Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
In a recent review at a website called Debunking Christianity, I came across an article by Lee Randolph, one of the web-site founders who claims to be a former Christian who has lost his faith. The article was designed to bring “reasonable doubts about sin” as discussed in the Bible, to review of scientific evidence and therefore refute the Biblical narrative of sin as being over simplistic and out of date. It didn’t take long to find all kinds of Anti-Christ and Anti-Bible statements and presuppositions. I have written this article in response to his as well as posted the link to his site for your review.
I would suggest that you proceed to their site only after you’ve read my responses to the article, familiarized yourself with humanism and it’s proponents, and done a cursory examination of atheism and related issues so that you will not be deluded by their play on words and suggestions about truth, reality, materialism and freethinking.
Please keep in mind that to be an atheist takes more faith than it does to become a Christian. As Christians our “step in faith” is based on sound facts and empirical evidences such as history, fulfilled prophecy, verifiable witness testimony, and first hand accounts. Atheism is supposedly based on knowledge and science but often leads into self contradictions and self refuting arguments. In order to be an atheist one has to take a “blind leap” into materialism and natural processes with no objective standards and in many cases a grope in the dark in effort to find or construct truth.
My words are highlighted in response to the presuppositions by Mr. Randolph which are preceeded by bullet point. I’ll discuss the different types of atheism in a later writing but for now enjoy this, and please pay special attention to the final suggestion and critique found in Part 2 of this rebuttal.
- “It argues that if God created us, that since we have biological bases for behavior that heavily influence our freewill, the dichotomy of reward and punishment rather than remediation is unjust because he designed us with a high potential to fail.”
(This statement is based on a faulty understanding of how man was originally created by God. Man was created holy and without blemish within the Christian worldview. Man was not created to sin or with a predisposition to sin. Man was not created, with a propensity to sin. Man was created with the ability to sin. Any such biological discord as expressed within this article is merely the process of sin that will not be eradicated from the Earth and the whole of man until there is a new heaven and a new Earth. This evidence, interpreted properly more appropriately displays the need for a savior. Apostle Paul stated in Rom. 7:24, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”)
- “Christianity follows in the footsteps of all the other religions before it that correlate blood with fertility, Gods with kings and heroes who struggle with death”.
(Once again, it is convenient and affirming to his supposition for the author to set forth a statement such as this, basing Christianity on mystery religions and religious systems that were in operation prior to the biblical and Hebrew narratives. The truth is that most literature on mystery religions surfaced AFTER 1st Century AD. Because of the success of Christianity, many mystery religions stories faced considerable modifications, and alterations in order to make their teaching more widely accepted in light of the rapid proliferation of the historical, biblical and Christian narratives. Even with all of those changes there is yet NO mystery religious story that parallels the story of Jesus and many other Bible characters. By virtue of this, the Biblical narrative remains unique among rivals. Secondly, most mystery religion narratives do not offer concepts of a singular creator over and of all things, didn’t offer sin as a problem between God and man, and certainly didn’t offer a solution to sin such as faith in the shed blood of Jesus for remission of sins. Further, mystery religions did not offer the concept of a “virgin birth” which is found in Mt. 1:22-23 (as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 7:14.) Finally, prohibitions against paganism and idolatry as found in Judaism and Christianity were not found in mystery religious texts. Based on these arguments and other voluminous examinations that has undertaken these issues, we reject the notion that Christianity has followed the footsteps of mystery religions or other world religions and religious thought.
- “Basically, religion creates a problem by exaggerating the bad then sells the solution. Its a tried and true technique, that many different organizations (including marketing) practice today. People are bad and they need God or a King to keep them in line.”
- “But this idea of spirits causing bad behavior was left behind by science. Science has taken a slow track to the point it is today because until recently fruitful “non-destructive” brain research has been impossible. Science has exposed the good/evil false dichotomy and shows that Christianity ignores a lot of very important qualifiers about human behavior.”
(The writer takes the path that all problems or what can generally be accepted as behavioral problems are simply mere natural processes. This concept is better known as naturalism. Straight out of the Humanist Manifesto 2000, the concept of nonreductive materialism states that natural processes and events are best accounted for by reference to material causes. This is why it is imperative to set the foundation that good and evil are false dichotomies (not realities) and that the problems that exist are somehow fabricated by Christianity. This is however a self-defeating proposition and further “debunks” the original argument. If good and evil are false dichotomies by anyone standards including God’s, then all behavioral actions are relative and therefore beyond judgement or correction. The actions of the murderer, thief, rapist etc. are not “evil” according to this theory. By virtue of the same argument, sexual purity, sharing and giving, and dedication to professionalism, hard work and family values are not “good” either. This is the crumbled foundation on which the author lays his presupposition.)
- “Human behavior is influenced by the following inter-dependent factors and the human is more or less unaware of them.
– Population and Species attributes
– Natural selection
– Genetic Makeup
– Fetal Development
– Perinatal Biology
– Acute Hormones
– Environmental Triggers
– NeurobiologyWhat you will notice is that Freewill is missing. That is because freewill itself is made up of those components. We don’t have as much “freewill” as we imagine we do.
- The influence that environmental and biological factors have on the function of the brain limits options and performance without the person even realizing it. These factors are an inseparable part of the decision making process.”
(In these phrases the author has lumped the material function of the brain in with the nonmaterial functioning of the mind and by reason does not distinguish the difference between the two. It should be noted that the mind is not identical to the brain and both are unique in that they have different properties. “The subjective texture of our conscious mental experiences- the feeling of pain, the experience of sound, the awareness of color-is different from anything that is simply physical. If the world were only made of matter, these subjective aspects of consciousness would not exist. But they do exist.” Dr. Hank Hanegraaff Christian Research Journal, Body & Soul A Whole In One Vol. 22 #3. The author mixes both material and nonmaterial aspects against his own worldview when he introduces the concept of “free will” which is a nonmaterial aspect of man’s mind aka SOUL. If as the writer suggests in the entireity of the writing that we are merely material beings, then he believes by his faith that “free-will” does not exist. We are merely beings who’s actions are “fatalistically determined” our choice and ability to choose are mere functions and factors of genetic makeup and brain chemistry, my decision therefore to write this article and your decision to read is not free, but is all fatalistically predetermined. )
- “It may be that these factors cannot really be appreciated until they are put under stress or do not work properly. Many times the result is behavior that is outside the norm and/or doesn’t meet our expectations. How much culpability does a person have when the tools they are given are not adequate for the task at hand?”
(The author produces this question in concert with his assertions that we are no more than material beings. The question to ask this author in response to his assertions are, “Do you believe the murderer should be held accountable for his actions? Do you believe the one who breaks into your house, steals your goods or rapes your wife and children should be held accountable? Do you believe that the alcoholic that kills a child while driving drunk should be held responsible for their actions? Based this author’s materialistic worldview and deliberations on free-will found here NOONE should be held accountable for any crime committed.)
- “If we are to be judged according to our thoughts, actions and decisions, and our thoughts, actions and decisions are influenced and or created by physiological factors, then we cannot be judged according to any standard since all people are physiologically unique and some behave in ways that they otherwise would not in different circumstances. How can we be judged for disobeying god when we cannot completely control our thoughts?”
(The author has sought to distinguish the difference between serving God and serving humanity. He seems to jump back and forth when it is convenient for him to do so in order carry out his presupposition further. This is not unusual for humanists. The American humanist Association offers this bold declaration, “”humanism is a philosophy, worldview, or life stance based on naturalism-the conviction that the universe or nature is all that exists or is real.”)
- “Since the brain is a biological device. It can be influenced by physiological factors, and physiological factors induce desire and motivation. Since we cannot get outside of our thoughts and feelings, they make up our personality our “essence”. This renders any judgment by an external supernatural creator meaningless because it would know that we are helpless to feel any other way than our physiological make up will support at the time, and that our behavior and desire will follow that.”
(This statement and the previous 3 statements were statements based on Fatalism)
“I argue that if we were put here as a test, then we should have been designed exactly opposite. As it is now, resisting temptation and denying our nature causes frustration and stress. It seems to be a backward system where following the rules results in angst, frustration, poor health and ultimately unhappiness. It seems to be a system designed to demotivate. It seems to be a system designed to foster failure.”
(As the author has proposed, according to this writing, resisting temptation could include holding back feelings of murder, lust, pedophilia, thievery etc. and as such is a problem of our physical and material design. By virtue of his own postulation, humanity is then hopeless and subject its material nature and rely upon the science for a fix. Thus the god of humanism becomes the discovery of science which offers a better hope in the future. The Christian account does not wait on science or material discoveries to change and individuals nature or immaterial self. 2 Cor. 5:17~ “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The Christian hope is much better than the hope of the atheist and humanist and offers true freedom from the problem of sin in the flesh.)
“If god made us, then obviously he is responsible for our architecture. The bible says we prefer sin, and using the definition of sin in the bible, it seems to be true. But what is sin? Who decides what sin is? Is sin being promiscuous or overeating? Human beings would have never survived if they did not act this way. It is necessary behavior in the survival of organisms to procreate as much as they can and eat when they can find food. Natural Selection has filtered this behavior to prominence because those organisms that behaved that way, passed on more copies of themselves, their genes.”
(Though this may seem innocuous to many, the author intentionally misrepresents scripture to build synergy and agreement for his presupposition. He offers that the Bible says that we “prefer sin” and that it’s observation “seems to be true”. The bible actually says this, John 3:19-21, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” The scripture clearly outline the process of and results of loving sin. Jesus said that men love darkness because their “deeds” were evil not because, as the author suggests, that they are “predisposed” or fatalistically determined to do so. Once again, the author’s view of fatalism is necessary to conclude his presupposition. Another disturbing suggestion here is that somehow bad behavior and human faults are inherited through the genome and as such are justifiable as traits that are naturally selected for the survival of the species. This leads to his justification of racism, hedonism, and other immoral behaviors as being necessary for humanity to survive. I hope society never accepts the premise that murder, molestation, rape, etc are a necessary part of society as the author suggests.)
- “Dopamine receptors in the brain receive Dopamine that gets released into the blood stream by the endocrine system that provides some of that positive feedback. But a malfunctioning dopamine system or the introduction of foreign bodies that are similar to dopamine can cause addictions. It is a flawed process that can be easily fooled by things such as food, alcohol and cocaine into malfunctioning. Not the high quality I would expect out of the workshop of a God.”
(Here the author says that the system of Dopamine receptors in the brain isn’t that good then goes on to talk about things that abuse and manipulate the system to failure and suggest that if god is the architect of such a system he did a comparatively bad job of design. A good example to refute this suggestion would be the former World trade Center or Twin Towers in New York City. They had excellent design and functionality many of the best features know to modern architecture. They however were not designed to maintain or stand the weight of airplanes full of jet fuel INTENTIONALLY hitting them. They fell. Are we to say that because they fell they were built improperly? Should we say that the building designers were somehow negligent in their duties of architecture? No, reason dictates that the buildings were not designed to come under the direct stress that they came under that day. The result was tragic structural failure. To suggest that the brain should function to its best efficiency after it’s been bombarded with chemicals and stimuli that it was not designed to endure or maintain is incredulous and a very unreasonable argument.)