The religious are not known for their ability to think

An atheist wrote, ‘The religious are not renowned for their ability to think (otherwise they would not be religious).’  PantheonHe then equates the God of the Bible with Apollo, Atlas, Dionysius, Odysseus, Baal, Brahma, Ganesha, Odin and others. Christians don’t believe in gods like Odysseus and the others because there is no reason to take note of them. Evidence that they were real is non-existent:

 

# 1. Where are their books? Surely if those gods are real like the God of the Bible, they should have left some kind of historical witness or written record. Their books, like the Bible, should give details of people, the country they lived in (like Israel), national events (like the exodus and exile of the Israelites), neighbours (like the Assyrians, Philistines, Romans), et cetera.

 

# 2. What was their central theme? The Bible’s central theme is that God plans an eternal Kingdom of peace on the renewed earth. The one person who opened the door to that Kingdom is Jesus, the Son of God. The history of Jesus is recorded in Scripture. The major events of His life, a logical part in God’s plan, was the crucifixion and resurrection. They were so significant that the message spread throughout the world. So there is a universal Church that adheres to the teaching of the risen Lord Jesus. Those other gods don’t have books with central themes.

 

# 3. What was their plan for man? If Odysseus, Brahma, Odin, Thor, and all the others are on the same level as the God of the Bible, what was their universal plan for man (like an eternal kingdom of peace)? How will they fulfil their purpose (like creating new heavens and a new earth)? Who is the saviour who opened the way for man to be part of the plan (like Jesus)?

 

# 4. Where is their big picture history? A book written by only one person in his life time, is not sufficient. The Bible was written by at least forty different writers over at least 1,500 years. The 66 books of the Bible are united by the theme of the Messiah, Jesus.

  • He is coming (Old Testament).
  • He came (New Testament).
  • The Epistles (letters of Paul and the others) interpret why Jesus came to earth and what it has to do with God’s Kingdom.
  • The last book, Revelation, ends with a prophetic view of how the Kingdom of God will become a reality.

We expect no less from Dionysius, Odysseus, and the many others if they are equal to the Trinity.

 

# 5. Where is the war against them? No person is unaware of the war against the Bible. Where is the war against Odysseus’ book, and those of Thor, Odin, et cetera? There is nothing.

 

Can atheists think logically? Maybe not. The Bible says, ‘The god of this age [the devil] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.’ 1

 

They accuse us of being closed minded. Again the Bible explains it, ‘You, however, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.’ 2 We as Christians should remember it, and understand that they are blinded by the god of this age (the devil). So we shouldn’t get mad at them, but we should treat them with love and respect.

Read the Atheist Letter here.

 

References

  1. 2 Corinthians 4:4
  2. Romans 2:1

Author: Gerard and Alida

As you can see in the photo, there are two of us. We live and work together 24/7, studying and enjoying our grandchildren. Our passion is to know and understand what will happen after death. Is there a way to provide for and invest in that?

4 thoughts on “The religious are not known for their ability to think”

  1. There are a number of historical problems with your arguments.

    1. Where are their books? Destroyed. Many of the Biblical writings we have exist only because a concerted effort of Christians to preserve them. Without this effort many of these books would have turned to dust. And Acts 19:19 tells us what early Christians did with non-Christian writings.

    That is not to say their writings were entirely lost. We know the stories of Odin, for example, through the Eddas. So some writings do exist.

    1a. Is the argument about the existence of books valid if their stories didn’t happen? Jewish scholars widely admit the exodus is fiction. Here is an article by Rabbi David Wolpe that explains in detail how they know this: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Judaism/2004/12/Did-The-Exodus-Really-Happen.aspx?p=1#

    5. Where is the war against them? We have overt examples of Christians making war like the crusades, but generally the approach was more subtle. There are numerous examples of Christians taking on the trappings of the pagans in order to coopt their beliefs and convert their followers.

    In Norway, we find examples of stave churches where the walls were adorned with pagan and Christian symbols side-by-side. While the early Norse might have run from a place adorned only with a large crucifix, they were less likely to do so if their familiar symbols were present.

    Pagan festivals were coopted as Christian. Easter was Eostre, the pagan equinox festival. Halloween was Samhain, Christmas was Saturnalia. In fact it’s extremely difficult to find a Christian holiday that wasn’t derived from something pagan, and many retain elements of their precursors: the Easter Bunny, Halloween masks and Christmas trees for instance.

    Whether you agree with it or not, it’s clear that much of the spread of Christianity is due to sleight-of-hand and deceit.

    I disagree with the person who said the religious are not known for their ability to think. I would say that Christians are probably known for ignoring or discounting evidence that disagrees with their world view. It sometimes takes a great deal of creativity to do this.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. Since they are so perceptive, I would like to answer some of them as blogs.

      Concerning your first statement that Christians destroyed non-Christian writings according to Acts 19:19: It states that A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls and burned them publicly. I tried to find out whether they burned the books of Odin, Dionysius or even Diana (Artemis). Ephesus was known as a centre for black magic and the occult. The people who turned to Christ as a result of Sceva’s seven sons who were overpowered by a demon possessed man, burned their scrolls of magic. This harks back to the Old Testament that warned, ‘Let no one be found among you…who practices divination and sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft….’ Deuteronomy 18:10.

      Interestingly, in the subsequent event, the silversmith Demetrius organised a riot because the preaching of Paul affected their business, Acts 19:23-41. The crowd was about rowdy, shouting for around two hours in unison, ‘Great is Artemis (Diana) of the Ephesians!’ We have statues of Artemis, but where are her books, her church, her plan for man (compared to the Bible)? The same can be asked about Odin and the Eddas.

      If you don’t mind, we want to answer the questions about the Exodus, the pagan festivals, as well as your conclusion in separate blogs, since they are such excellent questions.

      Thank you for your interest, and please, don’t stop commenting.

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      1. I think it’s unlikely you’ll find a lot of specific references about early Christians burning the books of Odin. My point, rather, was that ancient writings do not survive that are not the recipients of efforts at their preservation. We have the Eddas which are a small portion of the Icelandic and Norse stories thanks to Snorri Sturluson in the thirteenth century. At the same time, Christianity made an industry out of preserving Biblical writings. There were monasteries throughout Europe dedicated to preserving and copying of Biblical texts (along with praying the souls of the rich into heaven). That we have a few Norse writings and many Christian ones is the obvious result.

        Regarding Acts and other Biblical references to non-Jewish and non-Christian practices, these are frequently represented as wicked or sorcery when to another culture they would have been a legitimate practice and the Jewish Jehovah or Elohim would have been seen as the wicked invader. OT references to Baal or Baalzebub are seen as devils, but the term Ba’al to other cultures was a just title, akin to saying “Lord”.

        In that light, saying Ephesus was known as a center for black magic and the occult may be just another way of saying they worship different gods. Artemis/Diana was one of the primary goddesses of Roman and Greek culture (depending on which name you used) and did not promote evil, black magic and the like. The account in Acts is merely the clash of two competing religions, biased in the favor of the Christians who wrote it.

        I know people alive today who worship Diana, although it’s unlikely their practice bears little resemblance to what might have been seen in Ephesus, just as contemporary Christianity has changed over time. I personally know a woman who is what today’s pagans would call a ‘solitary’. She part of a Christian congregation and worships Diana in her home in secret because she understands that if she were open about her beliefs she would be ostracized by her community.

        If I judge a religion by its popularity, then I’d be hard pressed to choose between Christianity and Islam. The things you cite (stories, places of worship, a “plan”) are part of every religion I have looked at. I fail to see this as an argument in favor of any belief.

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  2. I am summarising the following and want your comments.

    The Bible clearly teaches that there were many other gods, like Baal, Diana, Chemosh, Ashtoreth, Molech, Dagon, and others. Yet God taught the Israelites monotheism: He is the only true God, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, our of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me,’ Deuteronomy 5:6-7.

    Continually, throughout the history of the Israelites, it was this battle between worshipping only God, or the other gods. I think one cannot deny the existence of all the other gods, but I want to repeat, when we compare them with the God of the Bible, we have to have some standard. God gave us one, the supernaturally inspired Scriptures. They were written by about 40 different writers over a period of 1,500 years, but with one main message: God is going to establish an eternal Kingdom of Peace.

    God not only speaks, He acted in history, which is why the people, events and world powers who oppressed Israel are documented (this is a very large study, which I would prefer to leave for the time. It would entail discussing all the artifacts of the various museums around the world, as well as the archaeological diggings). So far not one of those other gods have produced anything near the Holy Bible.

    Witchcraft and sorcery in the Bible is different from worshipping other gods. We meet it in the narrative of the Egyptian magicians who did the same as Moses when he turned water into blood, and let frogs appear, but failed when it came to gnats, (Exodus 7:22; 8:7,18). It was the same with Simon the Sorcerer who amazed the people of Samaria with his magic (Acts 8:9-11). There is also the incident of King Saul and the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28). These are condemned in the Bible, ‘…those who practice magic arts…..-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur.’ Revelation 21:8

    Concerning your comment about the Bible and the Koran, it is such an important question, that I am putting on a blog about it.

    In closing, there are two points you made in the previous comment, which I could not comprehend fully. Please give more detail:
    1. What do you mean with ‘the spread of Christianity is due to sleight-of-hand and deceit?’
    2. What kind of creativity do Christians use to discount evidence?

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