Book Plunge: Obsessed with Blood Part 3

What about the Exodus? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

(I normally would write on Monday-Friday, but yesterday, I had a really bad stomach bug and was out of action. Writing today instead.)

So we start here with talk about the Exodus and how there’s no evidence of it happening. Of course, we’re not told what kind of evidence a group wandering in the desert for just 40 years building no long-term residences is supposed to leave behind. I’m also not sure what this has to do with being obsessed with blood, but that’s atheists for you.

Baker then talks about how God left His people in slavery for 400 years. Yes. And? God owed getting them out sooner? Perhaps they needed to be a more numerous people so they could retake the land and so they could avoid being overcome by enemies in the wilderness? Objections based on evil always seem to go “I can’t think of a good reason why God would do this, therefore God doesn’t exist.”

He talks about how God apparently couldn’t figure out who was loyal to Him and who wasn’t. He needed to see blood on their doorframes. However, a person from an ancient culture would naturally think that if you really were committed to your deity, you would do that by an action. “Yes. I believe God will judge the wicked and save His people, but I just don’t care to paint my doorframe.”

The next chapter is about sin and he gives the story about meeting a girl he wants to marry and says “Suppose I say you can either marry me or I will throw you into a fire and burn you forever and ever.” So many atheists share this as if this is an accurate picture. It’s more the case of “Suppose you are on death row and I give you a free pardon if you will be loyal to me and serve me? Do you take it?” The objection assumes that people are innocent, when just turning on the nightly news will show that we are not.

He then says the Bible takes this further saying that all those who have never heard the good news by default are condemned to Hell.

Strange. There’s no citation for that. Well, maybe it’s not that strange. I have my own thoughts on that here.

He also tells us that Noah had a menage a trois with his daughters. He says it’s funny how God didn’t figure this would happen. What’s even more funny is I don’t remember that happening at all in the story. There’s not even mention I know of of Noah having daughters.

Now you could say he is talking about Lot and his daughters, but that’s part of the problem. If I can’t trust Baker to do his research on something that is so basic and simple as this, why should I trust him with other stuff that I can’t check? Also, the story is recorded. There’s no indication God did not know it would happen, and it is an indication of how depraved Lot’s daughters had become in Sodom.

The next chapter is long, so we’ll save that for another time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)




Book Plunge: Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening The Muslim World?

What is happening in the Muslim world? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I really want to tell you a lot about what is in this book. I really do. The problem is that I think as soon as I tell you a story, I am going to be spoiling something great in the book that you will enjoy. This is a powerful book full of hope and I don’t want to ruin that for you.

Basically, what is happening in the Muslim world is dreams and visions of Jesus. One noted example not in this book, but recorded in his own book, is Nabeel Qureshi, who started having dreams about Jesus before he became a Christian. These dreams are so prevalent that some ads are being taken out in papers overseas with a picture of Jesus and saying that if you have seen this man in a dream, here’s who to call.

Normally, what happens also in these dreams is Jesus appears, but then someone else will come along, who either Jesus in the dreams has said would come along and are described, or there is no description and the dream recipient finds someone they think they can trust. In the end, many of these people become Christians. These can sometimes be some of the people who are hardest against Christianity. This could even include people in an organization like Hamas.

And usually, these people are ready to die for Jesus.

I read this book a chapter a day like I usually do with books and found it quite powerful. What I would regularly do at the end of a chapter, and I encourage you to do so as well, is to stop then and pray a prayer for the people involved in the chapter. This book will give you a sense of excitement in what is going on in the Muslim world.

Not only this, but the author also gives you tips on how to communicate with Muslims. He understands the hesitancy that a lot of people have with Muslims. He used to have it. You hear stories in the news about Muslim terrorists and it’s easy to assume all Muslims are like that. Probably about 10% of Muslims in the world are according to the author. The rest are probably people you wouldn’t mind having as neighbors. They just want to live their lives peacefully.

Islam may seem to be growing, but in many cases, this is because of birth rate. Muslims have a lot of children. However, these dreams could be indicating that something is happening in the Muslim world as more and more people are leaving and becoming devout Christians.

Story after story left me amazed and again, I really don’t know what I could share from this book without spoiling it. It’s not often I get a book any more and I am more and more excited to see what the next chapter is, but this was one such exception. Please be praying for the Muslim world and those doing Christian work to evangelize over there. God is at work among Muslims and we should want to take part in it.

Get your copy of the book here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


What can do you do if the world looks down on you? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The time with the family for Christmas is over and today, I flew back to New Orleans. As I write this, I am sitting in my own apartment. Shiro is still a bit apprehensive, but he’s getting there. I have got to pet him some and when I went to take my shower, he was right there waiting when I opened the door.

My folks took me to the airport and from there, everything was all me. I had booked my flight in advance and paid for it all and I was the one handling the details. As I was flying out and looking out the window, I began thinking about the past and what all had been said.

You see, when I was growing up, it was apparent that I was different in a way. Sure, there were positives, but there were concerns. Hardly anyone could understand me when I spoke and my diet was super finicky and my social skills were poor. As readers of this blog know, the diagnosis that came back was Autism.

Keep in mind when I say what I say that I realize I am high-functioning. I know there are degrees. I know various people can handle various things. Because I do X, it doesn’t mean everyone can, but for some, I do hope to give them, well, hope.

My parents were told that I would never graduate from high school or go to college or drive a car or hold a regular job or get married. I would never live on my own. I would have to stay with my parents forever. One doctor even wanted to keep me in a hospital on feeding tubes. My mother rejected that entirely and said he was never to come near me ever again.

As I was flying back on the plane today and looking out the window, I thought about all of that. I remember my mother telling me about going to my middle school beforehand and climbing the stairs because I was dreadfully afraid of staircases. I told my mother I had to do this. I wanted to do this.

I’ve made it a point to overcome challenges. When I was in high school, while most students were leaning how to drive, I was learning how to walk. Why? Because I had scoliosis surgery and naturally, there was a time when I could not really move that much. I had to have someone help me carry my bags for at least a year.

Eventually, I did everything that they said that I wouldn’t do. Right now I am in seminary and my professors would tell you I’m excelling. I was on the plane flying from Knoxville to Chicago and then to New Orleans.

I remember looking out the window again and thinking about how I seem to blend in well with the world and thought “It’s like I belong here”, and I thought, “But of course I do.” This is my Father’s world after all and one reason He made it is for His children to enjoy it.

Then I thought about what I could say today about that. How many children are not given hope? How many parents are told their children will not be able to do XYZ? A lot of the greatest people in the world today are the ones who said “No” back to the “experts” and defied expectations.

Autism is not necessarily a death sentence. It doesn’t have to be. If you have a child on the spectrum, don’t give up hope. Find out what they do well at, and encourage them in it. My own path was to take my love of Christianity, which I never would have dreamed landed me flying around the country and living over 600 miles away from my own parents and managing a budget, working a job, driving a car, and everything else alone.

I’m thankful my parents never treated it as a death sentence for me. It’s a shame so many people still do.

Don’t be one of them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Obsessed with Blood Part 2

Is the beginning bloody? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re returning to Barnaby Baker’s book now and we’ll be taking a few chapters on. There’s not much in the second chapter aside from animal sacrifices to provide clothing for Adam and Eve. Next we get to Cain and Abel. Baker insists that the reason Abel’s sacrifice was accepted is that it had blood in it.

As Baker says:

Let’s examine this nasty little scenario a little further. God had favor on Abel’s offering because, you guessed it, blood was involved in his offering! Yet it was Cain who was actually being fully obedient to the deal, but his offering did not involve shedding blood, so God did not respect it.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (p. 31). Kindle Edition.

Just before this, Baker says that Cain toiled hard the ground. Meanwhile, Abel walked around with some animals and watched them eat grass. Yes. That’s obviously all that there is to shepherding. It’s just walking around with animals and petting them.

He then quotes Matthew Henry speaking about the character of Cain which, yes, seems to make a lot out of little information. Baker says:

Talk about jumping to conclusions! Cain was a wicked man? Living a life where everything he did was an abomination to God? How they surmise all this from this brief Bible passage about Cain is nothing short of miraculous! Sure Cain went on to do a bad thing, but I propose this was actually God’s fault. Rejection causes people to act and do things they never would otherwise.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (pp. 32-33). Kindle Edition.

It’s wrong to make reactions based on a little information, unless it’s about God and then it’s totally fine. Also, rejection can make people prone to do things they would never do otherwise. It does not cause them or force them. Besides this, when God speaks to Cain in the narrative (He never speaks to Abel), He tells him to do what is right and that sin is crouching at the door.

Cain’s problem was a heart issue. It was not the nature of the offering. We see this because he was the one who killed Abel. What has to be in your heart to murder your own brother?

As we move on, the next chapter talks about Abraham and the origins of circumcision. When the story starts talking about Abraham and Hagar, Baker says this is another case of great family values in the Bible. In this case, slavery and rape.

Except the Bible never endorses this act and no, it was not rape due to Hagar being a concubine. As for slavery, Baker says that is for another book so we will leave it for that. The Bible does not indicate we are to imitate every behavior we see even from the “good guys.” They are recorded for us to learn from just as much as their righteous deeds are.

Baker goes on to say:

Imagine being the first guy to be told about circumcision! I can see it now, Abraham comes home from speaking with God and calls all the guys of the household together and says, guys, I have some good news and some bad news… The good news is that I am going to have another son!

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (p. 45). Kindle Edition.

Baker gives no evidence that circumcision came about here. It’s most certain that it didn’t and instead arose in Egypt. However, as with most instances of internet atheism, never let evidence get in the way of a good tirade.

When he gets to the sacrifice of Isaac, we read

Of course when reading this story you have to put aside the fact that it contradicts what James 1:13 and 1 Corinthians 10:13; which tell us that God does not tempt or test us.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (p. 46). Kindle Edition.

So let’s look at these passages.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13

Let’s see. Nothing there that says that.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; James 1:13.

Nothing here says God cannot test. It only means that He cannot tempt.

Baker also concludes saying that this is the cause of three major religions warring against one another. Well, last I checked, Christians and Jews aren’t exactly taking up arms against each other that often. It’s more the case of Islam, and considering how poorly many take their faith today, I suspect there’s much more on their minds.

We’ll continue another time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)







God Came Down

Merry Christmas.

What does Christmas mean?

Christmas is about the time that God entered into our world in the most personal sense, that of a human being. This wasn’t just a temporary appearance. This was beginning as a zygote and then naturally going through a gestation process and coming out of the birth canal of Mary and living life as a baby. This would be a baby who would need to have his diaper changed and be cradled and everything else.

At this point, I also want to clarify what I mean when I say that God came down. A lot of people who are anti-Trinitarians assume that if you say God, you mean a being who is unipersonal and if you say Jesus is God, you’re either saying Jesus is the Father or that Jesus is the Trinity. What is meant is that a person who fully possesses the nature of God became a man. It’s just a lot easier to say “Jesus is God” every time.

This is something unthinkable to Muslims. You mean God pooped? Yes. God fully took on the human experience. He had to eat and drink and sleep. He got His feet sore walking on the streets. He worked up a sweat and got callouses on His hands and had body odor.

To many, this seems unthinkable, and let’s face it. There’s a point to that. It is incredible to think of God doing something like this. Not only to do all of the above, but to end with dying on a cross in the greatest act of shame at the time. He was abandoned and rejected by those closest to Him.

It sounds odd to think of humility on the part of God, but that is what we have. We see it in the great hymn of Philippians 2. We see Jesus not clinging to glory, but taking on the form of a slave. We see God going to the greatest lengths to bring about salvation to man.

Revelation 12 actually depicts the incarnation taking place. We think of Christmas as a happy time, and it is, but the original wasn’t. In the original story, Herod goes and has children killed to make sure that he has no competition. It wasn’t a happy time.

Christmas is when the battle became personal. Christmas is when God entered into the world directly. In a war, the last thing the enemy would expect is for the ultimate head of the army to march out on the battlefield and engage the enemy himself. However, this is exactly what happens in the Christmas story.

It is always amusing to see the people who are so adamant about how evil it is to celebrate Christmas because of alleged pagan origins. Even if that argument was true, so what? No one today is doing this to celebrate a pagan deity, but to celebrate Jesus. If you can’t celebrate Messiah coming into the world, what can you celebrate? That’s what I celebrate today. I celebrate the virgin birth, which I do affirm. I celebrate the incarnation.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


A Brief Defense of the Virgin Birth (Which I do affirm)

What can be said to defend the virgin birth? (Which I do affirm) Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There seems to be an inevitability that when atheists bring forth accounts meant to embarrass Christianity, one of them is the virgin birth. (Which I do affirm.) It is acted as if we now know better that it takes sex to make a baby, despite that if you read the whole Old Testament, it looks like they discovered the correlation pretty quickly. When I meet people like this who like to point out that “We know better”, I ask them when it was that we discovered that it takes sex to make babies.

Technically, we no longer even have to have it that way thanks to IVF procedures. As Catholic thinker Jennifer Roback Morse said once, we wanted to have sex without babies, and now we are having babies without sex, which she is sure is not as much fun as the traditional way. That’s just a fun aside.

So first off atheists out there, please learn that when you say something is nonsense, you are assuming that on your worldview it is. If atheism was true, then yes, miracles would be nonsense, but to start out with that assumption is begging the question. If you want to disprove miracles, you might actually have to, gasp, disprove miracles.

So let’s look at some specific data on the virgin birth, which I do affirm, accounts.

First, it needs to be addressed why this is not mentioned by Paul, which that question is the whole origin of my repeated emphasis on the virgin birth, which I do affirm. Paul would not need to mention this since he was not writing a biography of Jesus. In a high-context society, this would be background knowledge.

So now let’s look at the Gospels. I don’t think Mark would mention it because his account is the account of Peter which would include everything Peter was able to witness. Peter was not there at the virgin birth, which I do affirm. However, Mark 6 speaks of Jesus as the son of Mary and not Joseph, which could be a veiled reference.

As for John, there is a possibility that when John 1 speaks of someone being born not of natural descent, human decision, or a husband’s will, it could be referring to the virgin birth. (Which I do affirm.) John is more emphasizing the full deity of Christ. He wants to jump straight to the life of Jesus to demonstrate that.

But don’t the accounts of Matthew and Luke contradict? Even if we granted that, that’s hardly the best way to have a virgin birth (Which I do affirm) account. It would have been easier for the church to just reject one Gospel or go with the Diatessaron which was an attempt by Tatian to combine all the Gospels into one.

It also seems strange that both writers would go to what are thought to be extreme conditions to get the child born in Bethlehem when they could have just avoided that altogether. They did, putting themselves open for attack. Also, if both of them were practically identical, we would have heard collusion instead.

So what about something like Luke’s census? The reality is that there are numerous responses to this. Luke is highly accurate in many areas so it seems strange he would invent a whole census across the Roman Empire no one heard of for a story. There are numerous suggestions such as that the census was the one that took place before the time of Quirinius. It is possible that there was a census that took place in various shifts. I don’t have a firm hypothesis I go with, but that there is one shows this is not unsurmountable.

Didn’t pagans have virgin births? Not really. Usually, there’s something else going on that makes it clear that a god is getting his business on with a lady. One lady has a golden shower falling over here. Alexander the Great’s mother had a dream involving a thunderbolt hitting her womb and we can question if Philip was one who wanted to avoid pre-marital sex. As for Mithras, well, technically I suppose it was a virgin birth. That rock that he popped out of fully grown quite likely never had sex.

Not only this, but the early church was extremely resistant to paganism. In examining garbage in ancient Jerusalem, it is noticed that it is after 70 AD that we find pigs’ bones showing up. It’s also highly unlikely that Matthew in wanting to explain the birth of Jesus would want to risk implicating YHWH Himself in the affair. It would not do a favor to Jesus to give an account of His birth that could seem remotely pagan.

Keep in mind that they could have done what Mark and John did and just avoided it. If anything, by addressing it, they were implicitly acknowledging that Jesus was viewed as illegitimate, hardly a good trait for a Messiah. For some reason, they did face it.

Also, consider what is said in Luke 1. Jesus will be given the throne of His father David and will reign over His kingdom forever and it will have no end. Many skeptics date Luke to after 70 AD so let’s go with that for the sake of argument. Any Jewish reader at the time who wasn’t a Christian would say “That never happened! Jerusalem was destroyed! He wasn’t given a kingdom!”

Yet that is what Luke said, which is hardly something he would say if he thought it could be easily disproven. Now a Christian will understand how that was fulfilled and before 70 AD, it would be a lot easier to make that claim. So either it’s more likely that Luke was early or that Luke included material that could be seen as embarrassing.

All of this is something brief. I really recommend those wanting more go and read the classical defenses, especially J. Gresham Machen. It was a long time ago, but it’s still really good.

Merry Christmas everyone! Let’s celebrate the virgin birth, which I do affirm, of our Lord.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Christmas Eve Thoughts

How has Christmas Eve changed? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am writing this early seeing as I am going to be going back to see my parents for Christmas this year. This leaves me thinking first about Christmas Eve. For me, there was a tradition to call someone in the family on Christmas Eve and be the first to say “Christmas gift!” I don’t remember where this started and why, but I have known it as long as I can remember and enjoy being the first.

Christmas Eve was often about getting together with friends and family. We used to get together with another family my mother helped out when she was younger so we were practically adopted into their family. We have stopped going though, but not because of bad blood. I do remember the last time I went though was when I walked in with my now ex-wife and announced our engagement.

After that, we went to my aunt’s house and when we walked in, everyone had a pile of presents. It was my grandmother, my aunt, my cousins, my parents, and any significant others. There were real gifts given, and then there were some gifts that we considered so bad we called out “Who would want it?!”

We no longer do that in our family. It’s not because of bad blood. It’s because my grandmother and my aunt and her husband have all died now. Things are just no longer the same. Ironically, I think I, the one who the “experts” said would do the least with my life, am the one who is furthest away. Everyone else as far as I know now has stayed in Tennessee.

In the past when I lived in North Carolina or Georgia, it was a bit tedious, but I could easily drive back to Tennessee. This is the first year I will actually be flying back. Last year, we did everything through the Amazon Echo my parents and I both have. I had one already and gifted them one when I left so we could stay in touch that way and they could see me.

Last year, my folks wanted to make sure that I had enough money for my education, their first priority. This year, before I even head back, I have already been given two gifts by people I know here on campus who know I am going back. I also went to the campus Christmas party.

Christmas has changed, and I have changed with it. As a young boy growing up, Christmas Eve was about the gifts. It was incredible to walk in on Christmas Eve and see all those gifts for me. Now would it be nice to still get a lot like that? Sure. Who doesn’t like getting a gift?

I have an Amazon wish list (In case anyone is feeling generous), but I honestly have no idea what my family is getting me and it’s not the biggest deal to me. I will likely be fine with whatever I get. I also enjoy giving the gifts. My mother recently told me about how she got a package from me that has her Christmas gift in it, indicated on the package, and was telling a friend about it. She told her friend that I don’t usually ask what people want. I just get them what I think they would like or what I think they need. It actually works well for me as most people love their gifts and I love seeing them get them.

Yet what about my Christian views. Those changed too. Now the gifts really aren’t the main thing as I said. It’s remember why we’re here and spending that time with the people in my life. I will likely spend this Christmas season with my family, probably playing Trivial Pursuit with my Dad a few times, and watching Christmas movies and various clips on YouTube and other such things.

While a lot with Christmas has changed and I have changed, Christ has not changed. He is still the same and always will be. I spend plenty of time arguing with people who insist Christmas is pagan. They have a low view of redemption. Even if it was, which it wasn’t, Jesus still redeems it.

So when I get together, whatever anyone might think, no pagan god is being celebrated. Jesus is being celebrated. He always will be.

I hope you all enjoy the Christmas season and please do consider Deeper Waters for end-of-the-year giving. There is a link on the blog post below to become a member of Patreon. Please consider it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Christianity Is Not About A Personal Relationship

Does it damage the faith to say Christianity is about a personal relationship with Jesus? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was recently asked on a Facebook where I commented and said I don’t use personal relationship terminology when talking about Christianity why I don’t. It’s a reasonable question. After all, isn’t Christianity about having a personal relationship with Jesus? Is God impersonal? Isn’t He a Father and we children?

The problem is that when people use this kind of terminology, it actually tends to become a Christianity about them. This gets us to the first problem that originally Christianity wasn’t just me doing Christianity on my own. It was a community. It was the community coming together and supporting one another. We make it highly individualistic.

From there, we add in a number of other notions. God has a specific plan for our lives and we have to find out what that plan is. God wants us to have a specific job, go to a specific school, and marry a specific person. We need to key in so we can find out what God’s plan for our life is.

When someone tells me they want to know what God’s will for their life is, I always tell them I can save them the search. I know what it is. It’s simple. God’s will is to conform you to the likeness of Christ. About the only pushback I think some Christians could give is some Calvinists would say not all have that destiny, but for all Christians, yeah. That’s the goal.

Christianity gradually becomes about what God is doing for you and really helping you reach your personal goals. This even extends all the way to the end of evangelism in many of our attempts. What is the question that we are to ask people. Where are you going to do when you die? Yep. The whole goal of Christianity is to get to Heaven, and as I have said elsewhere, God is there by the way if you’re into that kind of thing.

Overall, something we miss is that Jesus is our king. It’s my understanding that some people are misusing the term Christ is king for something else right now in political conflicts in the Middle East, but there is one way all Christians should agree. Christ is indeed king over everyone. He’s king over all races, languages, nations, and tribes. Everyone you meet is destined to bow down and say that one day. You will either say it now to your benefit or later to your detriment.

Let’s not forget also how when we speak about this personal relationship, that God speaks to us often through our feelings. This is an extremely dangerous precedent and for those of us who claim to be Sola Scriptura, it seems strange that the Bible takes a back seat at this point. Where do we see this in Scripture? Answer. We don’t. We see Scripture talking about wisdom and developing the mind of Christ.

This does not mean that there can be no moments of joy in the Christian life. There can be. Some people can hear a worship song and get caught up in the glory of God, and that’s excellent. If I read a good theology book and get a new insight, I get caught up in the glory of God that way. I’m part of an online Aquinas group led by Catholic friends of mine and I sometimes in discussing Aquinas do really ponder more the nature of God and thoroughly enjoy it.

Yet make no mistake. The way we are with God is to be totally different from the way we are with anyone else. There is no comparison. Jesus is not just your friend and the one who forgives you. He is your king. He is your master. You are supposed to do anything for Him, including lay down your own life.

I find the personal relationship idea ultimately just lowers Jesus and makes it be all about Jesus and me. It’s about what Jesus is doing in us. Jesus is greater.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Obsessed With Blood Part 1

Do we believe crazy things? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I finished, and it took awhile, the hadiths of Al-Bukhari (expect some blogs on that sometime) and I always like to be reading at least one book that disagrees with me. So I opened my emails eventually and saw in my kindle book offers one about the first in a series of the crazy things Christians believe. Not only that, it was written by an ex-minister who is now an atheist, which makes it all the better for me. I love reading these kinds of things.

So today, I started with an introduction as this one is about how Christians are supposedly obsessed with blood, which I find interesting since when I play an Assassin’s Creed game, I actually turn the blood off.

So let’s see what he, Barnaby Baker, has to say in his main introductory chapter.

Baker starts by saying that he can understand children coming to be Christians, but not grown and rational adults. As he says:

Modern people, who know the earth is not 6,000 years old; they know the earth is not flat. Yet by the millions they wholeheartedly believe a book that says it is.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (pp. 13-14). Kindle Edition.

I would contest both of these claims. It’s as if ex-ministers seem to always maintain the fundamentalism in them. Baker should know there are plenty of different interpretations of Genesis and this is not a modern phenomenon. Augustine even in A Literal Interpretation of Genesis held that everything happened instantaneously.

As for the Earth being flat, Christians throughout the Middle Ages did not believe this. Atheist historian Tim O’Neill shows that here. Baker does encourage Christians to read contrary thought, but that is a sword that cuts both ways. More on this later.

When my parents graduated Bible School in the late 70’s, they felt led by God to start a Church thousands of miles away from where we had grown up. As a result, I had no friends outside the Church and was actively discouraged from forming friendships with “unsaved” neighbors. To further my isolation, my sister and I were home schooled using a correspondence Christian education system. Although I liked this simplistic education that consisted of filling in check boxes and taking multiple guess tests; I did not enjoy the isolation and craved social interaction. This is one of the reasons I loved going to Church. For a while it was my only social outlet!

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (pp. 14-15). Kindle Edition.

In the original, he highlights “felt led” and I understand why. While I am a student at a Southern Baptist Seminary and very conservative, I long for the day when Christians drop this language. It’s really hard to join in a group prayer when people talk about the leading of God in this way when I see no Scriptural basis for it. It’s so strange that many my fellow Protestants claim to be Sola Scriptura but believe wholeheartedly something not found there.

The Bible talks about being led of the Spirit in three places. The first is in Mark 1 where Jesus is led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil in the wilderness. There is no mention of how this is done. Thus, if you want to make a doctrine out of this verse, you’re taking something exceptional and unknown and making it known and the norm. The other two places are Romans 8 and Galatians 5. In both of these, the meaning is the same. Led by the Spirit means holy living in contrast to wicked living. It means following the path of Christ.

I do support homeschooling children, especially today, but it looks like Baker was not just homeschooled, but was isolated, which I do not support. Students who are being homeschooled need to be encouraged to read all that they can on both sides of the issue. Isolating our children from the world does not work.

Through my parents, my school and church, I was thoroughly convinced the Bible was true and anything contrary to it was false; a lie perpetrated by the Father of Lies – Satan.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (p. 16). Kindle Edition.

This is another mistake we make. If you are undergoing any evil, it’s because of Satan. If anyone is doing something wicked, it’s because of Satan. If someone believes something false, it’s because of Satan. We honestly make Satan too many times the exact opposite of God, as if they’re on an equal level. Consider that if someone is tempted, they can too easily think it’s Satan. To give a crude example, when your average guy sees a beautiful girl, he doesn’t need the devil to be tempted. It’s this strange idea that if we removed demonic influence, all of us would suddenly live perfect lives.

This is not to deny that there is a real devil who does real evil, but he is not omnipresent. He is a limited being. We also have a sin nature. I can easily think demonic spirits are involved in things like false religions. Still, we must walk a fine line. I try to not jump to the devil card without real evidence.

When you are as deeply immersed in Christianity, as I was, you are blinded to seeing that most of the things you believe are totally weird!

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (p. 19). Kindle Edition.

You know what? Christians do believe some weird things. You know who else does?

Everyone else does.

We can look at what the ancients believed before us, but if you look at some of the problems Greeks were solving without the aid of modern devices that we have today, they were incredible thinkers. If you had gone and told them, “Did you know the Earth revolves around the sun?” they would likely think that’s a crazy belief. Why? Just look up! You can see the sun at different parts of the sky every day! Look at the moon! It changes constantly!

When I meet atheists who think that existence is a brute fact or that on some level the universe contains within itself the basis of its own existing, I consider that a crazy belief. If you were presented with the idea that our ancestors swam in the ocean at one time in the past, you might consider that a crazy belief. Today, it’s science. That doesn’t mean it’s false at all. I’m not arguing it is or isn’t. There are a lot of things we all believe that to someone else is crazy. 1,000 years from now, they will think a lot of the things we believe today were crazy and will likely chalk it up to things like primitive science.

Are we Christians exempt? No. We believe in a virgin who gives birth, which I do affirm, a sea parting as thousands of people passed through, and that a dead man got up and walked out of a grave and is the Lord of the universe. On the surface, that is crazy.

At the same time, that is not an argument against what we believe. I find it so odd when atheists come to me and say “You believe XYZ”, most notably miracles. Yes. I do. And? The problem is these atheists are arguing from their own belief where miracles are crazy. If there is no God, I agree. They are. However, if there is a God, I think non-belief is crazy, especially with all the evidence, most notably Keener, see here and here.

If your basis for reality comes from a single book and your closest companions in life are people who do the same, you become mentally isolated. Your viewpoint is narrowed and becomes limited, extending only as far as these beliefs allow.  This is all further compounded when the only non-Biblical books you read are books written about the Bible, or about the lives of other believers and their Christian experiences. The people you admire and hold in high esteem in your life are those who have similar or greater beliefs than your own. All this works together to further solidify your beliefs and ensure your experiences and feelings follow suit.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (pp. 19-20). Kindle Edition.

I agree with this entirely. I encourage Christians to read outside of the Bible and outside of their Christian circles. Right now, non-Christian works I am reading are a mystery novel, and I am always going through one, this book I am reviewing now, Geek Wisdom, which is wisdom found in sources that are considered “geeky”, and Latter-Day Prophets Speak, which is quotations from Mormon prophets. I am reading Graham Greene’s fiction now, who was a Catholic, though it doesn’t seem to show a lot in the writings thus far, but I read fiction by non-Christians as well.

Yet the sword cuts both ways here. If anyone lives in an echo chamber, I find it is normally atheists. I often ask “What was the last academic book you read on the topic that disagreed with you?” I could count on one hand if even that many was needed the number of atheists who reply with such a book. My favorite is to give a link to people to this book to read. I do that one because on Kindle, it is 100% free. It is also quite thorough. So far, no one has taken me up on this offer.

It is also why when I discuss the ways of Aquinas, I also ask people to just tell me what the first way is saying. Normally, when I found people responding to it, I always had to correct them every step of the way on how they were getting it wrong, and usually they weren’t listening anyway. Now I ask people to just tell me what it says so we can be sure we are arguing on the same basis. Nope. It’s just jump straight to “Here’s why it’s wrong.”

I agree with what Baker is saying here, but I think he should also say it to his own people as well. Atheists can remain in a bubble just as much as Christians can. If anything, I have found Christians more often seem to know what other people believe more than other people know what Christians believe.

Faith, by virtue of its nature, does not require reason or thought in order to have it. Faith is purely based on our feelings not reason. Yes, life is far simpler when you don’t have to think for yourself. It is much easier to believe everything happens for a reason – God’s reason. By thinking that God is in control, we are absolved from any responsibility. The good that happens is attributed to God and the bad things are the devil’s fault.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (p. 22). Kindle Edition.

Unfortunately, Baker gives no source for this definition of faith. I have written my own work here on what faith really does mean. I honestly think this is one of my most referenced pieces I have written. I have argued strongly against the idea that faith is a feeling. Faith, like love and other realities, can produce feelings, but is not itself a feeling.

Thus far, in some ways, I agree with what Baker has said, but overall, it’s not a Christian problem. It’s a human problem. Baker has not given me any evidence that he sees his camp as an exemption to this. If anything, I find atheists MORE prone to this kind of thinking because they are convinced they are rational. See what I have written here for more.

We’ll continue next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Book Plunge: Boss Fight Games Earthbound

What did I think of Ken Baumann’s book from Boss Fight Games? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Boss Fight Games is a series of books that I am working on going through and even writing my own entry for (Looking at Final Fantasy IV) where in each book, one game is discussed in-depth. This one which was the first in the series was Earthbound by Ken Baumann. (When I am speaking of the game itself rather than the book, Earthbound will not be in italics.) Some people might recognize that name as he was a star in the series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I have never watched this and was not aware until I read it in the book.

I remember I was in high school when Earthbound came out. The box it came in was much bigger than any other box for video games at the time, I think because it had a strategy guide with it. Apparently, not too many people were into RPGs at the time, but I was. I had played Final Fantasy for years.

What I saw in Nintendo Power about Earthbound intrigued me as it seemed to be about these delightful kids in a modern-day world fighting an alien invasion. This is a game so humorous that even the names of the enemies can make you laugh. In what other game do you fight new age retro hippies, an annoying old party man, a mad taxi, a scalding coffee cup, and a crazed sign?

That’s just scratching the surface.

So I started reading this book and it starts with Ken talking about calling his brother and their reminiscing over Earthbound together. (Even as I type this I can hear some of the music from the game running through my head.) The book really starts out in-depth as it looks at each section of the game and those of us who are veterans could still get something new out of it. However, throughout, Baumann also relates stories of his own life. Sometimes they are in relation to the game, but sometimes they seem a useless tangent.

That got to be somewhat discouraging as the first three parts of the game, Onett, Twoson, and Threed (What if I told you the next town was Fourside? It is. What if I told you the next town was Fiveway? Nope. Sorry. It’s Summers.). After this point, it looked like Baumann was quickly going through various parts of the game and skipping others entirely. It’s as if he had a word limit or some other limit and wanted to just get it all done.

Most surprising was getting to the final boss. Many of us who have played the game know that the scene of the final boss comes from when the creator walked into the wrong movie theater and saw something quite disturbing as a child and used that as the basis for the boss. That’s definitely worth mentioning, but no. It wasn’t. It was mentioned that it looked like you were fighting a prenatal version of the ultimate evil in the game, but nothing more was said beyond that. It’s really a highly philosophical boss fight.

There are some points that really show the way that gamers really take their interest seriously, something of interest to me as this is my planned PhD research. Baumann quotes John Gray at one point saying:

If the hope of progress is an illusion, how – it will be asked – are we to live? The question assumes that humans can live well only if they believe they have the power to remake the world. Yet most humans who have ever lived have not believed this – and a great many have had happy lives. The question assumes the aim of life is action; but this is a modern heresy. For Plato contemplation was the highest form of human activity. A similar view existed in ancient India. The aim of life was not to change the world. It was to see it rightly.

Baumann, Ken. EarthBound (Boss Fight Books Book 1) . Boss Fight Books. Kindle Edition.

Or how about this?

In the case of EarthBound and other games, we are given a fixed set of circumstances and qualities to live with. While we can choose our hero’s name and sometimes choose the shading of his or her final hours, we cannot radically alter the journey. Are games, then, the most accurate simulation of our unchosen lot in life?

Baumann, Ken. EarthBound (Boss Fight Books Book 1) . Boss Fight Books. Kindle Edition.

Are they? Perhaps. Could those of us who are gamers be gamers because we are tapping into a deeper meaning of life? We are wanting to experience a journey? Could this be why many of us enjoy fiction of any sort whether it’s reading Lord of the Rings, watching Smallville, as I am prone to do, reading the latest Spider-Man comic, going to see the latest James Bond movie, or playing Earthbound?

Ideas to ponder.

In conclusion, I really think every gamer should play Earthbound. Right now, it’s available for free on Nintendo Switch online if you have that. As for the book, it is enjoyable, but I wish it had been longer and revealed more of the story of the game and the making of it. Some stories about Baumann could be interesting, but only if they were connected to the game somehow.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)