The Reason for God
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03-08-2015, 11:48 PM
RE: The Reason for God
(03-08-2015 01:13 PM)jennybee Wrote:  Chapter 2:

You are right, many Christians believe that in order to be an atheist, you must be pissed at God for some reason or you enjoy sinning freely or you are a bad, immoral person.

Keller: “If you have a god great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn't stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have (at the same moment) a god great and transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue.” page 25

Good in the world, bad in the world--God did it. Very typical Christian thinking. Nothing happens without God’s involvement--including some pretty awful shit. I really hate when Christians say there is a reason why a supposedly *all loving* being allows pain and suffering in the world. If they took God out of things, they would see the world looks exactly as one would expect from a lack of involvement from a supernatural being.

I do agree with Keller's statement that belief can help you through loss (in the sense that it provides comfort--albeit imaginary comfort). One of the ladies I work with told me she bought a magic dragon for her granddaughter. I asked why it had to be a *magic* dragon and she said because it helped her granddaughter get to sleep at night believing that it protected her from the dark and monsters. This is really all religion is. So in the sense delusion can bring you comfort in times of fear, sadness etc.--then yes, I guess belief does provide that. Personally, I’d much rather live in reality. Reality is what I find comfort in.

Of course Jesus would have to bear the most pain (it was for all the sins of the world) and Jesus was the martyr of martyrs. It would make sense to weave the myth/legend/story this way. It also would gain more converts.

Keller: “On the cross, Jesus suffered a three-hour long death by slow suffocation and blood loss. As terribly painful as that was, there have been far more excruciating and horrible deaths that martyrs have faces with far greater confidence and calmness.”

Jesus wasn’t very calm when he cried out in a loud voice "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46).

Christianity isn’t as unique as Christians like to think. Jesus was a demigod. Greek mythology, for instance, is full of demigods.

Here’s an interesting summary by Kersey Graves about The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors.

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/biblia...zar_16.htm

I forgot to mention that part about the grieving. Thanks for bringing it up. I also agree with him in that respect. While I don't really see a problem with coping through delusion, I see the problem arising when they say I need to use their delusion to be better. I didn't even mention the part on this chapter on Orthodox Christianity. That would have made the post twice as long for as silly as it was.

Long story short, he says that orthodox christianity is the best way to go however, he either willfully or ignorantly neglets to mention that the christianity of 50, 100, or 1000 years ago was still radically different than it was in the 3rd and 4th century. So whose orthodoxy is he talking about? He never elaborated. My bet is that he left it blank on purpose so that the reader would fill in the blanks with whatever they thought orthodox christianity was which is likely what they already think. It is a very clever but rather dishonest move. IMO.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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09-08-2015, 05:18 AM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2015 06:02 AM by The Organic Chemist.)
RE: The Reason for God
Chapter 3
Christianity is a Straightjacket

Keller starts off the chapter with a few analogies on freedom and how some view the christian faith as a stifling ideal and paints a picture of those who have the view he presented have "no overreaching purpose for which we were created." Again, Keller talking to his audience of already believers. Keller then proceeds with the rubric of apologists by discussing truth and what it really is. Buckle your seatbelts, this is going.....to.....be...........pretty typical actually.

Truth is Unavoidable
Whether this refers to truth with a capital T or not isn't clear but let's mush on.
Quote:However, the objection that all truth is a power play (referring to Foucault's argument) falls prey to the same problem as the objection that all truth in culturally conditioned. If you try to explain away all assertions of truth as one or the other or something else you find yourself in an unattainable position..... {Lewis quote omitted}. If you say all truth claims are power plays, then so is your statement. Chapter 3 pg 37-38

So what about those of us who DON'T think this because it is a completely stupid premise? Since Keller did not define what truth was (which I imagine was on purpose) and judging the tone of the book, he is strictly referring to religious truth claims. What Keller seems to fail to see is that a power play is only a power play if you stand to gain some power from it. If I say that about pastor's truth claims, I stand to gain nothing myself by holding that position so how is that a power play? The pastor absolutely has power to gain by making a truth claim whereas a critic of it may not. I see what he is doing here. He is essentially turning the tables on someone who would criticize him or his people for making unsubstantiated claims. Additionally, unless a non-believer is gnostic, they aren't making any claims of truth.

Keller is committing the typical apologist mistake that someone who does not believe in his god thinks there is no such thing as truth. It is true that water is 1 part oxygen and 2 parts hydrogen. It is true that the earth orbits the sun. Truth has concrete evidence to back it up and he simply has not offered anything to substantiate his own claims.

Community Can't Be Completely Inclusive
Keller opens this section with a crudely constructed strawman on how "some" say that
Quote:Common moral beliefs are not necessary in a "liberal democracy."

Ok Mr. Keller, who are the "proponents" you are referring to so I can see what context they were using this in? What was the motive for them saying or believing this? I would like to see for myself that these people have a poor argument. Oh, wait. There is no reference so I guess I will have to just assume that you are telling the absolute truth. Facepalm

Keller then goes on to discuss what a liberal democracy is in his opinion. This section wasn’t too bad from the standpoint where it made sense what he was trying to say but in the end, he demonstrates through his examples of an LBGT leader changing their mind about homosexuality and another from the anti gay movement adopting a more tolerant view that he must use a simplistic example to describe a complex situation. This, no less immediately after he chastises the “proponents”of liberal democracy (who are still a mystery) for doing the same thing. He then ends this section with one of the best lines so far.
Quote:Any community that did not hold it’s members accountable for specific beliefs and practices wold have no corporate identity and would not really be a community at all. Chap 3 pg 40

So friends, the next time that someone says atheism/agnosticism is a religion, please refer them to Pastor Tim Keller’s book on page 40 where he says that we aren’t a community. For that matter, pantheism and deism likely wouldn’t fall into this category either. It isn’t like Richard Dawkins will come evangelize to me if I for whatever reason, start believing in the supernatural again. The TTA community will not boot me off as long as I start spamming (which is not a belief accountability thing as much as it is annoyance control IMO). I refer to Q, Call of the Wild, Heywood, KC, Alla, and more than I can remember as evidence that there is no accountability in this community in the sense that Keller is using. So I would be curious as to whether Keller would say that atheism is a religion. He has not given any hint to it yet and I am not sure whether he would walk into that. He seems smarter than that.

Regarding Keller’s view on what a community is and the purpose it serves, I again find his understanding rather parochial. I am sure that most of us have heard of the views of the origins of community from an evolutionary standpoint before. I have heard a great explanation from I believe Donald Prothero (don’t quote me on that) but I know there are also others. While I get the angle that he is going for and I certainly get his motive, I find myself once again, seeing this as a way to validate their own practices and not to delve any further.

Christianity isn’t Culturally Rigid

Keller’s scarecrow shows up again immediately:
Quote:Christianity is also reputed to be a cultural straight jacket. It allegedly forces people from diverse cultures into a single iron mold. It is seen as an enemy of pluralism and multiculturalism. In reality, Christianity has been more adaptive (and maybe less destructive) of diverse cultures than secularism and many other worldviews

Keller then goes on to paint a picture of how there is no central christianity and attempts to make the point that unlike all other religions, christianity’s center is not it’s point of origin wheras Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism all still have their same basic geographic center, as if that somehow validates it's teachings and doctrine. This is in contrast to where most christians are today which according to Keller is Africa, Latin America, and Asia. To this last claim, I am wondering whether Keller is lopping Catholics into his category. It is very difficult to know however since he provides absolutely so reference as to where this claim came from.

This section gave me a completely different vibe. When I think about what he is saying, I don’t see this as a strength, but rather a demonstration that CS Lewis was wrong about “Mere Christianity” in the fact that although Keller paints this nice watercolor of the religion, he glosses over the fact (and this is a well documented fact) that a great many christians can’t even agree on the most basic of tenants of their faith (nature of salvation, eschatology, baptism, etc.) and have spent years killing one another over it. How many of us have heard the No True Scotsman of someone in a different denomination not being a True Christian for whatever reason? In addition, his assertion that christianity is tolerant and not culturally destructive makes no sense when you examine history. I am quite certain that the entirety of the Native American population would be offended by what he said. Or the colonialist expansion of the western Europeans and the destruction of the cultures they encountered as they swelled their ranks with converts with the tip of a bayonet. From the cheap seats, it would almost appear that while beliefs the likes of Islam and Hinduism seem to retain their foothold, christianity seems to arrive into a new place, grow by whatever means it can, eventually getting itself largely rejected, and repeating the process elsewhere. Think about it: christianity dominated the Western Europeans for centuries which eventually gave rise to a more secular society. In America, we seem to be going through the same thing. It grew to be a powerful force and now it’s dying a slow death. One does not need to look hard since Barna and Pew have been showing this for the last 20 years. This section is more painting a picture that christianity’s growth is “explosive”without really diving into a more complicated explanation as to why. He never actually gives his opinion as to why.

Keller then does go on to say that the Africans, who already possessed a supernatural heritage, read the bible and then saw that
Quote: Christ was the final solution to their historical longings and aspirations as Africans. Chap 3 pg 42

I am sure that it was much easier pill to swallow as the well-fed, healthy missionary was telling them whatever while they were eating the best meal they had in a long time. I can’t help but wonder whether one denomination is more successful than others since they are so different. Keller then goes on to discuss Lamin Seneh on how secularism is more destructive than christianity which is kind of hard to believe since I have never heard of a secular charity that will tell a culture that ploygamy, premarital relations, sorcery, or whatever are sins and you should not try to sin. This seems like a rather poor argument. I am pretty sure that the christian missionaries will try to undermine the local witch doctor or shaman where someone with Doctors Without Borders probably couldn’t care less about a dance to the rain god. As far as I am aware, they pretty much help and leave them the hell alone. Perhaps DWOB may say that washing their hands may be safer. Additionally, none of this has any measure of meaning because what about Doctors Without Borders, Charity Water, or other secular organizations that are also working in Africa that can only measure their success by lower dead body count and not by the count of converts. There is no way to measure how a secular organization compares to a religious one and I fail to see how one can surmise to say that one is less destructive with no way to compare. Again, can all christian missionaries make this claim? If not, then Keller’s entire position evaporates and since he provides no proof of this, you be the judge.

The next several paragraphs are apocrypha about Keller’s own church which almost read more like an advertisement than a reason for god. Again, if robust, orthodox Christianity (as Keller asserts on page 19 as the way to save the world) is the answer, then WHOSE orthodoxy is the way to go? Keller’s? Westboro? Catholicism (and pre or post Vatican I or II)? Given the differences, they can’t all be the answer. Keller provides absolutely no inclination as to his opinion. Shame really, I was actually interested in hearing what he had to say.

Freedon isn’t Simple

In this section, Keller attempts to lay out that liberation often means constraining and confinement of certain things. He uses a few examples to illustrate this but here is an example:

Quote: If you have a musical aptitude, you may give yourself to practice, practice, practice the piano for years. This is a restriction, a limit on your freedom. There are many other things you won’t be able to do with the time you invest practicing. If you have the talent, however, the discipline and limitation will unleash your ability that would otherwise go untapped.
Chap 3, pg 46

So Keller is essentially saying that if you devote the time to learning an instrument, you are losing the freedom of that time but that can pay large dividends later. So the limitation actually caused you to reach your full potential for that instrument in that regard. He uses a similar analogy with a fish out of water and an undersized football player’s unlikely NLF career. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well here is where he jumps the shark: the moral argument.
Quote:The popular concept-that we should each determine our own morality-is based on the belief that the spiritual realm is nothing at all like the rest of the world. Does anyone believe that?
Chap 3 pg 48

Keller then uses a story about how after Sunday services, he stays to address any question and this question (according to him anyway) often comes up in the hundreds of people who stay (no shit, he really said that, hundreds). He answers the question by a sort of road runner tactic where he points out that if someone is doing something somewhere in the world that the person finds morally wrong, that then means that there is a higher moral authority that is “there”and not defined by us. Personally, I think this is a gross oversimplification. First, for Keller to say that this perspective is “popular” when he only presents it within the confines his congregation is rather a dishonest generalization. The reality is that what we call morality is entirely man-made. It is a remnant of the early glue that held us together through the millennia and gave us a better chance for survival. Is stealing always wrong? No. Is killing always wrong? No. There is no absolute morality. To Keller’s credit, he never uses those words exactly although it is certainly implied. His example only further illustrates that he either does not understand or is intentionally misleading the flock in terms of what morality is and where it comes from.

Love, The Ultimate Freedom, Is More Constraining Than We Might Think

This section surprisingly is pretty well done. It flows and actually makes sense. For the first half. Then Keller goes to god. He dispels the myth that we have to adjust to god and the erroneous idea there is only one way, god’s way. Keller maintains that christianity is radical in that regard because it says that god has adjusted for us.

Quote:While this may be true in other forms of religion and belief in god, it is not true in Christianity. In the most radical way, God has adjusted for us-in his incarnation and atonement.
Chap 3, pg 50

Keller then says that Jesus becoming human and “dying in our place to forgive us.” is god adjusting to us by sacrificing himself to serve us and change for us. There are a few observations I would like to address here.
1)How the fuck does this sound like the god of the bible, OT or NT? Jesus never says anything like this or even alludes to anything like this. Jesus says exactly the opposite. It is god’s way. In the Parable of the Ten Minas, he expressed desire to kill his enemies (Luke 19). In the Parable of the wheat (Matthew 13), he illustrates that those who are not worthy will be burned like the waste. John the Baptist states in Matthew 3 that Jesus is coming with his “winnowing fork to clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into his barn and burning up the in an unquenchable fire.” John 15 has Jesus saying “ I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me and you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers, such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” If you don't forgive someone from the heart, god will treat you horribly (Matthew 18). These are only a couple of the verses I could have used. Although I am sure that I am taking this out of context. Dodgy
2)A sacrifice entails the loss of something. What exactly did god lose here? If he is eternal, then a few days is nothing but an extremely minor inconvenience.
3) What is the adjustment? Like the OT, there is a string attached. Jesus says explicitly that through him is the only way to salvation. That is not adjustment, that is actually a threat considering the concept of hell was purely a NT idea which goes to:
4)The love of god is conditional on you loving him back. Call it separation or what have you. It is still conditional.
5)Let’s not forget the entire reason for all of this sin: the damn fruit tree that god put in the garden to begin with and directed two imperfect beings that he made not to touch it.

I could go on for longer but I just am not in the mood. Keller wraps up this chapter with giving up freedom to love god is the best kind of freedom there is.

Final thoughts on Chap 3
As with chapter 2, Keller does a superb job at addressing some perceptions of unbelief that may be running through the minds of believers. He paints a rather elegant picture of christianity however, one must not delve into what he says too much as the devil is in the details. Surprisingly, he is saying an awful lit about god but is rather scant on the biblical references to things like god adapting to us. Actually, he only uses 1 scripture to support this position and funny enough it was not from Jesus, it was from Paul. Even funnier yet, the word Keller highlights, constrains, to make his case depends on the translation. It is also compels in some translations so the scripture was even out of context no matter what way you look at it. If I was a believer, I would probably really like what Keller has to say. As an atheist, I am still waiting for Keller’s Reason For God.

To quote moms: "I am giving myself a conclusion from all this facepalming"
Thanks for reading.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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09-08-2015, 12:43 PM
RE: The Reason for God
Chapter 3

Very interesting read. Thanks for posting!

I have seen this same type of Christian thinking using different groups from the geographic spectrum who have been “missionized” as a way to explain that people *everywhere* are hungering for the one true God and that it is innate. I think it may have been in one of the books by John Loftus where he does a counterpoint with a Christian. Basically, the christian writer was stating that a tribe was upset that *their* god was not answering them any longer. Then, a missionary came by and shared Jesus with them. Well, guess what, miracles of miracles, they started believing in Jesus. They basically just traded one god (who wasn’t working for another one they thought that was). Based as you say, on the missionary being well-fed, healthy, and “worldly”--their assumption that this person’s god was “working” would be a fair one.
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11-08-2015, 08:17 AM (This post was last modified: 11-08-2015 05:23 PM by The Organic Chemist.)
RE: The Reason for God
Chapter 4
The Church Is Responsible for So much Injustice

If you can’t tell by now, I read the chapter in it’s entirety and then attempt to put my thoughts to paper. The lack of being a writer is painfully apparent sometimes. I bring this up because I wanted to have an overall comment on this chapter. It was one of the most blatant No True Scotsman pieces of literature I have ever read. I have seen the NTS in action in forums or debates before, but never have I seen it put in play in such an egregious manner before. I will get to that shortly.

After bringing up Mark Lilla again (remember from Chap 1 pg 19) Keller lays out the case that there are many people (including Lilla) who come to disbelief because of the behavior of supposed christians are not doing it in such an intellectual method, but rather an aversion to certain people. While I have to agree with Keller from the standpoint that I sometimes find religious people irritating and deluded, it is absolutely not the reason in any way that I don’t believe. In fact, religious people irritate me as much as others who I have no idea what their affiliations are. And after reading literally hundreds of deconversion stories, this is a rather minuscule part of some of them. This is essentially a “you’re mad at god” argument but it is the people one is angry at. Dodgy Pastor Tim, have you ever actually talked to an educated atheist/agnostic? And I don’t mean a guy who never believed or knows nothing about your religion, but a person who actually knows it intimately and can see through your tactics? I would love to see him and Dan Barker talk. He does this for a reason and we’ll see why.

Keller then sets up the table for himself.......

Character Flaws
Keller points out that christians are flawed people and that they are just as likely to fail or screw up as anybody else and even acknowledges that there are irreligious people who lead morally exemplary lives. And if christianity claims to be so good for people, then why aren’t they any better than anyone else? Well actually, this is a fair point Tim. Nice, eh? Don’t get too happy because the reason for the goodness is not them or you, it’s....GOD!!!!!

Quote:This assumption (the aforementioned underlined part)is based on a mistaken belief concerning what christianity teaches about itself. Christian theology has taught what is known as common grace...Quotes James 1:17... This means that no matter who performs it, every act of goodness, wisdom, justice, talent, beauty, is empowered by god.
Chap 4, pg 54

*sigh* And here I was beginning to enjoy this book a tad.
Several problems with this section as I see it (I actually left some out in the interest of time):
1)How does Keller know that it is HIS god and not some other god who is trying to reveal himself? I know that the common thing is the faith BS but think about it: if what Keller says is in fact true, then for centuries god was trying to reveal himself but to no avail. People made up other false gods and whatnot so how is he actually differentiating between his god and a Hindu who says the literally same thing about Brahma? How do we know that it’s not Posiden? Vishnu? Odin? Norrg? Xenu? This is a fundamental thing that Keller does not understand or seem to care to understand: that unless he can provide a reason other than faith, he is nothing more than a performer on stage with an empty hat and claiming there is a rabbit inside because literally every other faith can make the same claim as you with the same voracity. Keller's arrogance on HIS god being the responsible one is so thick you could slice it with a cheesegrater.
2)This literally throws away the entire human experience. I would find it FAR more beautiful that the Moonlight Sonata was penned by a brilliant man instead of that man just being a puppet of a celestial puppeteer. That no act of kindness EVER was the result of a person just being nice. That my love for my wife is not because I thoroughly enjoy her (in more ways than one Wink ), but because of a magicman. This is the most depressing thing he has said so far IMO. Keller’s claim here is tantamount to pissing on the very meaning of being a human. Shame on him.
3)Why is he only giving god the credit for the good? If this is indeed all of god’s creation, then why aren’t Ebola, AIDS, childhood Leukemia, Alzheimer's, and every thing that humans have grown to despise, also fall into Keller’s neat, beautiful sentiment? They are curiously not included although if he were honest, I think he should have tried.

Wondering when we journey to Scotland? Well this is still the setup.

Religion and Violence
Keller quotes Hitchens’ criticism of religion as a “multiplier of tribal suspicion and hatred...” and conceded that he makes a fair point and I think Keller gives Hitchens his due credit to point this out by naming several examples of where Hitch was correct. Keller then says that there are problems with what Hitchens said:

Quote:There are problems with this view however. The Communist Russian, the Chinese, and the Cambodian regimes of the twentieth centuries rejected organized religion and a belief in God
Chap 4, pg 56
Quote:The Marxists made the state into such an absolute, while the Nazis did it to race and blood.
Chap 4, pg 57

While I do not say that I agree with Hitchens on everything he said, I think Keller missed why Hitchens said that religion poisons everything. Hitchens never said in his book (available at fine book stores) that christianity poisions everything he says that religion does. Hitch has (just youtube it) pointed out that the Soviets, the Khmer Rouge, and to a great extent, the Chinese regimes were very much religious in nature and gives many, many reasons why. More interstingly, by Keller’s own definition of religion in the first chapter, these regimes were absolutely religious in nature. A point that still completely agrees with Hitchens’ assessment. Keller’s own definition shows that Keller is wrong. I think what Keller is going for here is that the religions of the state were not christian. If you put it into that context, then his point is valid,they did reject christianity for some of these regimes. However, his argument fails due to his very own definition of religion from chapter 1. He saddled that pony now he can ride it.

I do appreciate Keller’s condemnation of christian violence and violence in the name of god. He says it was a reality and it is inexcusable. I absolutely don't appreciate that however he goes on to say that violence in the 20th century was just as much from the secular as the moral absolute. Given what I just pointed out above, these regimes were not secular at all by Tim Keller’s own words.

Fanaticism
Quote:Perhaps the biggest deterrent to Christianity for the average person today is not so much violence and warfare but the shadow of fanaticism. Many nonbelievers have friends and relatives who were “born again” and seem to have gone off the deep end.
Chap 4, pg 57

So THAT’S why I don’t think that a cosmic overlord had himself killed to atone for the disaster that he created? I have always wondered why. Dodgy It’s not the inconsistencies in the ancient book, the parallels of other, older gods to this one, it’s not the fact that there is no tangible evidence (Oh just wait, science comes up in chapter 6) for any of the extraordinary claims, many of which are also claimed by other gods. No, no. It’s the assholes who hold the “God hates Fags” signs. What I find most disturbing is that pretty much from my reading, most people come to disbelief through actually studying the bible not through the lens of John 3:16, but with an open mind and a thirst to learn the history of the texts. I find it crazy that a pastor of a church of 6000 (as the book claims), who has hundreds of people stay after to ask questions, has mostly run into atheists/agnostics who find the crazies a turn off. I guess it’s possible but wow. Keller continues to set the table for himself by letting his audience of believers know what fanaticism is. To his credit, I think his analysis is pretty accurate. He just lays it out and just talk about it. BUT WAIT......the moment you have been waiting for!!!!!!!!!
Quote:Think of people you consider fanatical, They’re overbearing, self-righteous, opinionated, insensitive, and harsh. Why? It’s not because they are too Christian but because they aren’t christian enough.
Chap 4, pg 59

[Image: 687506381_small.jpg]

HERE’S WILLIE!!!!!
There it is folks, a true blue, in-print, genuine No True Scotsman. Keller maintains that these people aren’t christian enough because they aren’t humble like Jesus (like the time he ordered his followers to steal a donkey so he could enter a city as a king, Mat 21 etc.) or sensitive (like when he told his family that his followers were his family and wouldn’t see them Mark 3), loving (like when he says that you will be discarded for not loving him Mat 22, John 15, Mat 13, Luke 19 etc.), empathetic (see any of the aforementioned verses),and forgiving (see any of the aforementioned verses and the unforgivable sin Mat 12, Luke 12). Well actually, if you put it in the context of these scriptures, the fanatics are on to something. The reality is that for as bat-shit crazy as Westboro is, they actually ARE doing what the bible calls for. They are trying to spread the message, they are trying to win converts. What are they doing that is not sanctioned in the bible? You see Tim, this is precisely why faith is a bad reason to justify something. You have as much a case as Westboro with no way to demonstrate which one is right. You are saying they are wrong because of scripture, but they have scripture to back themselves up as well. Can you actually tell me that god doesn’t hate fags? It’s in there a few times. Really, go look for yourself. You know what ISN’T in there? Hate the sin, love the sinner.

Biblical Critique of Religion
Keller reinforces his NTS:
Quote:Extremism and fanaticism, which lead to injustice and oppression, are a constant danger within a body of religious believers. For Christians, however, the antidote is not to tone down and moderate their faith, but rather to grasp a fuller and truer faith in Christ.
Chap 4, pg 59

Again Tim, it would pose no challenge to find a pastor who disagrees with you on your assessment of true christianity. Why should I believe you over another? Why should I believe any of you? If your angle of this section of the book is to quench doubt, after all this half of the book is entitled “The Leap of Doubt”you really aren’t addressing why I should buy into your theology as opposed to another theology. Or ANY theology for that matter. You are just tossing one massive word salad that is aimed at reassuring a believing core. You have not yet even given a reason for god. Not even close. You also have failed to give a reason not to call into question whether there is a god at all.

This section is mostly about biblical criticisms of religion and the religious in the bible. Nothing of note other than Keller paints a picture that the books of the OT are critical of the followers of them. Yeah, Jim Jones was also critical of his followers if they stepped out of line. Your point?

This then slides into another little gem in this book. Keller uses the argument from C John Sommerville that we got the list of the church’s sins from the church itself!!!! I guess this makes sense and does keep in line with Keller’s previous assertion that nothing good is done without god so as far as that argument goes, I see why he went there. The story is about motives for stealing and how it has changed. The example however is rather silly because stealing is stealing no matter which way you look at it. Now the motives may be different. If I steal to feed my starving children is that the same as stealing a TV because I want it? Of course not. Sommerville says that the difference lies in the motive for NOT stealing. The “old” reason was that stealing would hurt your honor and the “new” reason was that it would hurt the other person (i.e. empathy). One was self-centered and the other was empathetic. Keller takes this and runs, essentially claiming that empathy did not exist before christianity. He doesn’t actually say this specifically but if it is a christian ideal, then logically, it couldn’t have existed before. Which is of course bullshit. If that was true, literally everyone before Jesus would have been, by definition, a sociopath. If this is indeed true, why then did Abraham plead for the lives at Sodom in Genesis 18? He had little to gain and made a case out of empathy. Abe also shows empathy for Ishmael in Genesis 21 and it’s god who says “fuck ‘em, your descendant are from Isaac.” These were only a couple but you get the point. According to Keller, empathy is a christian invention. Facepalm

I will continue in the next section because it demands a more detailed examination.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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11-08-2015, 09:35 AM (This post was last modified: 11-08-2015 05:44 PM by The Organic Chemist.)
RE: The Reason for God
Continued from the previous section........

Justice In Jesus’ Name
Here is the section where Keller goes off the deep end. This is probably one of the most insulting sections in this book so far. Slavery. Yes, that’s right.
Quote:Christians began to work for abolition not because of some general understanding of human rights, but because they saw it as violating the will of god. Older forms on indentured servitude and the bond-service of biblical times had often been harsh, but Christian abolitionists concluded that race-based, lifelong chattel slavery, established through kidnapping, could not be squared with biblical teaching either in the OT or the NT
Chap 4, pg 64

Keller then cites Deuteronomy 24:7 and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 as proof that the bible prohibits slavery through kidnapping. And he’s right to a certain degree. Let’s examine what Deuteronomy says shall we and see if this supports Keller.

Quote:If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you.
Deuteronomy 24:7

Or how about 1 Timothy?

Quote:We also know that the law is not for the righteous but for the lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers-and for whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
1 Timothy 1:9-11

So these are the 2 passages that he says don’t square with slavery. I’ll get to Deuteronomy in a second but 1 Timothy? All Timothy chastises is the slave traders, not slavery. This passage does not condemn anything in the OT in reference to slavery. Keller is committing the sound error, whether intentionally or ignorantly, the the Mosaic laws regarding slavery applied to anyone else outside of the nation of Israel. It says so in every translation biblegateway has to offer. As a pastor, he has to know better. The Deuteronomy passage specifically says Israelites which is supported by Leviticus 25 which states:

Quote:Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and you can make them slaves for life but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
Leviticus 25:44-46

See? Deuteronomy 24 only applies to kidnapped ISREALITES. It says nothing about a foreigner. Leviticus 25:42 also specifically draws a distinction between the Israelites and everyone else.

Exodus states:
Quote:If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years.  Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom.  If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year.  But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him.  If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master.  But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children.  I would rather not go free.'  If he does this, his master must present him before God.  Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl.  After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.
Exodus 21:2-6

Or how about
Quote:Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 
1 Timothy 6:1-2

OK, these are pretty clear right? Apparently not for Pastor Keller and his ilk. In this section, Keller also provides a reference to a book by Mark Noll called The Civil War as a Theological Crisis where he says it is a discussion about slavery and the bible. According to Keller, Noll discusses how the slavery issue used the justification for slavery but that “they were blind to the stark differences between African Chattel slavery and the bond-service and indentured servant-hood treated in the bible.”Now I know what some of you are thinking: “But he is a pastor and an expert on the scripture.” I know, which is why this section irks me so badly. The fact that he is a pastor does not make him an expert on ancient slavery. In his tome on the History of Slavery, Dr.Junius Rodriguez would disagree with this statement. But why would I need to go to those evil secular references when one does not need to look beyond the perfect and final wod of god to show that Keller is mistaken and in fact, there was little difference. In addition to the above passages where the indentured servitude was not applicable to a foreigner (and the Africans were foreigners, one of the biblical ideologies used to justify slavery) the OT lays out how they should be treated:

Exodus 21:2-4 states that if a wife is given to a servant, he is free to go after the six years, but the family must stay as slaves since they are property which explains why Exodus 21:5-6 lays out how you can make a Hebrew servant become your slave for life right after you are to force him to abandon his family if he loves them. (how nice, eh?)

Exodus 21:20 states that if you beat a slave with a rod and they don’t die after a “day or two” that no punishment is to be given. Interestingly, is this why they used whips and not rods? Not sure but it is food for thought.

The next logical objection that the bible does not support slavery is the kidnapping part. OK, ignoring that the passage in Deuteronomy says nothing about non-Hebrews, is it kidnapping if you conquer the land and then take slaves? Well, nope. (Also bear in mind that a slave can be used specifically for sex.) Under the divine command (and never divine condemnation), the Israelites do precisely this to the Midianites (Numbers 31), the women of Jabesh-gilead (Judges 21), any town that god hands to you (Deuteronomy 20), if you simply see a woman you like in a conquered territory (Deuteronomy 21), selling your daughter (Exodus 21), dividing the spoils of war (one or two women per man, Judges 5). This is not to mention the other sacrificial things that the Torah says were done in the name of YHWY (or jesus and the holy spirit if you believe in the eternal trinity). Also bear in mind that NOT ONCE does god ever step in and tell them not to do any of these things. According to the OT, Moses was talking to god directly (and he wasn’t the only one speaking to god either). Surely, if god thought this was not OK, then why the hell did he not say anything? That would have been progressive. That would have been far more convincing of a merciful god who loves his creation. Instead in all of the prophets, all of the people who had a direct line to the almighty, even JC himself, never condemn any of these actions. Not once.

I am sorry Pastor Keller, but you just can’t square this circle without blatantly ignoring what the book really says. It is insulting to think that you are germinating this idea which is insulting to those who suffered through it. If god really didn’t like slavery, then why in his word to the human race, did he spend so much time telling us HOW to treat our slaves and who they can be while never once giving the slightest inclination that it is actually against god’s good nature. It would have been in the Laws of Moses. Come on, god tells them trivial things about how to bake bread to bring to him (Lev 24) and kills people for “bringing unauthorized of fire”to the altar (Lev 10). For being so nitpicky to say the dress code (Lev 19, Num 15, Deu 22) to planting techniques (Lev 19) why does he not say in any way shape or form that owning another person is wrong? Shit, Abe Lincoln did a better job and he never claimed to be divine. Certainly, if the message was garbled, why then did he not, through Jesus, make it crystal clear that this is not the type of behavior he wanted? This is certainly more important information than a story about how Jesus, the all powerful god in the flesh, does not know when figs are in season in his own creation. Instead, you get dishonest people like Pastor Tim Keller who wish to paint the history of the religion in a better light so they ignore what their word of god says (and quite frankly, honest historians). The very chapter where Keller acknowledges that horrible things have been done in the name of Christ he lays this pile of excrement on the readership. I was beginning to appreciate some of Keller’s honesty after chapter 3 but he pissed it away with this disingenuous section.

Now I do want to say that christians absolutely have a high place in the abolition of slavery. I absolutely do not want to trivialize their importance and contributions. Contributions that Keller rightly gives credit to. However, his omission of the irreligious is insulting on many levels. He completely ignores the secularists who were instrumental in the movement with Dr. King. He ignores the secular voices at the birth of the American nation who were opposed to the institution of slavery in their new country while their christian counterparts justified it. Keller also completely misses another angle of this movement: what other choice did the pastors have? The bible absolutely permits slavery of a foreigner and even provides a loophole for a fellow tribesman. It’s crystal clear it does. The only way these pastors could fight the fire is with more fire. They HAD to come up with a biblical reason to fight a biblical justification. The case in point is that Keller only comes up with 2 biblical references. One of which absolutely does not apply (Timothy) and the other which actually does not say what he presents it as saying. I presume this is why he didn’t provide the quotes that I did, it would have destroyed his case. It is also interesting how the heathen came up with far more verses that refute his argument. Dodgy

Summary
Well that is it for Chapter 4. Yikes, this was painful. The last part of this chapter really demonstrates how far some are willing to bend to justify their own delusion. If this is the perfect word of god, then why did a spokesman who is also a pastor not seem to be able to read the words? They are there for all to read and see for themselves the utter dishonesty and credulity of the writing. The bibliography says that Keller wil discuss slavery further in Chapter 6. I have not read it yet but I hope he does a better job than what he did in Chapter 4.

Thanks for reading and thanks even more if you are suffering through my terrible writing.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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11-08-2015, 09:49 AM
RE: The Reason for God
(11-08-2015 09:35 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  Continued from the previous section........

Justice In Jesus’ Name
Here is the section where Keller goes off the deep end. This is probably one of the most insulting sections in this book so far. Slavery. Yes, that’s right.
Quote:Christians began to work for abolition not because of some general understanding of human rights, but because they saw it as violating the will of god. Older forms on indentured servitude and the bond-service of biblical times had often been harsh, but Christian abolitionists concluded that race-based, lifelong chattel slavery, established through kidnapping, could not be squared with biblical teaching either in the OT or the NT
Chap 4, pg 64

Keller then quotes Deuteronomy 24:7 and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 as proof that the bible prohibits slavery through kidnapping. And he’s right to a certain degree. Let’s examine what Deuteronomy says shall we and see if this supports Keller.

Quote:If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you.
Deuteronomy 24:7

Or how about 1 Timothy?

Quote:We also know that the law is not for the righteous but for the lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers-and for whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
1 Timothy 1:9-11

So these are the 2 passages that he says don’t square with slavery. I’ll get to Deuteronomy in a second but 1 Timothy? All Timothy chastises is the slave traders, not slavery. This passage does not condemn anything in the OT in reference to slavery. Keller is committing the sound error, whether intentionally or ignorantly, the the Mosaic laws regarding slavery applied to anyone else outside of the nation of Israel. It says so in every translation biblegateway has to offer. As a pastor, he has to know better. The Deuteronomy passage specifically says Israelites which is supported by Leviticus 25 which states:

Quote:Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and you can make them slaves for life but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
Leviticus 25:44-46

See? Deuteronomy 24 only applies to kidnapped ISREALITES. It says nothing about a foreigner. Leviticus 25:42 also specifically draws a distinction between the Israelites and everyone else.

Exodus states:
Quote:If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years.  Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom.  If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year.  But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him.  If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master.  But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children.  I would rather not go free.'  If he does this, his master must present him before God.  Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl.  After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.
Exodus 21:2-6

Or how about
Quote:Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 
1 Timothy 6:1-2

OK, these are pretty clear right? Apparently not for Pastor Keller and his ilk. In this section, Keller also provides a reference to a book by Mark Noll called The Civil War as a Theological Crisis where he says it is a discussion about slavery and the bible. According to Keller, Noll discusses how the slavery issue used the justification for slavery but that “they were blind to the stark differences between African Chattel slavery and the bond-service and indentured servant-hood treated in the bible.”Now I know what some of you are thinking: “But he is a pastor and an expert on the scripture.” I know, which is why this section irks me so badly. The fact that he is a pastor does not make him an expert on ancient slavery. In his tome on the History of Slavery, Dr.Junius Rodriguez would disagree with this statement. But why would I need to go to those evil secular references when one does not need to look beyond the perfect and final wod of god to show that Keller is mistaken and in fact, there was little difference. In addition to the above passages where the indentured servitude was not applicable to a foreigner (and the Africans were foreigners, one of the biblical ideologies used to justify slavery) the OT lays out how they should be treated:

Exodus 21:2-4 states that if a wife is given to a servant, he is free to go after the six years, but the family must stay as slaves since they are property which explains why Exodus 21:5-6 lays out how you can make a Hebrew servant become your slave for life right after you are to force him to abandon his family if he loves them. (how nice, eh?)

Exodus 21:20 states that if you beat a slave with a rod and they don’t die after a “day or two” that no punishment is to be given. Interestingly, is this why they used whips and not rods? Not sure but it is food for thought.

The next logical objection that the bible does not support slavery is the kidnapping part. OK, ignoring that the passage in Deuteronomy says nothing about non-Hebrews, is it kidnapping if you conquer the land and then take slaves? Well, nope. (Also bear in mind that a slave can be used specifically for sex.) Under the divine command (and never divine condemnation), the Israelites do precisely this to the Midianites (Numbers 31), the women of Jabesh-gilead (Judges 21), any town that god hands to you (Deuteronomy 20), if you simply see a woman you like in a conquered territory (Deuteronomy 21), selling your daughter (Exodus 21), dividing the spoils of war (one or two women per man, Judges 5). This is not to mention the other sacrificial things that the Torah says were done in the name of YHWY (or jesus and the holy spirit if you believe in the eternal trinity). Also bear in mind that NOT ONCE does god ever step in and tell them not to do any of these things. According to the OT, Moses was talking to god directly (and he wasn’t the only one speaking to god either). Surely, if god thought this was not OK, then why the hell did he not say anything? That would have been progressive. That would have been far more convincing of a merciful god who loves his creation. Instead in all of the prophets, all of the people who had a direct line to the almighty, even JC himself, never condemn any of these actions. Not once.

I am sorry Pastor Keller, but you just can’t square this circle without blatantly ignoring what the book really says. It is insulting to think that you are germinating this idea which is insulting to those who suffered through it. If god really didn’t like slavery, then why in his word to the human race, did he spend so much time telling us HOW to treat our slaves and who they can be while never once giving the slightest inclination that it is actually against god’s good nature. It would have been in the Laws of Moses. Come on, god tells them trivial things about how to bake bread to bring to him (Lev 24) and kills people for “bringing unauthorized of fire”to the altar (Lev 10). For being so nitpicky to say the dress code (Lev 19, Num 15, Deu 22) to planting techniques (Lev 19) why does he not say in any way shape or form that owning another person is wrong? Shit, Abe Lincoln did a better job and he never claimed to be divine. Certainly, if the message was garbled, why then did he not, through Jesus, make it crystal clear that this is not the type of behavior he wanted? This is certainly more important information than a story about how Jesus, the all powerful god in the flesh, does not know when figs are in season in his own creation. Instead, you get dishonest people like Pastor Tim Keller who wish to paint the history of the religion in a better light so they ignore what their word of god says (and quite frankly, honest historians). The very chapter after Keller acknowledges that horrible things have been done in the name of Christ he lays this pile of excrement on the readership. I was beginning to appreciate some of Keller’s honesty after chapter 3 but he pissed it away with this disingenuous section.

Now I do want to say that christians absolutely have a high place in the abolition of slavery. I absolutely do not want to trivialize their importance and contributions. Contributions that Keller rightly gives credit to. However, his omission of the irreligious is insulting on many levels. He completely ignores the secularists who were instrumental in the movement with Dr. King. He ignores the secular voices at the birth of the American nation who were opposed to the institution of slavery in their new country while their christian counterparts justified it. Keller also completely misses another angle of this movement: what other choice did the pastors have? The bible absolutely permits slavery of a foreigner and even provides a loophole for a fellow tribesman. It’s crystal clear it does. The only way these pastors could fight the fire is with more fire. They HAD to come up with a biblical reason to fight a biblical justification. The case in point is that Keller only comes up with 2 biblical references. One of which absolutely does not apply (Timothy) and the other which actually does not say what he presents it as saying. I presume this is why he didn’t provide the quotes that I did, it would have destroyed his case. It is also interesting how the heathen came up with far more verses that refute his argument. Dodgy

Summary
Well that is it for Chapter 4. Yikes, this was painful. The last part of this chapter really demonstrates how far some are willing to bend to justify their own delusion. If this is the perfect word of god, then why did a spokesman who is also a pastor not seem to be able to read the words? They are there for all to read and see for themselves the utter dishonesty and credulity of the writing. The bibliography says that Keller wil discuss slavery further in Chapter 6. I have not read it yet but I hope he does a better job than what he did in Chapter 4.

Thanks for reading and thanks even more if you are suffering through my terrible writing.

Cherry picking at it's finest. I had a pastor tell me that biblical slavery wasn't the same as slavery in the south. It was a different kind of slavery Hobo That was how they rationalized it.
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11-08-2015, 10:06 AM
RE: The Reason for God
(11-08-2015 09:49 AM)jennybee Wrote:  Cherry picking at it's finest. I had a pastor tell me that biblical slavery wasn't the same as slavery in the south. It was a different kind of slavery Hobo That was how they rationalized it.

Hell Jenny, my beautiful wife has said the same thing. And that was before she read this nonsense. Unsure

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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Like Post Quote this message in a reply
11-08-2015, 10:09 AM
RE: The Reason for God
(11-08-2015 10:06 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  
(11-08-2015 09:49 AM)jennybee Wrote:  Cherry picking at it's finest. I had a pastor tell me that biblical slavery wasn't the same as slavery in the south. It was a different kind of slavery Hobo That was how they rationalized it.

Hell Jenny, my beautiful wife has said the same thing. And that was before she read this nonsense. Unsure

It's what they tell you in church when you ask *questions.* I have heard it many times. It's the standard response.
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