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« The Pro-life Vote: Win, Lose or Draw? | Main | Playing God »

October 08, 2007


One wonders why they would submit themselves to the misery of living in this country.

I'm an agnostic, but I have to say that I agree with conservatives that there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits public funding and public display/pronouncement of religious images/statements. Not that I like them. Actually, I don't mind them. I kind of expect them in a nation that is 80% Christian. Better to not waste money on such things as ten commandment displays, etc, but there are for more costly wasteful expenditures by the government.

I argue with my skeptical friends about this. The Constitution prohibits the establishment of a national religion, but that's about it. I'd be happy to support a Constitutional ammendment that did seperate church from state, but that's not what the Constitution says today. It's disappointing to me to watch skeptics do exactly what Christians do. They want seperation of church and state, so they read it into the Consitution. How does this make us any better than Christians who read gross harmonizations into obvious contradictions in the Bible?

As a newly 'returned to Christ' christian I have much to learn so I do not wish to imply, by my comment, that I sit in a position of knowledge and understanding. However, it seems to me that God never intended that His people have a government at all. When the Jews asked for a king so they would be like other nations God warned them that it was not in His perfect will. He tells them that a king will look out for his own interests and the people would then be subject to his decisions. One need only look at the end day prophecies to know that this is God's will for us today. It is after the days of tribulation that Christ will return to rule over his people here on earth, and there is no mention of an earthly government in the new Jerusalem.

The admonition has not changed from the days of Adam, to the creation of the Jewish nation, to the days of Christ, to the end times. Any leadership by man is bound to be self centered and even corrupt. Christ even admonished us in the book of Mathew to call no man teacher or master within the body of Christ. So even as a christian we answer to no governing body. We are to learn from His Word, and follow Him alone.

Government is wholely of man and will serve man, or itself, alone and you need only read the news today to see that. The body of Christ will not succeed in keeping the historical relics relative to our christian beginnings in the halls of government by fighting the issues within the means of government. We are to do the only work that matters. We are to work to lead a nation of lost men and women to their God.

If we fight to keep the 10 commandments on the courthouse lawns but lose a entire nation of souls, what will our work have accomplished for Him? Nothing. Is that to say that I am not upset by these efforts to remove God from our government? Not at all. I am very upset, but it is an indicator of how far men have withdrawn themselves from God. It's an indicator of the true work that needs to be done, which is to lead people to Christ. When the framers of our constitution separated governments responsibility to God it cemented the fact that it will serve man and itself forever by law. Does that mean christians should not have their voices heard? Not at all. Have at it, but it's an up hill battle at the very least.

Hi Jon,

I appreciate your candor and honesty.

I'm not sure it's possible to "separate church and state" in the way the likes of Newdow submit. Actions toward such a goal have already (IMHO) violated the very amendment they claim to defend ("Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise thereof").

Can you give an example of "gross harmonizations into obvious contradictions in the Bible"? (Just a thought: if the harmonizations were so obviously "gross" and the contradictions so "obvious", how could so many learned people be duped by them?)

Hey Paul,

I'll take your second question first. Why are people duped by such obvious contradictions? I think it's because people's desire to believe what they want to believe is often stronger than their desire to believe what is true. You can probably see this as you consider the beliefs of all other religions. Why do Roman Catholics believe the Pope is infallible when he obviously condemned Galileo in his official capacity? Why do Mormons believe in a plurality of gods despite Is 43:10? Why do JW's continue with their beliefs despite their failed prediction of Jesus 2nd coming in 1914? These are all obvious errors in your mind, and in mine as well. But the cultural and emotional connection they have with their faith is stronger than the facts of reality. This is true for you as well.

I'll give you a good example of a contradiction. In Mt Mary Magdelene is said to find the tomb empty and return to tell the disciples that Jesus is risen after the angel explains things to her. On the way she meets Jesus, clasps his feet and proceeds on to tell the disciples.

Turn to the book of John and what does Mary say when she arrives to tell the disciples? "They've taken my Lord and I don't know where they've laid him. They've stolen the body."

She proceeds back to the tomb, sees somebody that she confuses for the gardener, and asks him where the body is. Turns out the gardener is Jesus, who (again?) reveals himself to Mary as if they haven't already met just a moment ago.

Gleason Archer explains it very briefly. Mary in her confusion lost track of what was going on. Now, if that's not gross harmonization then there is no such thing. As a non-Christian it is very refreshing to be at liberty to just take the text for what it says.

Hi Jon,

I'll have to read through the accounts to see if I see what you see. In the meantime, keep in mind: 1) Gleason Archer is probably not the only person to deal with the apparent contradiction, and his treatment may very well be flawed; 2) one flawed argument in support of the Bible doesn't condemn the Bible; 3) it is a gross mischaracterization of Biblical scholarship to claim that only non-Christians read the text for what it says.

I fully recognize people believe things that have no (or very questionable) factual basis (like evolution). My point (that I don't think I made very well) was that we should be careful of "silver bullet" arguments, since it is likely that there are very good arguments against our objections.

For example, I have a couple objections to Mormonism that I think utterly and simply defeat it, but I am very suspicious of my arguments because something so obvious must have been dealt with and have something approaching a credible response.

Hi Jon,

I went back and read the passages in question, and it seems very clear that the visitations to the tomb (portrayed in the different books) are at different times (and thus not referring to the same event).

In Matthew 28:1: "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb." (note: "at dawn").

In John 20:1: "Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb." (note: "while it was still dark").

Do a Google search and you'll find several reconcilings of the various resurrection accounts that are quite reasonable. All of this still has to be understood to be recordings of eyewitness accounts, which are rarely "tidy" and by nature (since they represent different accounts from different perspectives) will appear different, though they all describe the same event.

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