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« Oprah's Religion | Main | Seeking God's Help »

October 14, 2008


Is it just me or is Bill Maher anything but funny? Has hasn't told a good joke in over twenty years. Then again, maybe I am a just a cantankerous crank.

No, he is not funny. He is about as funny as someone who makes jokes at people with physical disabilities.

Entertainment used to include just enough truth in order to allow the audience to suspend their disbelief and draw them into the act. When an entertainer opts to drop all truth from his venue, he ceases to be an entertainer or entertaining. Like activist judges, activist entertainers can stray so far from their job descriptions that they fail to do their job. Where I work, if someone doesn't do his job, he gets fired.

Well said Louis. I think I have watched "Politically Incorrect" twice and never all the way through. Why do I care what the drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers thinks about politics? Most of the people he has on there are very poorly informed in the first place. What makes Mark Harmon worth listening to when it comes to the Middle East? What the sam hill does Cheryl Crowe know about the economy? It seems a colossal waste of time to me.

"Faith is by its very nature something that’s intangible — difficult to explain or justify rationally ..."

1) Intangible? "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (John 1:14a). "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Peter 1:16).

2) Difficult to explain or justify rationally? "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children" (Matthew 11:25b). "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. ... My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power" (1 Corinthians 2:1-4).

He makes his first mistake in the first line of the movie by referring to the “Book of Revelations” — it’s not plural — and it just snowballs from there.

Is this being serious?

Within a few minutes Maher is denying not just the divinity of Jesus Christ but his actual historical existence, a question disputed by almost no credible scholar.

If consensus of scholars is the standard, then I suppose we all will need to embrace macro evolution, errancy, etc. Liberal scholars love their hip, liberal, feminist Jesus, and conservative scholars obviously need a historical Jesus. So what? There are good reasons to doubt the historicity of Jesus. The evidence is what matters.

and most of the specific similarities asserted in the film, e.g., that Jesus, Mithras, and Horus were all the product of virgin births, come from dubious sources.

Christians seem to think that if you can't prove for absolute certainty borrowing, then they are entitled to assume that there was none. This is not rational. Let's grant that borrowing can't be proved. It's still a possibility. So, suppose I'm faced with two alternatives. The first is that a divine miracle occurred. The second is that a natural event occurred, the evidence presents a plausible naturalistic explanation (borrowing from pagan mysteries) which cannot be proved with absolute certainty. The second alternative is preferred, because miracles carry a strong presumption against them. In fact Habermas and Licona state explicitly that naturalistic explanations are preferred to supernatural ones for this very reason.

If Mark knows of a virgin birth, why does Mary and Jesus brothers approach him thinking he might be insane? It fits in perfectly within Mark's narrative, where there is no divine birth, and doesn't fit within Luke or Matthew (where coincidentally it is ommitted). There are reasons to think Mark knew nothing of a virgin birth.

Actually, there are reasons to think that Matthew and Luke didn't believe it either (though they do believe that Jesus' uniqueness was apparent from his conception and childhood). For a hint as to one part of the reason why, take a look at Matthew's genealogy. Four women are included. What do those women have in common?

HI Jon,

The actual answer to you is, you just haven't encountered the living Christ, the Lord. You would understand, if you had a personal relationship with Him. This blog is NOT sufficient to disarm your objections to Christianity. It isn't about religion (that is what the Pharisees thought) but about LOVE, in the person of Christ. You are unable to understand or destroy the LOVE that some have for Him. But when you come over to the "bright" side, you will understand. He is our 'raison d'etre', our 'joie de vivre', our passion. Our Lord, our Saviour, our LOVE! Argue until the 'cows come home.' Until you know Him, you will not understand.

"In fact Habermas and Licona state explicitly that naturalistic explanations are preferred to supernatural ones for this very reason." (Jon)

I agree...the virgin birth just doesn't seem plausible nor reasonable - but more of a type of writing to exemplify the uniqueness of Jesus from birth. I don't think it really happened - and to be honest - what would it really matter? Either way this is unproveable - but I have to lean to the side of a human birth.

Problem with a virgin birth is very simple - then Jesus was not from the line of David (a line passed through the father and not the mother). This seems to be a claim of some of the gospels concerning Jesus and messiah-ship. If this is not so - then maybe he isn't the messiah...get where I am going here? Logically it makes no sense to have a virgin birth (seems to go against prophecy). Unless God is part of the lineage of David (which I would doubt - He's not a human).

Also the virgin birth is an idea taken from Isaiah 7:14 - which is an idea in 'error' according to the Hebrew of that word. The word means 'young woman' and not 'virgin' - Hebrew scholars readily admit this. I think someone read that and tried make Jesus fulfill another passage from the prophets - this time in error of the actual word being used in Hebrew. In fact, Jesus could be born of a 'young woman' and fill that prophecy (which he was) - and not have to be born of a 'virgin'. This seems like a mistake from the writers as they try make Jesus into something special from birth according to their mis-reading of Prophets.

There are good reasons to not accept a virgin birth - prophecy being one of the key ones.

Two comments:

First, in regards to Jewish custom and the birth of Jesus, adoption is considered essentially equivalent to bloodline. If a Jewish family adopts a child, that child is given full inheritance, including birthrights. This is obvious both inside and outside the accounts of the Bible (read the Talmud as an example). It is also evident in Christian theology through the way God adopts us into His family. Also, consider there are two genealogies of Christ - one through Joseph and one through Mary - and both demonstrate Davidic lineage.

Secondly, (to Jon), I'm not sure what is meant by looking at the four women explicitly mentioned in the lineage of Jesus, but the commonality between the first three (Tamar, Rahab and Ruth) is that they are all Gentiles, which is most definitely applicable. Also, the mention of these women lends credibility to the accounts of His lineage, because it would not have been a mark of greatness amongst Jews to explicitly mention women (let alone harlots and adulteresses) in one's lineage, yet they were included to make a point. Jesus came for ALL, not just for the Jews, and not just for men.

Zach, what the women have in common (Bathsheba as well, described as Uriah's wife) all have dubious sexual histories. There is tradition that Mary became pregnant by natural means prior to marriage.

Hi SocietyVs,

You wrote "Problem with a virgin birth is very simple".

This should be your first clue that your argument is probably flawed. I call this the "silver bullet fallacy" -- if you ever have a very simple argument that you believe utterly defeats a complex and very widely-held view, you should be immediately suspicious of your argument.

This isn't to say that it isn't possible that you *did* find a "silver bullet", but you should be very careful in your audacity.

A personal example: I have a couple arguments against Mormon beliefs (as they have been explained to me by Mormon friends or missionaries) that I think utterly destroy what seem to be foundational tenets of theirs. I am immediately suspicious of my own arguments, not because I don't think they are sound, but because they seem "too easy", and probably point to a misunderstanding or a miscommunication of those tenets.

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