Laziness In Study

Should it be necessary to study the Bible to know if it’s true? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Often, I meet skeptics who don’t understand why God gave a book. Couldn’t God just tell us these things Himself? Why rely on a book that’s so old? This is coming with the big assumption that if God somehow showed up and told these people all the truth that is in the Bible already, that they would readily believe it.

But if God wanted us to know Christianity is true, wouldn’t He want to make His word clearer? This also assumes that it’s our generation that is just so awesome and special that we deserve that privilege. We have lived with a people with an idea that we are entitled to special treatment and what a shock we think that if God is there, He also owes us this treatment.

Laziness is not a virtue though.

Many people who say this will have plenty of time to binge watch Netflix or go on a video game marathon or tell you everything about their favorite sports team or spend a night on the town sleeping with every woman they meet. Yet when it comes to this topic, they think it shouldn’t be required. For some reason, it is God’s responsibility.

There seems to be this idea among skeptics of Christianity that God is playing a trivia game for us and all He wants is for us to get the question right of knowing that He exists. If God’s goal was just to convince everyone that He exists, that could be done easily enough. What if that’s not His goal?

Most any husband knows what this is like from living with his wife. Our wives want to be wanted for who they are. They don’t just want to be someone that we go to only when we have a desire for sexual activity and then leave them alone. They want to be wanted. God is the greatest lover of all. He wants a people who want to know if He’s really there and say that He’s worth pursuing.

If the desire for forgiveness really matters to you, you will seek it out.

If the desire to know that Jesus could be risen from the dead and evil could have a solution matters to you, you will seek it out.

If you want to know if unconditional love is really out there, you will seek it out.

If you don’t really want to know these kinds of things and don’t want to know if God is real and Christianity is true, why should you get some special attention? God can let you go your own way. In other words, you are getting exactly what you want. God is leaving you alone.

If you do want to know if any of the above is true, you will study. Something about us as humans is that we will pursue something if we really want it. We can say that there are things we want, but our actions will be the great revealer of what we want. Will it require work for some to see if Christianity is true? Yes. Will it be worth it? Yes.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I Don’t Speak of the Supernatural

Is there a problem with this term? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many times when debating atheists, I find it amusing that they will always use the word “supernatural.” I don’t. Majority of the times, when I ask what this term means, I do not get an answer. It is a term I refuse to use anymore as I think it’s much more problematic.

For one thing, with this term, whatever is natural is treated as a given. What has to be proven is the supernatural and who gets the burden of proof then? That’s right. The theist does. The atheist has to make no defense of the natural.

Let’s look at that for a bit. One of the big mistakes we make is that we think we just need to argue for how the world came to be. How about arguing for how the world is? What keeps the world in motion? Look at your own self. You could go and end your own life with suicide if you wanted, but if Christianity is true, you would not end your existence. Your existence would go on. (I realize some Christians believe in conditional immortality, but even then it is God who destroys your existence and not yourself.)

You can sit in a chair all day and say “I will myself to not exist” and it will not happen. You will go on existing. You might starve yourself to death or some other means, but your mere will alone will not terminate your existing. You also are not always willing yourself to exist. After all, you have to sleep sometimes. Your existing comes from something else.

Atheists don’t usually seem to want to engage with this question.

But then, let’s go a step further. What is natural? It is hard to describe. This gets us into making supernatural even harder to describe. If natural refers to the material world, many of us believe in things that we don’t see in the material world. We believe in triangularity even if there weren’t any triangles. We believe in love and goodness. We believe laws of logic are real. We believe our consciousness is real. There are differing opinions, but some believe numbers are real. We could even say existence itself. After all, you can’t take some existence, put it in a jar, and study it.

If material reality is all that there is, then these things mentioned here do not really exist. None of them are material in nature. This is one reason I prefer to not use the term supernatural, but I instead speak of the extramaterial. A skeptical will be in a much harder position dealing with those realities, and yet here they are.

Supernatural too often becomes a term coined with anything referring to religion. (Another hard term to define, but we won’t go down that rabbit hole again.) Get rid of that and what is left but atheism? Atheism is treated as a given then, the default position.

If a skeptic wants to claim only material realities or natural (Whatever that means) exist, let him demonstrate that claim. That’s the rule. Whoever makes a claim has the burden to demonstrate it and failing to demonstrate one claim does not mean the other claim is demonstrated. It just means one party has poor reasons for believing their claim.

Defining terms is always important in debate. When supernatural comes up, it tends to end in a debate on what the supernatural is. It tends to put the Christian automatically on the defensive because they accept the term. I recommend then not using the term. It only leads to problems.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/14/2019

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It used to be that if you were filling something out and it asked what gender you were, there were two options. You were male or you were female. We all understood that. However, now we live in an age that seems to call everything into question including basic facts of biology.

Now we have boys who claim to be girls and vice-versa. We have an Olympic athlete who has undergone an operation so he can become a woman. Transgenderism is a major new item today and terms like non-binary are showing up more and more.

A great concern is about the possible medical dangers involved with transgenderism. It’s problematic enough to many of us to think that you are a member of the opposite sex. It’s something else quite different when you put hormones in your body to bring about a change. It’s even more concerning when small children who are incredibly impressionable are led down this route and even take puberty blockers and begin a transition. These are kids who have a hard time deciding what to wear to school the next day and yet make major life-altering decisions like this.

But what are the medical side-effects of this? We have drugs that could help people overcome cancer that aren’t released yet, but we seem to want to do something of this extreme level without understanding the circumstances. Are we playing a dangerous game? Could we be damaging children in a way irreversible by scientific means?

To discuss this, I need some help. Obviously, I’m not a scientist or a doctor and I don’t play one on TV. I need someone knowledgeable on this. I need someone like my guest this weekend. Her name is Michelle Cretella.

So who is she?

Dr. Cretella is Executive Director of the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds). She was elected to the Board of Directors in 2005, and served two terms as president prior to being hired as the executive director. Dr. Cretella previously chaired several committees which enabled her to become one of the ACPeds’ chief researchers, editors and spokespersons. Her article Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate was published in the 2016 summer issue of Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Following this, she became one of the world’s most outspoken critics of gender ideology in pediatrics. She is regularly consulted by many media news outlets. 

Dr. Cretella serves on the Advisory Board of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice, and is Chair of the Gender Identity Subcommittee for the Catholic Medical Association. She is a peer reviewer for the journal Issues in Law and Medicine, and also for the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Cretella received her medical degree in 1994 from the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine. She completed her residency in pediatrics in 1997 at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut. She completed a fellowship in College Health through the University of Virginia in 1999. After 15 years of group practice in rural Connecticut and Rhode Island she left clinical practice to devote more time to family and the ACPeds. Dr. Cretella and her husband are the proud parents of four children.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have noticed that episodes are now going up. We hope to be caught up soon. Please be watching your feed for this and other upcoming episodes.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Never Forget

How is the world different so many years later? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many times when Allie and I are going in and out of our apartment complex, we see kids waiting for the school bus or getting off the bus. I have told Allie that these kids are growing up in the digital age. All their lives there would have been iPhones and internet and wi-fi and so many other things.

Today, there are people now who are full-fledged legal adults. They are a small number now, but it will grow over time. They are people who are adults who have never known a life without 9-11.

For these people, this evil will be a part of history always, and that is a great concern. When evil becomes a part of history, we tend to miss its shaping and influence. We assume the world is as it has always been. This is normal.

Today, many skeptics complain about slavery in the Bible arguing that we can all know that slavery is wrong. It’s easy to say that after centuries of a Christian background. Go back in time and many people you meet will say the exact opposite. It’s a part of life.

It’s not knowing our history that causes us to not appreciate where we are today.

I hope that we will pass on to the next generation the lessons of history that we have come to learn. I hope we will pass on how many innocent people died in the most horrific terrorist attack on U.S. soil to date. Even now when this day comes, I wonder if some terrorist organization will try to do something again.

9-11 did something in shattering our safety. We are not invincible. We can be attacked. We all learned it. I was listening to a radio program awhile ago talking about something that was eerie in Manhattan on that day was the silence. Manhattan is usually buzzing with noise, but it wasn’t that day. Everything was shut down. Schools were even still closed the next day. People had to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to get home.

For me, I was in Bible College in Knoxville, Tennessee. Before the chapel service began, someone came in to tell us a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. Okay. We didn’t know much about it. I suspect a lot of us forgot about it. I was thinking it was likely some crazy freak accident by a drunk pilot.

After the service, we heard about the second plane hitting the second tower.

This was no accident.

Before long, many of us were gathered in a lobby area for students watching it on TV. I certainly remember watching when the first building came down. I remember a leader suggesting we all gather and pray.

Safety is easy to take for granted.

In reality, every good thing is easy to take for granted.

Let’s never take our safety for granted and let’s always remember our history. Evil is real. We need to learn what the world was like before great events and after. If we do not learn from history, we will keep repeating it.

And no one should want to repeat 9-11.

Never forget.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Is Beauty Real?

Is beauty just in the eye of the beholder? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, I found myself in a discussion on a Facebook page after an atheist put up a picture of some beautiful clouds outside an airplane window and spoke about not needing God to appreciate this beauty. I found this an interesting statement so I started with one question. Is beauty objective? My response was along the lines of “Of course not.”

This I took to be quite odd. Here you write about an experience of something that is beautiful and then say there is no such thing as beauty. You might as well say that there are no moral truths and then that slavery in the Bible is wrong. (Oh wait. I do know people who say both of those.) It just reminds of the inconsistencies.

But wait, aren’t there disagreements on what is and isn’t beautiful? Yes. There are. There are disagreements in science and math and medicine and law and any other field as well. Are we going to make the foolish statement that any area that has disagreement means that there is no objective truth in that area?

We have industries that are built on beauty being something real. The cosmetic industry serves its clients, mostly women, by telling them what they sell will make them more beautiful. Hollywood appeals to us with men and women meant to be seen as desirable by us. Even the pornography industry can thrive because men and women are supposed to believe that those pages of people on the pages or nowadays on the websites are people they should desire.

Beauty is either something in the world that we discover or else an idea in our minds that we throw onto the world. If just in our minds alone, why should we think we can convince anyone else of it? Why should I believe the clouds are beautiful if it cannot be true that they are?

This would also meant that a stick man that I draw is just as beautiful as the Mona Lisa is. A little tune that I could put together though I have no musical ability is just as beautiful as a piece by Bach is. The reason these things get recognized is because we all know that there is something beautiful about them.

My favorite tactic is to bring up a person’s spouse in this. After all, if beauty is subjective and not real, then there is no reason to think your spouse is truly beautiful. As a man who is married and has been for nine years, I will gladly attest that yes indeed, women are beautiful, and my wife is the most beautiful of all.

We Christians also are missing out when we talk about beauty being subjective. No Christian should ever say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is just as real as truth and goodness are. If we have a harder time with beauty, it is because we have failed to take such ideas seriously.

Do you need to know that God exists to enjoy beauty? Not at all. Do you need Him to ground the beauty? Yes. Remember also that with all that you see, all that beauty is a reflection of the creator who is the most beautiful of all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Why I Still Believe

What do I think of Mary Jo Sharp’s latest book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I first found out about this book when someone mentioned it in relation to dealing with Jesus mythicism, which it does to some extent, and that got me curious. I got in touch with Mary Jo and was able to get an advance copy for review purposes. I really had no idea at the time what else it was about, but then I saw it looked to deal a lot with hypocrisy in the church. Interesting, but could a whole book really be made about it?

Yes. Yes, indeed.

Not only could a whole book be done, this is one of the best books I’d recommend in helping someone out struggling in this area. Sharp’s book is engaging, but at the same time, it is not preachy. She is an open book in this one and writes about so much of the pain that she has experienced in the church and revealing even what some of her home life is like.

Sharp writes as someone who came to the church culture as an outsider having been an atheist. She then gets involved in the church and on the first Sunday there, the pastor’s wife greets her and tells her she needs to dress better because her clothes look too revealing. Keep in mind Sharp was supposed to go up and announce to the church she had become a Christian, which she did anyway, and there the pastor’s wife put her on the spot like that. Imagine how any investigator of Christianity would have taken it. (And keep in mind that from what I’ve seen in churches, too revealing could mean that if you squint and stare for a few minutes you might see some skin.)

She also talks about bringing a skeptical friend to a church lesson that talked about the age of the Earth. This person knew far more than the teacher including quoting Augustine on the matter. The pastor shut the questioner down and then in the end angrily gave him a stack of literature on the topic of creation. Sharp said she never saw him again and he never returned to the church.

Who can blame him?

Along the way, Sharp discusses issues like the resurrection of Jesus and other Christian claims. One of the more interesting ones she does this with is the topic of beauty. Beauty is something we don’t talk about much in the church. We talk about truth and goodness, but not about beauty. This part was quite exciting.

She also writes about how her own ministry got started, especially with the help of David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi. This is humorously referred to as lessons from a sociopath and an ex-Muslim. The candor and reality of the book is what makes it so endearing.

Sharp also talks about her own struggles. She has a hard time with trusting people and has an idealistic vision of the church and how it should be and gets disappointed when it doesn’t measure up. In some ways, she seems to wish she didn’t know what she did know about apologetics, because it would be so easy to say “This isn’t worth it” and go back to atheism, but she can’t. It’s a reality I can understand and relate to sometimes.

Mary Jo Sharp’s book should be required reading for anyone struggling with what they see in their fellow Christians and expecting something different. At the same time, Sharp also looks at herself in all of this and sees the kind of person she is, which she doesn’t like as well. But then, that is the good news isn’t it? As it is said, if the church only welcomed perfect people, we wouldn’t be members. We can all be imperfect together.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Pulling Back The Green Curtain Part 12

As we come to an end, is there anything new? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’ll try to decide which of the last 66 “facts” I think are relevant today. He says that if you rape a female slave, you owe the temple a ram and you will be forgiven. The slave will receive a severe beating and whipping for no reason. His reference is Lev. 19:20-21.

Let’s see what the passage says.

20 “ ‘If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed. 21 The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the tent of meeting for a guilt offering to the LORD. 22 With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the LORD for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven. 

First off, nothing is mentioned about rape. Could it include rape? Perhaps, but it just says sleep. Nothing is said about if this is consensual or not. Since it says they are not to be put to death, I am leaning towards consensual. However, there is absolutely nothing here about beating or whipping. I have no idea where Hall got this unless he just didn’t read the text.

Hall then says this in another fact.

If there was a god and it wrote a book, I would expect it to be perfect in every way. Clearly written. Accessible to everyone. Easily understandable. Promoting peace and love. If there were no god, I would expect humans to create lots of books then say they were written by God. I would expect the books to be full of internal contradictions. And the books would not agree with each other at all. They would contain a haphazard collection of personal stories, letters, vague parables and admonitions. The stories and instructions would be open to multiple conflicting interpretations. They would contain good moral teachings, but they would also have passages of violence, intolerance and hatred. Which scenario lines up with reality?

This sounds convincing to a lot of people, but what evidence does Hall give that this should be so. Is God supposed to control culture and language to such a degree that nothing ever changes whatsoever? Is every word supposed to be magically clear to every culture and the context just magically beamed into our heads? Would this even work anyway? Would some people still just say “Fine, but I don’t care. I would rather have my wealth and sexual pleasures.”? Hall lives in a world where he doesn’t believe and wants to blame God for Hall’s own refusal to do his research and homework. Why is that atheists always tell us that the wonder of science is we get a question and say “Let’s find out!” but when it comes to religion, God is supposed to just give us all the answers upfront?

He says Moses once kidnapped 32,000 virgins and points to Numbers 31. Yes. These were people who had gone out of their way to visit Israel and entice them to break their covenant with YHWH by even their own women selling themselves into prostitution. Israel was not bothering these people and was not a threat to them. Why were the virgins spared? Not for rape purposes, as anyone who participated in battle had to be outside of the camp for a time for purification, but because the virgins were not involved. These girls were likely adopted into Israelite culture then. It’s amazing. When God kills everyone, atheists complain. When He spares anyone, atheists still complain.

He says that for 700 years, no one who was doing exquisite torture doubted their actions were not justified by the Bible. Hall doesn’t tell us when these 700 years were. Without that, I have nothing to go by really.

He says that if God is outside of space and time, then He cannot interact with us because He is paralyzed. He says movement in space requires time and motion is the change of the position of an object with respect to time. Amazing that no philosopher has ever thought to address this. The problem is that Hall has given no real reason to believe this. If a being created space and time, why think He is bound by them. Hall gives no evidence about non-material beings. How did He come across this data anyway that he is presenting?

He says the number of the beast is 616. Is this supposed to be a new fact? I actually agree with him. What of it?

He has the typical knock knock joke with Jesus as the door saying He wants to save you. From what? From what He’ll do if you don’t let Him in. This argument assumes that mankind is innocent and has no need of a savior whatsoever. Hall gives no reason to think that and most of us by personal experience know we have done things wrong. If Hall thinks himself an exception, I have even more reason to be concerned about him.

He also has something about the command in Deuteronomy to stone children. Of course, Hall never does bother to study a passage. If it’s supposed to be news to us, it’s not. I have already written about it here.

He says when judgment day comes, stars will fall out of the sky and land on the Earth and then mockingly says this God-breathed book doesn’t even know what stars are. Well, this internet atheist who thinks he knows enough to write a book doesn’t even know what apocalyptic language is and doesn’t realize that political events are spoken of in cosmic terms. It is by genre not literal. Be patient with Jimmy. He needs to avoid that contrary thought so he won’t experience cognitive dissonance.

With fact 635, he does mention several problems in atheistic communities such as Madalyn Murray O’Hair being murdered by a former employee. Amusingly, he also mentions Richard Carrier being banned from a number of atheist conventions. Hey. 665 facts against the other side. Maybe Hall is feeling generous.

He goes to and says there are 4,200 religions on Earth. Color me skeptical, but okay. He then says Christianity has 41,000 denominations. This isn’t the result of an omnipotent deity, but of a group of people afraid of the unknown and death. I have no idea how he got to the last point, but the point about denominations is just wrong. Even Catholic apologists are now pointing this one out.

He cites the end of Matthew 2 saying Jesus will be called a Nazarene which is embarrassing since the Old Testament never mentions Nazareth. Indeed, it doesn’t. Hall doesn’t notice that this is the one place Matthew mentions a fulfillment and uses the plural. I think this is to mean the prophets said Jesus would be a shameful figure. There could also be a pun here as the word for Nazarene can be related to a branch which would mean Jesus is the Messiah, the branch of David.

He says no serious Bible scholar believes that Revelation is future. Well, I would say several likely do. I think they are wrong, but that is beside the point. He also says it was written to give people hope that Jesus would come back and save them from the Romans. That’s not referred to either in the book, although justice does come on Rome and Jerusalem as well. I really wonder how Hall reads Revelation.

Actually, I’m wondering at this point if he reads anything.

He says over 50 million people have been murdered by Catholicism, yet of the instances he gives, they only number 1,480,000. That’s still too many, and I even question those reports, but that is a far cry from 50 million. It’s likely he’s repeating bogus atheist history that is not taken seriously anymore by historians.

He says Jesus didn’t think of Himself as God because he asked “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” Swing and a miss again. Jesus is not receiving a compliment directly, something that would bind him in that culture to the giver of the compliment, but checking the devotion of the questioner. “You say I am good? If you think that, then you are treating me as if I am God. Are you ready for that?” There was no denial of this. He is saying either He is good and He is God or He is not good in which why listen to Him?

It’s worth noting He goes on in that passage to say that the disciples will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes. This likely goes back to Jesus since it says twelve and we all know Judas apostasized. Simple question. Where is Jesus going to sit? Jesus could only be sitting on the throne of the Son of Man over the twelve apostles, quite a high view of Himself there.

He says that there are 16 disciples named when there are supposed to be twelve. He says that people did have more than one name, but if they didn’t get the names right, what else did they get wrong? But if someone has more than one name, they did get the names right. It would be acceptable to use either one of them.

Nothing more goes on in this book. In closing, Hall is just someone who really should give up writing about Christianity. He is woefully uninformed. That being said, I hope he doesn’t. He will keep making his fellow atheists more and more uninformed and doing more damage to atheism. Thank God that Jim Hall is writing books. He’s doing more damage to the atheist community than many of my fellow apologists are.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/7/2019

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Most of us love the superhero films. What’s amazing about that is how the special effects have changed over the years. In the old Superman TV shows sometimes, when Superman would fly, they would turn him into a cartoon. When the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve came out, we were told you will believe a man can fly.

The special effects have changed because technology has changed. I remember the Matrix being groundbreaking in what it was doing and now it’s seen as commonplace. Nowadays, people on YouTube are making their own unique videos at home. It was a wonder when Disney was doing so awesome in their animated movies and now they’re going to live-action films.

This effects us in more than entertainment options. I have a steel rod on my spine due to scoliosis surgery. This would not have been doable I think 100 years ago. We have so many medical procedures that can be done. We carry tools in our pockets that can access the knowledge of the world, which we, of course, use to argue with strangers and look at pictures of cats.

Yet movies have also shown us what could be even more. The Matrix pictured a world where you don’t have to study martial arts. It is instead downloaded into your brain. Others like Ghost in the Shell and Iron Man have even more merging of men with technology.

The classic game Final Fantasy VI warned of a war that had taken place 1,000 years prior when some people had used magic and now, some were wanting to awaken that tool again and what would happen? We can scoff at magic today, but can technology be equally dangerous? We have the capacity to destroy our planet multiple times over now. What else can we do? What else will we do? Should we be concerned about human upgrades?

My guest is coming on to talk about these issues. We have a good relationship here at Deeper Waters with Reasons To Believe. He is one of the co-authors of their recent book Humans 2.0 and is coming to discuss the ramifications of transhumanism. His name is Fuz Rana and he will be my guest Saturday.

So who is he?

Fazale Rana is the vice president of research and apologetics at Reasons to Believe. He is the author of several groundbreaking books, including Who Was Adam, Creating Life in the Lab, The Cell’s Design and Dinosaur Blood and the Age of the Earth. He holds a PhD in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry from Ohio University.

We’ll be talking about the book and transhumanism. Is it all bad? Is it all good? Are we playing God? How should we approach this? What does it mean to be a human?

We are rapidly working on uploading past episodes. I hope to be all caught up before the month is over. Please keep watching your podcast feed.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Pulling Back The Green Curtain Part 11

As we get closer to the end, what more will we find? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We start out with the 1 Cor. 14 passage about women being silent in church. Obviously, Hall thinks his audience hasn’t read the Bible and doesn’t know what’s in it. Any discussion on how some scholars think this is a textual variant not original to Paul? Nope. Any look at any commentaries and meanings of this passage? Nope. This is the kind of low content we expect from Hall. Those curious are recommended to check my interview with Lynn Cohick on this.

He refers to wars between Arabs and Christians and uses Nigeria as an example with 20,000 being killed in God’s name since 1990. Nothing is said about the regimes of Mao, Stalin, or Pol-Pot of course who have done far more, but hey, details. Who needs them?

He asks pastors to stop using Hosea 11:1 in Matthew “Out of Egypt, I called my Son” as a prophecy of Jesus. As per the first entry of today, nothing is said about the ways that texts were interpreted in the times of the apostles. Nothing is said about pesher or midrash. In Matthew’s day, this would have been acceptable. Just as in the past, YHWH called His son Israel out of Egypt, so He does with Jesus as Jesus relives the experiences of Israel.

As if predicting my reply to the 20,000 killed above, he asks how many are killed in the name of atheism. Sadly, he goes the usual route that those were politically motivated and weren’t done in the name of atheism. Yes. It was just a coincidence that they were killing Christians and dynamiting churches. They get a free pass since it wasn’t done in the name of atheism.

He also says atheism is just the lack of a belief. This doesn’t fly at all. If that’s the case, Hall is just giving us his personal psychology and not a worldview. Second, supposing God does exist. In that case, theism and atheism could be true in that theism which says God exists would be true and what is supposed to be its negative since a in front of theism negates it would also be true as atheists who hold to atheism could still exist. Also, I doubt Hall would accept it if I just said “Oh. I hold to theism as I have God belief, but that doesn’t mean I’m claiming anything about reality.”

I also want to suggest what two atheist philosophers say should be taken seriously.

He then says that the same God who said do not kill. The references are the Ten Commandments and Exodus 32:27. Had Hall done a couple of minutes of research on a site like Blue Letter Bible and looked up the words, he would have known they were different words in Hebrew. Alas, that’s not doable for Hall. We dare not research lest we find out we are wrong and we can’t welcome contrary thought.

He makes statements about the Sea of Galilee such as it’s not really a sea and the storms can’t get life threatening. I have seen David Fitzgerald make such a claim before and thankfully, I asked my friend Greg Monette who has been to Israel many times about it.

” The lake is huge. If you google it you will find the dimensions. It’s also in a valley. If you’ve ever been to Galilee the mountains surround it and the wind rushes down. Only someone who hasn’t been to Galilee region would say such a thing. I’ve been on the lake with waves that were at least 3-4 feet high. That was in a big boat. Now make that an ancient fishing boat similar to the one at the Yigal Allon Nof Ginosar Boat Museum where they found the first century fishing boat and it would be very difficult to navigate that boat in the water with saves even 3 feet high and wind blowing hard. There are dozens of windsurfers surfing on Galilee every day in the summertime because the wind is so strong. “

Hall also says you can believe someone walked on water or you can grow up. Yes. Because obviously anyone who believes in miracles just is still stunted in their growth. We’ll see what happens if the big bad adult Hall ever gets the guts to go through works like Craig Keener’s or Candy Gunther Brown’s.

He claims Dionysus was born of a virgin on December 25th, turned water into wine, made a triumphant entry on a donkey, and was killed, resurrected, and bodily ascended into heaven. He has citations, but no page numbers, but having seen many such claims before, I really don’t take them seriously and I have no wish to scour through a whole book looking for them. The only one I think is accurate is that he turned water into wine, fitting for the god of wine.

He says the Didache didn’t make it in the Bible because of the embarrassing fact it doesn’t mention Jesus or the resurrection. Hmmm. That does sound embarrassing. What would be even more embarrassing is if one was to, oh, I don’t know, go to a website and look up the Didache and do a search for Jesus.

Chapter 9. The Eucharist. Now concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. First, concerning the cup:

We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever..

And concerning the broken bread:

We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever..

But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs.”

Chapter 10. Prayer after Communion. But after you are filled, give thanks this way:

We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which You didst cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You modest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Thou, Master almighty, didst create all things for Thy name’s sake; You gavest food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us You didst freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant. Before all things we thank Thee that You are mighty; to Thee be the glory for ever. Remember, Lord, Thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in Thy love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for Thy kingdom which Thou have prepared for it; for Thine is the power and the glory for ever. Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the God (Son) of David! If any one is holy, let him come; if any one is not so, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.

Or resurrection, such as at the end of the last chapter.

And third, the resurrection of the dead — yet not of all, but as it is said: “The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him.” Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.

Obviously, Hall did no fact-checking whatsoever. If we cannot trust him on claims we can verify easily, why should we trust him on ones we cannot, such as ones about Dionysus?

He quotes 1 Corinthians 1:19 saying I will destroy human wisdom and discard their most brilliant ideas. He doesn’t even realize Paul is being sarcastic at this point talking about the sophists of his time and how they didn’t really have wisdom. Hall does no research whatsoever.

He says Judas was a good guy and not a traitor. Why? The Gospel of Judas. Never doubt the ability of skeptics to question the closest testimonies we have to the source but give whole-hearted endorsement to the ones that come over a century later.

He says a prophet once asked another to cut him down. The second prophet refused and was killed by a lion for it. Had Hall actually read the text, he would have known the first prophet did not ask to be killed. He asked to be struck.

He points to Joshua 11:6 about hamstringing horses which he describes as torture. This would actually be done to prevent their enemies from using them and thus stopping the loss of more human life. Again, Hall doesn’t bother to look at why something was done. He just says “I don’t like it” and that shows it’s wrong.

Next time, I hope to go through the remaining 66 *cough* facts *cough*.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Pulling Back The Green Curtain Part 10

What more nonsense shall we find in Jim Hall’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So let’s jump back in with fact #482.

“Philosophy is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat. Metaphysics is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there. Religion is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there, and shouting “I found it!” Science is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat with a flashlight.”

Unfortunately, none of this is scientific and is actually very philosophical and specifically metaphysical since he’s making a statement about the nature of reality. As for religion, it is never defined. These are just little platitudes that Hall throws out, something Boghossian would call a deepity, aside from the fact that they agree with him.

He says Adam and Eve were innocent since they would not have known right from wrong. What Hall misses is good and evil is a merism and is referring to wisdom and not moral knowledge. Adam and Eve were trying to make themselves the center of wisdom rather than YHWH.

He then has a list of people who you will be in hell with if you choose to deny Jesus, which includes a list of famous people from past to present. Well, if Hall wants to go that route, he’s free to do so. I think I’ll just choose something that I think has been shown to be true, unlike about 99% of the “facts” in Hall’s book.

He says the book of Philemon gave tacit approval of slavery. Quite the opposite. He expected Philemon to do what was right, return Onesimus to his household and treat him like a brother. He also added he would be visiting soon to make sure that this would have happened and this was a letter that would have been read publicly at Philemon’s house. This was one of the main books that helped bring an end to slavery.

While not a fact, he gives this quote.

“You’re allowed to believe in a god. You’re allowed to believe unicorns live in your shoes for all I care. But the day you start telling me how to wear my shoes so I don’t upset the unicorns, I have a problem with you. The day you start involving the unicorns in making decisions for this country, I have a BIG problem with you.” – Matthew Shultz

When I first found this, I had to look up who this guy is and the closest I could get is someone in a band. If this is the response, then I can say you’re allowed to disbelieve in god. You’re allowed to proclaim it from the rooftops. You’re allowed to be offended by my disagreement, but as soon as you use your offense to start controlling what I should do publicly, I have a BIG problem with you.

I really don’t care if Shultz has a problem with me. It’s his problem. It’s not mine.

He has a fake dialogue set up between an atheist and a theist where everything the theist says the atheist says “That’s what believers of every religion say.” Really? Every religion says Jesus rose from the dead? If he wants to talk about their holy books, by all means bring them forward. Let’s compare them. Note that Hall won’t do this. That requires doing research and study and he can’t handle the cognitive dissonance.

He has a section on Giordano Bruno and how he got burned at the stake for his beliefs, including ones about science. It is quite certain that Hall has never read anything by Bruno on science. It is even more certain he has never studied this topic since this has been answered ad infinitum by even atheists. Jimmy. I would recommend you read History for Atheists, but I know how you are about contrary thought.

The story of Jephthah shows up. There is much to explain in this one. I find it easier to just link to this video on it.

He has a series of claims about the Salem Witch Trials. Unfortunately, none of them have any documentation. Until they do, I have no reason to take them seriously considering how much “research” Hall has been shown to do already.

Naturally, Jeffrey Dahmer is brought up. I don’t understand atheists having a problem with this. First God is a tyrant when He judges people. Then, when He forgives people, He’s still in the wrong. My thoughts on Dahmer can be found here.

Hall then talks about freedom of religion and then says you can’t use religion to discriminate and forbid goods and services to certain members of the population. Why not? If I have a good or a service, it is mine to decide what I want to do with it. No one else is entitled to my good or service against my will. If the government can force me to do otherwise, what else can they force me to do with my goods and services? Even though some of us might like the outcome as something we think as good, the means to get there is a very dangerous one.

He also says that it’s amazing that the more we see science explaining things, the less we see of things like miracles. Of course, this is avoiding anything by Craig Keener. It’s also avoiding the research of Candy Gunther Brown on prayer. Hall doesn’t see these things because he’s not looking for them.

It looks like the further we get in this book, the more Hall begins grasping at straws and the less there is to say about anything. Hopefully next time we will see more, but I’m not holding my breath. Hall has never demonstrated much of a penchant for doing actual research.

In Christ,
Nick Peters