[Replying to post 3 by Divine Insight
Let me see if I understand your argument.
By "Christianity" you mean your interpretation of the Bible
. And if actual Christian beliefs and practices (both contemporary and historical) diverge from your interpretation of the Bible
, then actual Christians have abandoned "Christianity." And apparently anyone who disagrees with this non-standard definition of "Christianity" is engaging in "semantic games."
Have I got that right?
No, you couldn't be further from the truth.
To begin with there is no need for me to "interpret
" the Bible. I actually accept the core story that all Christians must necessarily agree upon because they have no choice. The Bible says what it says, and there's nothing anyone can do to change that. Pretending that Christians could re-interpret the Bible to have said something entirely different is nothing short of apologetics dishonesty. Which so many Christian apologists appear to be fully embracing. Obviously because they don't like what the Bible actually has to say.
For example. all Christians have no choice but to agree that the Bible itself proclaims that in the first chapter of Genesis the Biblical God created the earth and saw that it was "good". For the Bible tells us so.
There is no way to re-interpret this to claim that the Biblical God created the world and saw that it was "bad". Because that's clearly not what the Bible has to say.
So there are grave limitations in how far Christians can go in claiming to have their own "interpretations
" of what they claim the Bible says. The wrong "wrong interpretations
" apology is a meaningless apology that has no merit.
So it's a waste of time for Christians to even try pulling that stunt, even though it's basically the only stunt they have left to pull.
Any Christian who disagrees with what I read in the Bible would need to show where I have it wrong. Not just claim that they don't like my "interpretations
In the beginning God created the earth and all life on earth and say that it was "good". This flies in the face of what we now know to be true. And that is that the world was filled with disease, death, and animals preying on other animals long before humans ever showed up on earth.
This requires that God saw that disease, death, and animals eating each other is "good". There's no need to re-interpret anything here.
What some theists have argued is that what God actually meant is that is was "good" for his purposes
. You might want to call that an "interpretation
". But there's even a problem with this, because this would then mean that based on their "interpretation
" what humans call "evil
" or "bad
" God calls "good
" because it serves his purpose. This becomes impossible to defend actually. This would mean that if a murderer who rapes and kills a young child is serving God's purpose, then that act was "good
So Christians who think they can play these kinds of games have lost before they even get started.
Granted, I used an extremely simple example. But this is because I like to start at the beginning of the Bible to show that these kinds of problems start at the very beginning, and just continue throughout the mythology.
I don't need to "interpret
" anything. I just take the Bible for what it says. Christians who claim that it means something else are the people who need to show how that makes any sense. Where does the Bible say that God saw evil as being "good" because it serves his purposes? It doesn't. This is an idea that Christians are trying to push onto the Biblical mythology in an attempt to make corrections for very poorly written myths.
Staying in the early chapters of Genesis we have this God cursing an evil angel to crawl on his belly and eat dirt for the rest of his life. I hold that this is an absurd curse that no intelligent God would even curse on anyone, or anything.
Why? Well, for one thing, what does doing evil and harmful things to other creators solve? It solves nothing. In fact, all it does is lower the status of the one who made the curse from being "good" to also being "evil". So the Biblical mythology has God doing evil things right off the bat.
Moreover, we can ask if this even solved anything? And the answer is clearly, "No it did not". It didn't even have a positive or constructive effect since this evil demon continued to corrupt God's creation all through the rest of the Biblical mythology.
So we have a God who can't even solve a simple problem. Not only this but the Bible teaches the wrong message here. Being cruel to people who don't do as we expect does not solve a problem. Yet this Biblical mythology is basically teaching us that to do brutal things to people we see as being evil is a "godly act
No amount of re-interpretation can change this. The best argument that Christians can give (and typically do give), is that the evil serpent deserved what he got. But that just falls into the trap of accepting that being mean to someone who doesn't do as we like is a "Godly act
". In other words, they just fall into the trap of the immorality that the mythology is teaching them.
So the excuses that the Biblical God can do evil things to others because they supposedly deserve to be treated in a cruel and punishing manner, isn't a valid apology for a God who is supposed to be all-wise, omniscient, and omnipotent.
In other words, the only thing that a Christian apologist can argue for is the idea that a supposedly all-wise, omniscient, and omnipotent God can act like an ignorant uneducated barroom drunkard if he wants to. That's a pretty sad apology for the behavior of a God.
And we can just continue on through the entire Bible like this.
Still in the early chapters of Genesis we have Adam and Eve, two very innocent humans who haven't even yet learned or been taught the difference between "good and evil
", necessarily so for this story to even begin to make any sense. And they are innocently beguiled by an already evil serpent.
To begin with, the question then arises, "Would Adam and Eve have ever chosen to commit an evil act on their own?" If the answer to this question is no, they had to be beguiled by an evil serpent, then humans were set up for a fall that they would have never made via their own free will choice.
Moreover, if they weren't yet even knowledgeable of evil, then they couldn't have chosen it since they wouldn't even be aware that it exists.
After they had been beguiled, Eve confessed to everything, even testifying against the evil serpent who beguiled her. This is precisely what every good little Christian girl is supposed to do. Supposedly by confessing to the truth she will be forgiven. But not in the case of Eve. Eve is condemned by God to be cast out of the Garden of Eden with no forgiveness being offered at all. And the Bible doesn't even have Eve behaving in a rebellious manner. She's not standing there yelling at God that she refuses to do as he says. To the contrary she's cooperating fully explaining to God how she had been beguiled by an evil serpent.
There is no way to "re-interpret
" this story to be something else. We have no choice but to accept it for what it says. To try to make excuses for it requires adding quite a bit to the story that simply isn't contained within the Bible.
Finally, if this God's plan was to have humans accept Jesus as their savior, why not offer that option to Adam and Eve right there in the Garden of Eden. Let them decide for all of mankind whether they will accept Jesus or not.
Where's the excuse for Christianity now? There cannot be one. Claiming that Jesus hadn't yet been crucified by thugs is hardly a compelling apology.
We're only into the 3rd chapter of Genesis and we already have major problems galore. There is no way to resolve these problem via "re-interpretations
". The only hope to make apologies for them is to invent a lot of extra idea that are NOT part of the original story. That's not reinterpretation that's just an attempt to rewrite a very poorly written mythology in the hope of trying to make excuses for its obvious problems.
In short, there's nothing any Christian can do to save the Bible via reinterpretations.
It's just not possible. They only thing they can do is pretend that it doesn't say what it actually says and that they wish it has been written differently.
That's not "reinterpretation
So the re-interpretation apology is nonsense. It has no merit. It's a final straw that Christian apologists grasp for that simply doesn't work.
I've only brought up three trivial things in th4e very beginning of Genesis. If we continue on to go through the entire Bible things only go further downhill for Christian theology. Christian apologists end up having to make excuses for the Bible in every chapter of every book of the Bible. They end up with more excuses that the Bible has chapters. And their excuses aren't even written in the Bible. This is stuff they had to push onto the Bible in a desperate attempt to try to make it work.
Notice that everything I bring up is based on what the Bible actually has to say. I don't need to "interpret
" anything. All I need to do is go by what the Bible actually has to say for itself.
To defend the Bible Christian apologists need to add tons of extraneous ideas that aren't even remotely implied by the Bible, much less written within it.
Besides, if you stop and think about this for even a couple minutes you can see a far greater problem.
If Christians claim that I have the Bible all "wrong
", then guess what? They have just exonerated me from any possible accusation that I have rejected their God.
How so? Well, they have just decreed that I have the Bible all "wrong'. In other words, they proclaiming that I am rejecting a "wrong" picture of God.
Well, there you go! Even by the decree of Christian theists I have rejected a wrong picture of God. Shouldn't God be thrilled? I've rejected a totally wrong picture of God. This God should then be super pleased with me.
So the Christians who claim that the atheists who reject the Bible have done so because they have a wrong picture of God have only just exonerated those atheists.
So their apology doesn't even work.
In order to have someone rejecting a God they first need to have the correct and true understanding of what God is.
Claiming that God is all "good" while the Bible make the opposite crystal clear simply doesn't work.
Christian theists are shooting themselves in their own feet with a fully automatic assault rifle. They have blown away their own feet so completely that they no longer have a foot to stand on. Their apologies are dead.
Claims that non-theists have a wrong understanding of God only serve to exonerate anyone who rejects the Biblical God. According to the Christian apologists they must have rejected a wrong picture of God.
And what loving, kind, and understanding God wouldn't be extremely pleased to hear that?
So the claim that I have a wrong understanding of the Bible only hands me a certificate of complete exoneration from having rejected the "Real God".
According to this Christian apology for their theology that's not possible. All I could have possibly done is reject a totally wrong and incorrect picture of God. And that could only result in their God being absolutely thrilled with me.
So this theological apology simple doesn't work.
In a theology where the God is supposed to condemn non-believers to eternal damnation there can be no room for misunderstanding. So to even claim that I have a misunderstanding of the Bible kills the theology right there.
It's a self-destructing theological apology. Just more bullets shot into the feet of the Christian apologists by themselves.