on Saturday or Sunday, take one day in seven to honor God in His house. Have you kept this?

5) Honor your father and mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you

Have you always implicitly honored your parents? If not, you broke this one as well. When your mom and/or dad tell you to do something you should do it. To disobey is to dishonor them.

6) You shall not murder

Have you ever murdered anyone?
Yet Jesus takes it even further and says in 1 John 3:15 and Matthew 5 that if you have ever had hate against anyone then you have murdered them in your heart. Have you ever hated anyone? If so,
What does that make you? It makes you a murderer.
God judges the inside as well as the outside. “Anyone who hates their brother is a murderer at
heart, and you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.” (1 John 3:15)

7) You shall not commit adultery

Jesus took it even further and said in Matthew 5:27-28 “But I say unto you, that whoever
Of you looks at a woman to lust for, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

It’s vice versa for ladies as well. Have you ever looked at a woman to lust for her? Or vice versa? So what does that make you? An adulterer! No adulterers will go to heaven.

8) You shall not steal

Have you stolen? Ever? Even a piece of small gum? Theft is theft irrespective of value.
Whether it is something large or small that is stolen, it is stealing. Stealing an answer from someone’s test and stealing time from an employer, cheating on taxes, is theft. Have you ever stolen even once? What does that make you?
It makes you a thief. No thieves will enter heaven.

9) You shall not lie!

Lying is wrong. Big lies, small lies, fibs, exaggerations, white lies- they are all lies! God said in Revelation 21:8 “… and all liars shall find their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.” So have you ever lied? What does that make you? It makes you a liar. No liars in heaven.

10) You shall not covet

We covet before we steal. We covet before we commit adultery on another person’s spouse. Coveting opens up the floodgates to sin. Coveting is desiring someone else’s things that don’t belong to you. Have you ever coveted? No coveters in heaven.

After reviewing the Ten Commandments, we may think we aren’t too bad if we have broken a few of them. Hey nobody is perfect. We may have missed the mark, but we think we can try harder. However, the Bible says, “Whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).

The Ten Commandments cannot save us. All it shows us is our true colors. It is the mirror that shows us who we really are when we look into it. If we were honest with each one, you are aware like me that we really fall short of God’s standard of goodness. The inner conscience of our mind is screaming guilty at us. We know it. The most blind of us will admit that man has glaring faults. Let’s be honest, come on! We all have faults. We are forever transgressing against one another. Our real crimes though are against God. The Law only shows us our guilt and no matter what we do, no matter how many good works we do, giving money, helping others, that we are still guilty. It causes us to see our own “goodness” cannot save us. It stops our mouth of justification (Romans 3:19) and prepares the heart for the good news of the Gospel.

One has to see that they are lost. For example: If you’re in the middle of the lake and someone throws you a life preserver, you will look at them and say, “Why are you giving me this?” you see that you’re not in danger so you obviously don’t need the life preserver. But if you’re sucking down 12 gallons of water then you realize that you are drowning and you will grab onto that life preserver with all your might and you will not let go no matter what. You see the 10 Commandments just show us we are guilty and our absolute need for a Savior.

When we judge ourselves against man’s standards, many of us we come up reasonably clean. Adolf Hitler’s life, for instance, makes most of us look almost pure. However, when we use the Law of God as our measure, we see that we are not as clean as we think. As we look at God’s
Perfect standard then we see our own righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of a holy God.
Then we understand that no amount of good works we do could ever be “good enough” to
Attain the righteousness we need to enter heaven. We need someone to stand in the gap for us, to plead our case and be our advocate. Someone that is Not tainted like we are and that person was God manifest in the flesh- Jesus Christ.

Revolting Natives Illustration

An African chief got wind of a mutiny being planned in his tribe. In an effort to quash the revolt, he called the tribe together and warned that anyone caught in the rebellion would be given one hundred lashes without mercy. A short time later, to the Chief’s dismay he found that his own brother was behind the revolt. He was trying to overthrow him so he could be head of the tribe. Everyone thought the chief would break His word. But being a just man. He had his brother tied to a tree. Then he had himself tied next to him and took the one hundred lashes across his own bare flesh in his brother’s place. In doing so he not only kept his word (Justice was done) but he also demonstrated his great love and forgiveness toward his brother. This is what Christ did for us. He took upon Himself our sins. The sinless Savior dying in our place because of His great love for humanity and His desire to save us.

So my question to you is: If you died right now, where would you go? If you know that you’re not ready then that should concern you. The bible says in Mark 1:15 “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” He didn’t say go to church or to belong to a specific denomination, or be a member of a church. He said “You must be born again.” Salvation is a relationship with God, not trusting in our good works or what we have done, but what He has done for us on the Cross.

God commands us to repent and trust in the Savior. What is the value of your life? Will it matter in 150 years if you made one million dollars, drove a convertible Mercedes, graduated from college, played in the Final Four? Will this matter in 150 years? No! The only thing that will be important is whether you knew the God who created you, because you will be in one of two destinations forever, Heaven or Hell.

You don’t have the promise of tomorrow. What is your life? It is but a vapor, Here today and gone tomorrow. Think about those people in the 9/11 World Trade Center. Were they ready to meet God that morning? They didn’t know they would die, if they did- then they would not have come to work? Death will not consult your day planner, it will come at you when you least expect it and then you will be in eternity forever living with the consequences of your actions. Responsibility is upon you as a person. Are you personally ready to meet God if you were to die right now?

IN SUMMARY
Do you know that God loves people? He is good, kind, and loving, But He also is holy, pure and righteous as well, and will by no means clear the guilty. God’s word says He loves people.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus) that whoever believes in Him should not perish (hell) but have everlasting life (heaven).” –John 3:16

“For He came to seek and to save that which is lost”- Matthew 18

“God is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance”- 2 Peter 3:9


These are just a few of the many in the Bible that God loves people. This concept, that God hates people, that God is an angry God and is always full of wrath is wrong. He is a loving God and Father. He gave up what was most precious to Him – His son! Jesus died on the cross and took on Himself our punishment. He was buried and rose from the dead on the third day. That is why He died. If we can get to heaven on our good works then Christ died in vain. Our works can’t save us. Going to church can’t save us, going to Mass or Catechism can’t save us!
We need someone to stand in the gap for us and that is what Christ did for us. He paid the fine for us in the courtroom. He is loving and merciful and wants to save men and women.

He can give you a brand new start. A new heart with new desires. We can be forgiven of our guilt, shame and sins. He can wipe out your past and give you a brand new beginning.
You don’t need to go to a priest for forgiveness. You don’t even need to be in church. Being saved isn’t about going to church, turning over a new leaf, or going to a specific denomination, or being confirmed. Salvation is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. He does the work in you.

My testimony is this: I thought I was pretty good. I never killed anyone. I did the usual of sleeping around, getting drunk and partying. I served the devil and worshipped his ways.
I had some money, a good job, women, whatever I really wanted, but I was empty inside and hated myself. I felt guilty for all the wrong things I did in my life and tried to cover it up with good things or going to church or religion. I tried to conceal my guilt and shame. It seemed as if I was always reaching for the wind. I saw myself for who I really was. I tried to turn over a new leaf, studied after religions, tried to be a good person and kind to others, but I was lost and needed to be saved we all do. God can forgive you for even the worst crimes. I walked away from God and went after witchcraft and Satanism about 3 years after I got saved. I loved God with a passion and won many to Christ, but because someone hurt me good I blamed God. It wasn’t His fault. I went deep into sin and hated myself. I thought “How could God ever want me back, or God must hate me cause I willfully walked away, turned others away and am so deep in sin” The devil will plant those lies in our ears. I got sick of chasing the wind and called out to God and asked forgiveness. He forgave me. I didn’t feel forgiven but I was because it came from my heart. He loved me even when I didn’t love Him back-amazing! Like the prodigal son coming home and the father ran to hug him, God wants you home and loves you even as you are away. Come home to the Lord for He cares for you. We all need Him.

Everyone from priests, pastors, to you and me. We all fall short of God’s grace. Nobody in the world is good enough because we all fall short and have faults.
If you were honest with yourselves with the Ten Commandments then your conscience is screaming at you, “GUILTY! GUILTY! And we know we are! We know we will stand before God and be guilty. But God provided a way for us through Christ Jesus. He took our punishment on the Cross, He paid our debt and we can be saved if we trust in Him and believe in our hearts that He died for our sins and ask Him to forgive us from our hearts. It’s not just saying it from my lips or going to church. It’s believing from my heart that this is true.
One day I asked Jesus into my heart. I asked Jesus into my life from my heart and I meant it! “Lord come into my heart and change me, I want You to give me a new life”

He came in that instant and saved me. I didn’t have a vision or bunch of feelings. But I knew something was different. All my guilt and shame were gone, as if I never had it. It blew me away, and I cried because I knew Jesus changed my life. I had a peace that I could not explain!
This is what God has done in me and can do for you. He loves you and says that you’re precious. No matter how far you have strayed or how many bad things you’ve done. God can set you free, save you and give you a brand new start if you will let Him into your heart.

It’s so simple. Pray to God and pray from your heart in your own words something like this:

Dear God, I’m a sinner. I fall so short of Your standard and know I have sinned against You.
I need You to intervene in my life. I confess to You I have sinned and ask You to forgive me.
Jesus please come into my heart and save me. By your grace I will turn from my ways and Live daily for You. Thank you for saving me, in Jesus name, amen.

Then daily read the bible. Start with the book of John and obey what you read. Find a good Bible believing church that believes that Jesus is God and the Bible is the final authority. A good church that loves people for who they are and not what they wear or look like. Talk to God daily and talk to Him like you would your best friend and share your thoughts and feelings with Him.
(This is called prayer).
He cares for you; you are precious in His eyes. He loves you whether you love Him or not. He wants to touch your life and give you a purpose for living. Don’t say “Oh what a wonderful thing He did in James” that isn’t what it’s about; It’s what Jesus can do in your life if you will only let Him in. He cares for you. Please give serious consideration to what you have just read and act on it today. Jesus has these words for you if you respond to his invitation:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and open the door, I will come into him, and will dine with him, and he will dine with Me.” (Revelation 3:20).

Email me with any comments or questions or if you got saved. Kjellin23@msn.com
James Kjellin. ?

“THIS I BELIEVE” BY CHARLES T. CRABTREE” PAGES 6-12; 24-27
“RAY COMFORT WEBSITE” WWW.RAYCOMFORT.COM



MY RESPONSE:

I'm responding to this as I go along, so if i repeat, or sound unorganized... uh... just deal with it.

It’s been said that the worst thing that you could ever tell a person is, “You are wrong.”
I don't entirely agree. When debating topics such as religion or politics, its understood that no one person has perfect information, therefore "You're wrong" is just an opinion. That's just my opinion.

CAN YOU PROVE THERE IS A GOD?

Sure you can. Every time you see a Nike shirt you know it had a creator. Etc etc etc.

This is specious reasoning. It is far from PROOF. The two are not necessarily equatable. It can be proven that the shirt had a creator. There are other possibilities for the existence of the earth that you eliminate simply by drawing an immediate conclusion from this lazy reasoning.

THE BIBLE HAS CHANGED DOWN THROUGH THE AGES!

It really has not.

You might be right. I can't say I know much about this subject; I can't say it is terribly pertinent either. However, it has been translated, and it is undeniable that small things change through that process.

PROVE TO ME THAT THE BIBLE IS SUPERNATURAL!

I'll concede that there are Biblical prophecies that have come to pass. Does this mean the "prophets" are divine? I do not think so. Anyone could predict that kingdoms will fall. It is a natural cycle of civilization.

I'll add that you are using the dreaded tactic of self reference. You can't say the book of Micah said Jesus would be born in Bethlehem and the Gospel confirmed it. Self-reference. You did this because you were under the assumption that the Bible is the word of God and true. So instead of investigating to find the truth you investigated to prove yourself right. That's not the way to go about it.

I might also point out all of the Biblical prophecies that have failed or have not yet been fulfilled. Isa. 20:4, Isa. 29:17, Jer. 9:11, Isa. 60:19-20, Zeph. 1:2-3, 18,
http://www.religionisbullshit.com/falseprophecies.htm might also be of some help.

PROVE TO ME THE BIBLE IS INSPIRED?

For a moment, let us imagine that God had nothing to do with the Bible.
Check.
The book will span 1,500 years in time.
Yep.
The book will be written in three languages by men from as varied professions as that of a shepherd, a king, a soldier, a doctor, a tax collector, and a farmer.
Uh-huh.
At the same time, there must be continuity without collusion and the authors must speak out on every major moral subject without contradicting each other.
STOP! Hold it right there. There are scores of contradictions in the Bible. These range anywhere from very important topics to tiny details. An example of the former: God forbids killing: Ex. 20:13; God commands killing: Ex 32:27. Jesus judges - John 5:22,27, 9:39, 2 Corinthians 5:10
Jesus does not judge - John 8:15, 12:47.

It goes on and on. Here's another helpful website:
http://home.freeuk.net/jesusmyth/page5.htm

Imagine people from varied walks of life writing a book without collaboration and without any major conflicts!

I need not address the major conflicts issue again, but I'll tell you why its easy to believe otherwise. Do you know who compiled the Bible? A handful of Jewish guys who read through texts the number of which is unknown. They decided what went into the Bible. They threw hundreds of texts out. These are now apocryphal texts. These were written by similar people at the same time. The subjects were the same pretty much. Why did they not make the cut? You'd have to ask the handful of Jews that put it together.

I would advise you not to claim the Bible is perfect or infallible. You are just setting yourself up to be knocked over. Whether or not you believe Jesus is God, if you make the claim the Bible is without conflict, people will prove you wrong.

We are not discussing a good percentage of accuracy, but 100 percent accuracy.

Not if we're talking about the same Bible.

Some examples of Prophecies and their fulfillment hundreds of years later...
Once again you delve into self-reference. This is not reasonable. Why can't the Bible come up with prophecies that everyone can believe without a doubt are true? Shouldn't all of them be like this?

Jesus did things only God could do. He forgave sins.
Only God can do that? Seems to me most people possess that ability. Interesting theory, but I disagree with you on that.
He healed people in compassion such as blindness, the lame, leprosy, fevers, He raised the dead- Lazarus was dead four days and put in a tomb. Jesus raised him from the dead.
This guy sure sounds great. But I wouldn't call him a savior for healing half a dozen people 2000 years ago. We got blind people now. Give us another Jesus, GOD! I'm sure they'd love to be able to see.

In all seriousness, I can't see this as much more than a myth. A mystical healer that claimed to be the son of God? One that is only referenced to in the Bible? This doesn't stand out as more credible than any other mythology I've ever heard of. Maybe I should get it out of the way and say it now: The Bible isn't good enough.

Jesus said that only God is good. The only “goodness,” or righteousness that the believer has - comes from Jesus Christ.
Jesus said a lot of things. It just strikes me as strange that if Jesus deals out the "goodness", why is he so stingy about it? If it were up to me, I'd hand out every last drop of "goodness" to all my people. (Or pound, or inch, etc.) In my opinion, many people are devoid of "goodness." However I see no correlation between their beliefs and their "goodness." There are good believers and bad believers; there are good nonbelievers and bad nonbelievers. I don't see a pattern.

IT’S INTOLERANT TO SAY THAT JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD!

Hmmmm. I can't say I've ever heard this one come out the mouth of a nonbeliever. Sounds like something a religious person would say. I don't believe it is intolerant. I just think it is foolish. But altogether, it doesn't matter to me that you believe something about Jesus. I just don't think it gives you license to get in peoples' faces and tell them they're going to hell for their opposing views. Equally dishonorable is forcing your views on other people.


I DON’T BELIEVE IN HELL.
Neither do I.
GOD IS LOVE AND COULD NOT SEND PEOPLE THERE.
If I believed that God exits, I probably would disagree.
AND IF THERE IS ONE, I DON’T MIND GOING, BECAUSE ALL MY FRIENDS WILL BE THERE!
Ha. Noooo. I disagree.
Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain once sang a song with these lyrics: “Where do young kids go when they die, they don’t go to heaven with the angels and fly, they go to the Lake of Fire and fry then come out on the fourth of July.”
First of all its a Meat Puppets song. And you have the lyrics wrong: "young kids" is actually "bad folks." "don't go to heaven with the angels and fly" is "don't go to heaven where the angels fly." And "then come out on" is actually "don't see 'em again 'til". How did you mess that up? They don't even sound the same.

The slow witted criminal thinks that the electric chair is a place he can put up his feet for a while and relax.
Hmm. Somehow I think the population defined by the term "slow witted criminal" is quite small.

If a judge in Florida turns a blind eye to the unlawful dealings of the Mafia, if he sees their murderous acts and deliberately turns the other way, is he a good judge or a bad judge?

This comparison has a few holes in it. Firstly, where's the justice in eternal punishment for finite sins? The only exemption is being a Christian. Your logic: Saved sinners go to heaven; unsaved good people are tortured forever for not praying to Jesus. Interesting judgment system.

Where is hell by the way? No one has really answered this. The belief in hell is quite strange. People can claim to have seen God and its possible that they can convince people. But no one has ever claimed to have seen hell (except for maybe the poet Dante). Why? Once your there, your there. How convenient. An unprovable, invisible realm in a different dimension exists that in which people hold this steadfast absolute belief. That doesn't add up.

“punished” merely with eternal sleep.

This was the belief of hell for centuries. The belief in hell has evolved (excuse my language) over the past three millennia. The History Channel had an intriguing 2 hour special entitled "Angels: Good or Evil?" This documents the change in beliefs about angels, demons, heaven, hell, etc. You might be surprised how different Christianity was over time. Hell is viewed differently; angels and demons are viewed differently. I suggest you see that episode, its on every so often, if you have the History channel.

He killed a husband and wife in Acts chapter 5 because they told one lie.
GLORY!
He has the power to cast body and soul into hell
GLORY!
That will put the “fear of God’ in you which is the beginning of wisdom
Fear of God = wisdom. Hmph. I disagree.

Your merciful/wrathful God sounds a touch hypocritical. Maybe he isn't perfect. Or maybe he's just the creation of ancient Jewish philosophers spanning over a thousand years. I know which one I think it is.

If we Repent and believe in the Gospel then God in His mercy will forgive us and grant us eternal life in heaven with Him.
So what's to stop me from repenting on my death bed? Any scripture say that's wrong? Hey, wait! That's a great idea! No matter what I do, if I repent, I'll be saved. Sweet deal! I'll be forgiven for being a terrible person and just repenting at the last second. Awesome.

Some people don’t get past “square one” because they trust in their feelings rather than God.
I'll give them a handshake and say, "Good for you. You trusted your instincts instead of ancient mythology."

Any person who loves and obeys Jesus will begin a supernatural relationship with Him and the Father. That does not mean you will hear voices or see visions.
No! Of course not! That would be too easy. Using actual human senses ain't God's style, right? He prefers to reveal himself through...um...he reveals himself.... through.....
God will instead make you a new person from within. He will send His Spirit to live within you. You will have a new heart with new desires. You will suddenly become conscious of God and His creation. The Bible will open up to you and become a living Word, and you will have an inner witness that you are saved, that your name is
written in heaven, and that death has lost its sting. (1 John 5:10-12).
Right! Yea! That's it. When you accept Jesus you feel NEW and you have a spirit living inside you. I could convince any kid a spirit is living inside them. That's cheating. You need to use REAL things to prove the existence of something, not made up or extraordinarily vague stuff.

GOD MADE ME LIKE THIS! SIN IS HIS FAULT!

I highly doubt any atheist, agnostic, etc. has ever said that. That's something to address in a sermon, not a discussion with nonbelievers.

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT RELIGIONS?

It has been said that “religion” is man’s way of trying to deal with guilt.
I disagree. There are many factors that go into a person's need for religion. Fear of death, lack of knowledge about world around us (ie space, origin of life, planet, the unexplainable). Those two are the main ones. Also cultural influence is what makes them grow. I think guilt has little to do with it.

And yea, the rest of this didn't answer its initial question. Really it just went on this anti-Catholic rant. It seems to me that if your God exists, and his existence can be determined by anyone, why didn't Christianity spring up independently in, say, China, South America, etc.? Why are their beliefs so much different? Why did not God reveal himself to anyone outside of the middle east? It seems more likely that this is just a regional religious belief that managed to spread across the globe; its not truth that anyone can ascertain.

WHY IS THERE SUFFERING? THAT PROVES THERE IS NO GOD!
I don't think it disproves the existence of God. I think it shows that if god exists, he is one of the following: He does not possess the power to stop suffering. He doesn't care that people are suffering. He wants people to suffer. Refer to the riddle of Epicurus: Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Matthew 24: Good job Jesus. You correctly predicted that there would be war and earthquakes in the future. Occurrences that happen on a regular basis. He also predicted that a building that humans built would not stand forever. Hey. I'm making a prediction right now. Its gonna rain a lot somewhere. Birds are gonna migrate. Check back in a few years, if I'm right, clearly I am divine and worthy of praise.

So the signs for the second coming of Christ are: Famine, war, arrogance, boastfulness, earthquakes, etc. Seems these have always been going on. ANYTIME NOW, JESUS!

The Bible tells us that God cursed the earth because of Adam’s transgression.
Your just God prevails again. Punishment upon an entire species based on the actions of two people. If God is all knowing, didn't he know that Adam would take the apple? So in a sense did he not set Adam up for failure? Therefore he doomed mankind before he created Adam? GLORY be to the Just Lord!

In the beginning, God created man perfect and he lived in a perfect world, without suffering.
I have never, in my mature years, been able to see the creation story as more than mythology. It is so similar to those of any other ancient culture. What makes the Christian creation story more plausible than the Greek, Ojibwe, Egyptian, Norse, or Chinese creation stories? Does it hold more water? No. It is just as silly as all the rest. All ancient cultures had their own creation stories. Yours just happened to survive beyond the middle ages.

...insatiable appetite for chocolate has caused his face to break out.
Chocolate causes acne? Thank you so much! I'd been using all these creams and junk, but I had no idea it was the chocolate bars and coco puffs. Thank you thank you thank you thank you!

Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis... Parkinson’s disease and a host of other diseases
Not to get too far off topic, but I found it ironic that you mentioned the diseases that can be cured by stem cells: a process that the church opposes. Sorry to get off topic, just thought I'd point that out.

In response to your chocolate bar analogy, I believe there is some truth to it. The message I got was we (as humans) are responsible for the bad things that happen in the world. I whole-heartedly agree. However you think the cure is praying to God for forgiveness and being religious. I think the cure (if one exists) can be found through practical means.

RELIGION HAS CAUSED MORE WARS THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN HISTORY!
Really? I'm being absolutely serious. Is that an exaggeration or the truth? I know religion is to blame for MANY wars, but MOST? I can believe it, but I'm not sure. This, however, is not a proof of Christianity being wrong; it is a proof of Christianity (or any fundamentalist religion) is damaging to society.

You argue that some who claim to be Christians are not. I'll buy that. At least you didn't do the disgraceful thing this other guy did when I was debating with him. He tried to make the case that Hitler was an atheist, thereby putting the blood of 6 million innocent humans onto the hands of atheists. I fervently believe that whether YOU describe Hitler as a Christian or not, his actions were still on behalf of Christianity. Therefore it is the doctrines of Christianity that are to blame.

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DENOMINATIONS?

I disagree with you. I see the splintered church as a sign of a wrong religion. Its not the people's fault. They all base their beliefs on the Bible. The Bible is a shifty book. There are multiple ways to interpret it, it causes mass confusion. If the Bible were perfect, then the reading of it should yield equal results. The results are far from equal.

Once again you felt it necessary to delve into anti-Catholic ramblings.

The problem with us humans is that we don’t see our need of a Savior.
I disagree in two ways. I think people DO feel a need for a savior. We like the idea of not dying. We like the idea that people who do bad things will eventually pay for it. We like the idea that there is something bigger and stronger than us that can protect us. Secondly I think if your belief were true, it would not be a problem. I think humans can operate quite well without an imaginary magical being telling us what to do through an ancient collection of texts. A collection of texts, more specifically, that has caused mass confusion, war, and political control does not sound conducive to a thriving earth community.

We even have known in our hearts that God exists.
That is an unsafe and indefensible assumption.

Nobody can say they do not know that it’s wrong to murder, steal, commit adultery, or lie. That knowledge is written in bold print in our heart
I believe it is just a fabric that keeps us alive. If humans had no qualms about killing each other, how would we have survived?

Do you consider yourself a good person? (Go ahead and answer)
Suuuure.

God sees your thought life. He made the mind so He can surely see what He made. Nothing is hidden from His all seeing eye.
You're making this God of yours out to be a real creep.

1)You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me!
Yup. Probably broke that one.
2)You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water below, you shall not bow down nor serve them.
Uuuuh. I don't know. Maybe.
3) You shall not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
Do it all the time, Godblessit.
4) Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
Does sleeping til noon and not doing anything constructive count? No? Ok, I've broken that one.
5)Honor your father and mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you
I typically obey this. I'm not perfect.
6) You shall not murder
Never killed anybody. High five.
7)You shall not commit adultery
NA. I've never been married.
8) You shall not steal
Meh. I've stolen the occasional can of pop or snicker's bar. Nothing more than a buck or two.
9)You shall not lie!
I have never lied in my entire life.
10)You shall not covet
I don't covet that much. I'm pretty satisfied with what I got for the most part.

“Whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).

Somehow I think it would behoove you to NOT put in the Bible passages that make the Bible look crazy. That's just my advice. Take it or leave it.

Once again, you successfully exemplify your just God. Someone breaks a commandment once equals someone filling a lifetime of broken commandments. Yea.

The 10 commandments? These are the rules we're supposed to live by? Its a bit of a letdown for me. There might be fewer problems in the world if your Lord took some more time to make a more concise code of laws. Hell, Hamurabi made about 150 laws, and he was mortal. What gives? I think the 10 commandments contain things that are not necessary in today's society (1, 2, 3, 4, 10 mainly). There are useful ones, and ones that are actually laws now. But I'll follow the laws of my country. I see the punishment for those crimes more evident than the punishment for coveting my neighbor's ass.

The Ten Commandments cannot save us. All it shows us is our true colors.
Once again this perfect Lord of yours sets his imperfect creation up for failure. Eternal torture is the sentence violating rules he knows you cannot live up to.

Then he had himself tied next to him and took the one hundred lashes across his own bare flesh in his brother’s place. In doing so he not only kept his word (Justice was done) but he also demonstrated his great love and forgiveness toward his brother. This is what Christ did for us. He took upon Himself our sins.
So two people are being punished for one sin? Was it necessary for Christ to die for our sins if so many of us would end up paying for them anyway? If by chance I die and there IS a god, (specifically the one of which you speak) I'll plead double jeopardy because he already punished someone for my sins. Wasn't that the point of Jesus?

So my question to you is: If you died right now, where would you go?
I don't know. I guess that depends on if I want to be cremated or burried. So, to answer your question: Either into the ground or into an incenorator.

The bible says in Mark 1:15 “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
So the Bible instructs it's readers to believe in the Bible. I'm thinking I'd better start doing what it says! :D

God commands us to repent and trust in the Savior.
Yet the evidence of the existence of this God of whom you speak is rather vague. Its not good enough for me. All you have is this ancient text and the world around us. You don't have any science; you don't have any proof. Its all speculation. Its conceived by the same reasoning that created every other religion in the world that you so confidently claim is wrong.

What is the value of your life?
A bajillion dollars.

Will it matter in 150 years if you made one million dollars, drove a convertible Mercedes, graduated from college, played in the Final Four? Will this matter in 150 years? No!
NO! Oh. Uh. You answered that one for me.

The only thing that will be important is whether you knew the God who created you, because you will be in one of two destinations forever, Heaven or Hell.
Somehow I get the feeling that won't matter eiteher. I'll be dead. Probably.

What is your life? It is but a vapor, Here today and gone tomorrow.
A better simile might have been "Life is but a Brittany Spears marriage. Here today, gone tomorrow." Sorry that was the best I could do.

Think about those people in the 9/11 World Trade Center.
Oh goody. More scare tactics from you religious folk. Don't gimme this crap. Your churches live off of people's fear of death. Why make it worse?

Do you know that God loves people? He is good, kind, and loving,
I understand that some people believe that. However the Bible might have something to say about your understanding of God. http://www.religionisbullshit.com/evilgod.htm
I also find it peculiar that God, who is perfect, created imperfect beings. He holds these imperfect beings to unattainable standards and punishes them with eternal suffering for committing crimes he knew they would commit. And the only way out is to worship his son. You can keep on committing these crimes and still go to the magical sky kingdom. This perfect God made up a questionable system.

These are just a few of the many in the Bible that God loves people.
He loves us so much that he will punish us with eternal damnation for not loving him back. Truly this is a loving God. I've heard of tough love, but that takes the cake.

This concept, that God hates people, that God is an angry God and is always full of wrath is wrong.
Not so, according to the Bible. Luke 19:27. Judges 11: 30-40. http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/godbible.html#children here's a whole bunch of examples of your "loving" god straight from the Bible.

He gave up what was most precious to Him – His son!
Here's another thing that makes me think: Would a perfect being have needs? Why would a perfect being create something. To make him happier? Happier than what? His infinite happiness? Why would this perfect God have emotions? Emotions are a sign of something that is imperfect. If you read nothing else I give links to, read this! http://www.vanallens.com/exchristian/2003_02_06_archive.php

If punishment of a sin can be deffered to another person, why his son? Why not some loser? Why not satan? Isn't Jesus in heaven? If Jesus is in heaven it proves that someone can be punished for their sins and still go to heaven. Is this wrong?

Going to church can’t save us, going to Mass or Catechism can’t save us!
I'm not convinced, so don't bother trying to keep me from being a Catholic. If you must, you can brag that you've prevented me from being a Catholic. Not that I ever would have been otherwise.

He is loving and merciful and wants to save men and women.
When I think of the word "merciful," the term "eternal damnation" does not come to mind. Maybe I'm just weird. If he WANTS to save us, why doesn't he just do it? He's all powerful, he can do whatever he WANTS, right? I still find it absurd, however, that a perfect being would have desires, emotions, etc.

He can give you a brand new start.
A brand new start of glorious mind control, beautiful complacency and holy mental stagnancy.

A new heart with new desires
I think I prefer my desires, such as: happiness, love, fun, success, etc. over your desires: not being thrown into an inescapable torture chamber for eternity by your loving and merciful creator.

You don’t even need to be in church. Being saved isn’t about going to church, turning over a new leaf, or going to a specific denomination, or being confirmed.
So why does it benefit you that I become a Christian? You say I don't need to go to church. Why spend your time converting people if you don't benefit? I can see debating with people, I enjoy that. But this letter doesn't come across as debate material. If it was, you'd be proposing questions that I would have to answer. That's how it works. So what is it, do you get brownie points with God by converting people? Do you get a better shot at getting into heaven? I thought all you had to do was believe Jesus is your savior. After that you can just do whatever. I'm truly confused.

I did the usual of sleeping around, getting drunk and partying. I served the devil and worshipped his ways.
So the devil is really just a party animal. What's with the bad rap of being the source of all evil? Sounds like an all right guy to me.

I had some money, a good job, women, whatever I really wanted, but I was empty inside and hated myself.
This is where you turned wrong. You should have looked for practical help instead of religious indoctrination. The only reason you feel better now is because you told yourself you would, or others told you that you would.

I tried to conceal my guilt and shame. It seemed as if I was always reaching for the wind. I saw myself for who I really was.
If you truly felt guilty why did you decide to talk to an invisible god? Wouldn't talking to an actual person who can respond to you and with whom you can hold a conversation be more beneficial?

God can forgive you for even the worst crimes.
So what's the point of following rules if all you have to do is say you're sorry and that you love Jesus and you can go to heaven?

I walked away from God and went after witchcraft and Satanism about 3 years after I got saved.
People have different definitions of these practices. You should be more specific. What some one may call Satanism others may call new age medicine. I don't know what you did. If it is pertinent, you should tell me.

“How could God ever want me back, or God must hate me cause I willfully walked away, turned others away and am so deep in sin”
What despot would ever turn away a loyal adversary?

He forgave me.
How do you know this?

I didn’t feel forgiven but I was because it came from my heart.
So based on none of your 5 senses did you ascertain that you were saved.

He loved me even when I didn’t love Him back-amazing!
Here's what I gather from Christianity: God loves you no matter what. However, your destiny (heaven or hell) is based on whether or not you love God. So why should God's love be a factor? If my destiny is solely based on my love of God or lack thereof, why should I care what God thinks?

In a nutshell: God loves you. He loves you when he sends you to his torture chamber for eternity; he loves you when he lets you into his magical sky kingdom. I don't believe it.

Like the prodigal son coming home and the father ran to hug him, God wants you home and loves you even as you are away. Come home to the Lord for He cares for you. We all need Him.
I feel fine without him. In fact, I was a Christian for 14, 15 years. I feel incredibly better than I did back then. My mind is free. I am no longer mentally oppressed by the church, the Bible and my imaginary big brother. I no longer act upon fear of eternal damnation, or ponder the psyche of a strange God. I feel great without the suppression of Christianity. You should try it. I urge you to free your mind.


Everyone from priests, pastors, to you and me. We all fall short of God’s grace.
Everyone fails to live up to the perfect god's unattainable standards. We are truly horrible things.

Nobody in the world is good enough because we all fall short and have faults.
God created us in his image but decided to leave out the whole being perfect part. He knew Adam would disobey him and that he would have to punish all of humanity for one man's disobedience. He knows were imperfect and he choses to send us to the pits of hell for not bowing down to him and his son.

We know we will stand before God and be guilty.
YOU believe you will stand before God. I believe my body will rot in the ground.

But God provided a way for us through Christ Jesus.
So your logic is the most heinous offender of God's laws is forgiven just by asking Jesus and a petty offender is sent into the firey depths of hell to suffer unending pain. I don't see how you can claim your God is JUST. Asking for forgiveness frees you from every sin you've ever commited. This is not just.


One day I asked Jesus into my heart. I asked Jesus into my life from my heart and I meant it! “Lord come into my heart and change me, I want You to give me a new life”
What makes you think this changed anything? Was there any quantifiable difference? Did you consider that any turn around in your life might be attributed to something else? Perhaps merely convincing yourself that you were saved? It sounds like that's all that you did since you didn't notice any difference with any of your 5 senses.

He came in that instant and saved me. I didn’t have a vision or bunch of feelings. But I knew something was different.
Knew based on what?

All my guilt and shame were gone, as if I never had it. It blew me away, and I cried because I knew Jesus changed my life. I had a peace that I could not explain!
If you tell yourself enough that Jesus saved you, you'll begin to believe it.

This is what God has done in me and can do for you. Fortunately, I was not driven to religion by my guilt and shame. I was driven away from it by my common sense and free thought. Now that you have a clear head, I advise you to examine your beliefs. Find out why Christianity became the largest religion in the world. Look for evidence of a God. Find reasons for the inconsistencies, contradictions, and wrong statements made in the Bible. Look at why you became a Christian. Was it because you saw evidence of a God and chose to investigate it? Or was it because you felt bad and some religious folk opened their door to you?

He loves you and says that you’re precious. Will he say that when he condemns me to an eternity in hell?

No matter how far you have strayed or how many bad things you’ve done. God can set you free, save you and give you a brand new start if you will let Him into your heart.
I leave an open invitation for your magical deity to demonstrate his existence to me. I have found no evidence of a God, but if some were to appear, I would not ignore it. But I was looking for a long time and found nothing.

It’s so simple. Pray to God and pray from your heart in your own words something like this:

Funny. I read your prayer aloud twice and nothing happened. Prayer is strange. One will get the same results praying to a pineapple as they would praying to an invisible deity. Yet people still believe it is affective. I don't get it.

Then daily read the bible. Start with the book of John and obey what you read.
I'm supposed to do whatever the Bible tells me to do? Uh-oh....

Mark 7:10 Deuteronomy 21:20-21 Exodus 21:15 Stone to death your disobedient children

Deuteronomy 22:28-29. A rapist must marry his victim.

Mark 10:21 Give away everything you have and serve Jesus.

Deuteronomy 13 commands you to kill anyone who tries to turn you away from Christianity. Oops. Maybe I shouldn't have pointed that one out.

Numbers 15:32 Exodus 35:2 Death sentence or divinely commanded murder for working on the Sabbath.

Numbers 1:51, 3:10, 18:10 Kill any stranger entering your temple

Leviticus 20:27 Kill anyone who attempts to communicate with the dead.

Leviticus 21:9 Burn to death prostitutes.

Acts 5:1-11 Death sentence for lying about donations to the church.

Exodus 22:18 Burn the witch! Burn the witch!

Deuteronomy 20 and 22:13-21 Stone to death any person having sex before marriage.

Deuteronomy 22:5 Leviticus 19:19 Leviticus 21:5 Deuteronomy 14:1 Isaiah 3:16-23
Isaiah 3:24 These passages tell us what hairstyles and jewelry are sinful.

I think our society would be much better off if we DIDN'T follow these commandments.

Find a good Bible believing church that believes that Jesus is God and the Bible is the final authority.
OH! OH! You're just ITCHING to tell me not to be a Catholic. I can just tell.

A good church that loves people for who they are and not what they wear or look like.
Oh, you mean like the ones that condemned interracial marriage?

Talk to God daily
I'm glad you said talk TO God daily, not WITH.

He loves you whether you love Him or not
But apparently that doesn't matter; the only thing that determines if I go to hell or heaven is my decision. So his feelings towards me are irrelevant, yet you continuously remind me of that.


In conclusion, I'd like to congratulate you. You put together a rather concise, well organized written case for Christianity. You did the best you could with the material given. Unfortunately the Bible is deeply flawed and Christianity is a weak case to defend. In that sense you failed to convince me of anything, but I feel you put it all together quite well.

Now that I have taken the time to respond to your questions and objections, I hope you will take the time to respond to one I might write. I can't promise I'll make one this week, but I hope to put together all my beliefs into a concise written work that you can read and respond to.

I'd openly welcome your responses to my responses, however short or long.

Thank you for this mentally stimulating debate.

-Ben
revmouse at rome.com

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