Pulling Back The Green Curtain Part 9

What more awaits in Hall’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the first points today will be five questions to ask your pastor. Let’s go through them!

“If our religion is the one true religion, and the majority of the world population does not believe as we do, how can God say he ‘does not want anyone to perish’ but yet he is going to burn at least 70% of his children for eternity? ● “According to the New Testament, judgment day was supposed to have happened a long time ago. It’s been two thousand years, what is God waiting on?” ● “Was it ever moral to kill babies, own another human being or commit rape? If not, is God a good role model for us?” ● “We are taught that salvation is through faith alone. Are we supposed to ignore the parts of the Bible that tell us salvation is also through works?” ● “If God is perfect, he does not need anything. Why did he make us? He was around for an infinite number years before us, then at some point he decided to make humans for a blip of time in eternity, why?”

Of course, we need to remember Jimmy has likely never bothered to try to find answers to these questions. Nope. That would require research and study and well, we can’t have that now can we?

First one is that first off, if someone isn’t one of God’s, they’re not His child. Second, many Christians like myself hold to a sort of inclusivism whereby many will be saved who never knew the name of Jesus. This is not to say that there is more than one way, but it is to say that God has great mercy on those who never heard through no fault of their own. Finally, people don’t “burn” in hell.

The second depends on what Judgment Day is. I recommend anyone interested look at my writings on Orthodox Preterism such as this one. Please understand that if Jimmy read this, he might get cognitive dissonance. He has an allergy to contrary thought after all.

For the third, rape is never approved of by God in the Bible. For the other point, I don’t see God as a moral agent, but as a good agent. God also has right over life and if He wants to take a life, He can take it. He owes no one else life. We do not have that same right.

For the fourth, it depends on the passage in question. The main one is James. In James, this is not about justification before God, but before men. Also, in my way of thinking, a true salvation by faith will not be without works. Eventually, the tree that is a true tree does produce true fruit.

Finally, God created no one out of need. He created out of abundance. The ancient Celtics said that the Trinity existed in a dance of love for all eternity and mankind was created to join in the dance. It is the same reason many parents have children today. Not because of need, but because of love.

Next we have five more signs you might be brainwashed.

You laugh at people that have more than one god, but you have no problem believing in a Trinity. ● You don’t trust the people in lab coats that devote their lives to following the evidence, no matter where it leads them, but you unquestioningly believe those people rolling around on your church floor speaking in tongues. ● You don’t bat an eyelash when I talk about all the violence God condones in the Bible, but why is it haram to criticize the violence that was committed in Allah’s name in the Qur’an? ● You mock the eastern religions and ancient Greeks because they claimed that gods had sex with mortals, yet you have no problem with the idea that Yahweh impregnated Mary? ● You think a loving god would allow 21,000 people per day to die of hunger?

No Jimmy. I don’t laugh at people who have more than one god. I debate them. I present evidence against people I disagree with. (You should try it sometime. This book is evidence you don’t care much for real research.) Furthermore, the Trinity isn’t polytheism. It’s hard to understand, but hey, so is light being a particle and a wave both.

For number two, wrong on both counts. I’m quite skeptical of many Christian claims and I have no problem with claims of science. Anything that can be established well in science I think should be believed.

Depends on the context again. If I thought Islam was the true religion, then it would be just for God to order something as He can take life when He wants to. My problem with Islam is that I don’t think it’s a true religion and the violence is not limited to a specific time and place and context.

God didn’t have sex with Mary to bring about the virgin birth, which I do affirm.

God is under no obligation to do the work that we should be doing. It could just as easily be said the effort Hall spent writing this book could have gone to feeding those 21,000 children. He also might want to note that the majority of organizations feeding those children are Christian ones and consider reading something on the problem of evil. Oh, wait. Contrary thought. Jimmy is scared of it.

Oh boy! Five more questions to ask your minister! Jimmy must be running out of “facts” so he’s just having to make up questions.

“Why did God wait over 5000 years after the rise of civilization before he delivered the rules we are supposed to live by?” ● “When the kangaroos got off the ark, how did they get all the way back to Australia? How did the sloths get back to South America?” ● “If god loved Abel’s cooked meat sacrifice more than Cain’s vegetable sacrifice, does he think less of me because I’m a vegetarian?” ● “Why do bad things happen to good people? You’ve probably been asked that a million times before, but this time, can you give me an answer that isn’t complete horseshit?” ● “Why did Herod send astrologers to find the baby Jesus instead of Roman troops? Wouldn’t that have prevented having to slaughter a town full of male infants later?”

Oh, Jimmy never gets old.

No Jimmy. The Law of God was not a new revelation of morality. That’s built into the creation. Again, try studying some Christian ethics.

Kangaroos and sloths weren’t on the ark. The flood was a local one. This is a common position in evangelicalism, but I don’t expect Jimmy to know that.

The love of the offering had nothing to do with the nature of the offering, but with the nature of the heart. Abel had a better heart towards God. Cain was never criticized for what he offered.

Again on evil, just read something on the problem of evil some time and really interact with it. It’s getting tiresome for you to ask the same objection just a different way over and over.

Last I checked, Roman troops were probably not the best at astrology and following stars. The wise men knew this one the best.

Let’s move to the next fact.

Did you know that the “Jesus fish” on the bumper of your car is a pagan astrological symbol? Before the Christians pilfered it, the symbol was used by the Syrians and Romans to represent Ichthys, the child of the mermaid-like Atargatis, the pagan goddess of fertility and well-being. The symbol also plays an important role in other tales. For example, as the Fish of the Nile, Ichthys swallowed Osiris’ penis after Isis had finished having sex with Osiris’ corpse.

Let’s suppose that this is all true. So what? Christians were forbidden to use fish as symbols? What Hall would need to show is that the Christians went out and deliberately found the pagans using this and stole the symbol. Noteworthy of course that he has no citation whatsoever here.

Next, he has a list of people who never mentioned Jesus. Let’s go through this one.

Aulus Perseus — First off, it’s Aulus Persius Flaccus. He was a Roman poet and satirist. He wrote satire of Etruscan religion. Why would he want to mention Jesus?

Plutarch — Plutarch is understandable to some extent, but he wrote about Greek and Roman lives and a man who was Jewish and seen as a crucified criminal would not have been of interest to Plutarch.

Columella — He wrote about agricultural issues and trees. Why would he mention Jesus?

Pomponius — This one is likely Pomponius Mela who wrote about geography. Why mention Jesus?

Dio Chrysostom — He wrote on literature, philosophy, and politics. Why should he mention Jesus?

Quintilian — He wrote about Greco-Roman rhetoric. This is not what Jesus did and furthermore, even if He had, there would be no reason for Quintilian to include someone his audience wouldn’t care for.

Justus of Tiberius — We don’t even have his works, but he wrote on kings of the Jews. If he did not see Jesus as the king of the Jews, why mention Him?

Quintus Curtius Rufus — His only work we have is a book on the history of Alexander the Great. Why mention Jesus?

Livy — Not only did he write on Roman history, he died before JESUS EVEN BEGAN HIS MINISTRY!

Note. Why does Jimmy not know this? Because he never bothered to look it up. He just heard it and vomited it back out.

Seneca — He could have included Jesus, but in his writings on ethical issues, he had enough material to work with and would have no need to refer to a shameful crucified Messiah figure.

Lucanus — He was Seneca’s nephew. All we have from him is a pem. He also wrote on the civil war between Pompey and Caesar. Why mention Jesus?

Silius Italicus — He wrote about the second Punic War. Why mention Jesus?

Lucius Florus — He wrote about events prior to the birth of Jesus. No need to mention Jesus.

Statius — He wrote poems and histories, mainly pertaining to Greek myths. No need to mention Jesus.

Caecilius — All I can find here is a banker who did in the eruption of Vesuvius. Not only do I not know if he wrote anything or not, why mention Jesus?

Petronius — He wrote vulgar satire. Why mention Jesus?

Theon of Smyrna — He studied math and astronomy and wrote a handbook for students on such subjects. Why mention Jesus?

Phaedrus — He wrote fables. Why mention Jesus?

Valerius Flaccus — He wrote a poem about Jason and the quest for the golden fleece. Why mention Jesus?

Philo Judaeus — I wrote about him in a prior post reviewing this book.

Valerius Maximus — He wrote a book of anecdotes. Why mention Jesus?

Phlegon — Phlegon actually did write about the eclipse at the time of Jesus’s crucifixion.

Pliny the Elder — He could have mentioned Jesus, but why would he? He didn’t mention a number of great Jewish moral teachers if any.

I also recommend Hall look at this work which is even by an atheist sympathetic to mythicism.

He quotes Deuteronomy 25:11-12 about two men fighting and a woman grabbing the testicles of one of them. She is to be shown no mercy and have her hand cut off. First off, some translations say she is to have her own pubic hair shaved as a shaming. Second, grabbing a man’s testicles was not only inflicting physical harm, but seeking to destroy his future by eradicating his ability to reproduce and destroying his manhood.

He also has the claim about Christians being atheists to many gods. He just goes one god further. I can imagine what Jim would say if a defense lawyer said this in court.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. We all agree that many people in this courtroom did not commit the murder. They are all innocent. I just ask that you look at my client and go one person further.”

No juror would buy this defense and no lawyer would be stupid enough to use it, but apparently, it works for internet atheism.

Joy! Five more questions for your minister!

“Why aren’t there faith healers working in hospitals?” ● “If the Lord’s word is so powerful and inspirational, why does he need us walking around knocking on people’s doors?” ● “If I thank God for sparing my house when that tornado hit, aren’t I really just thanking him for destroying someone else’s house instead? When I thank God for the food I am about to eat, aren’t I basically just thanking him for choosing someone else to starve instead of me? ● “Why do you support the use of gay conversion therapy for the homosexual members of your congregation, when the American Psychiatric Association and every major national health organization on the planet have announced that there is no scientific demonstration of conversion therapy’s efficacy?”● “Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? And if not, did belly buttons ‘evolve’ later?”

#1. I think because they’re frauds.

#2. Because the Bible can’t move on its own and I don’t think that’s a proper way to view it anyway. It’s like treating the Bible like a magic book.

#3. No. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Because someone doesn’t have something, should I refuse to enjoy it myself. Will Hall refuse to enjoy the love of his wife because many men are single?

#4. I think there was a lot of political work going into what happened with homosexuality being removed. I also have interviewed people on my podcast who used to be homosexual. They no longer are.

#5. Who cares?

He says that the Bible says morality is written on our hearts, but many animals display moral behavior. Supposing that’s true, what of it? That shows morality is not written on our hearts how?

He cites the case of Alex Malarkey who made up a story of visiting Heaven. Yes. That demonstrates that all such stories are made up. Hall is right that death is peer-reviewed in journals, but he misses that such studies exist of NDEs as well. They are not denied across the board at all.

He then has four reasons religion is all made up. The first is that none of them agree. So what? Neither do all scientific theories. Why should we expect all religions to?

Second is the geography as they all center around one area. An omnipotent deity would not let boundaries stop him. Keep in mind that Jim Hall says this in a nation where he is surrounded by Christians and that nation happens to be a few thousand miles away from Jerusalem.

The third is death. Religions are made to deal with death. No evidence is given of this.

The final is divine hiddenness. God apparently wants to remain hidden. He’s not doing a good job. Billions of people have found Him. Don’t expect Hall to do anything like look at Blake Giunta’s work on this topic.

Now for another set of questions.

If you’re so sure of your religion, why do you care so much that others doubt it? Why do you cry at funerals? Why don’t you question it critically? Why is your religion the exact same as your parents, and their parents?

For the first, because I care about their eternal salvation. For the second, I am sad that I have to for the time being cut ties with this person. Am I not allowed to miss someone? For the third, I do question it critically, much more so than you question my position. Fourth, I found out it was true, but what about so many people who come from Muslim, Mormon, or atheist households and become Christians?

He also says religion has answers that may never be questioned and science has questions that may never be answered. It’s a cute saying for atheists, but hardly applicable. I wish more people would question their religion. I wish more atheists would bother to ask questions about religion and find answers. For many atheists, if you ask a question about a religion and don’t know the answer, it means there isn’t one. Don’t bother going to find one.

That brings us through 421-480. We’ll go through more next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters