Book Plunge: Obsessed With Blood Part 6

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

It’s time to wrap this book up. In this chapter, we’re going to talk about the church and money especially. At the start, Baker talks about how the ministry can be a money-making machine. I do want to highlight something he says:

Fortunately, as soon as I began to struggle with my faith, I stepped down from the ministry.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (p. 117). Kindle Edition.

I have said a lot critical of Baker, but I do want to commend this part. I can understand if you are wrestling with something, but if you are having serious doubts and about to pack it all in, do step down. I do think Baker should be commended for this. Contrast this to Dan Barker who went on speaking anyway.

I remember being in Singapore, preaching for the well known, Pastor Joseph Prince, when I experienced a major spiritual crisis regarding the money I was earning from Preaching. You can read about this experience in more detail on my blog, – it is worth reading.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (p. 117). Kindle Edition.

Baker was associated with Word of Faith teachers so this is part of the problem here. I too have a problem with the amount of money that many “ministers” make. I am a capitalist through and through, but I also realize that greed is a problem in the church.

Finally, Baker says this:

Even though there are many preachers and pastors who do take advantage of their positions for financial and emotional gain, most do not. The vast majority of Christian leaders are sincere people who are simply sincerely wrong.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (pp. 119-120). Kindle Edition.

Again, this is something to be commended. Baker is right in that the majority of us who are in this field are not in it for the money. I do have a Patreon and I do get donors and I do need them, but I can assure anyone that I do not get rich from this. I highly encourage you to be a donor, but I have a high hope that if I had more income coming in, I would actually be instead of hoarding it, which is not my tendency, I would be giving it away. I do love giving to people.

I have been told for a long time that I could have done something else like being an engineer. I had no desire to do that. My heart thrives for doing ministry and now for doing apologetics.

So in the end, Baker’s book is not really damaging to anyone’s faith and it looks like he fell into a lot of the same tendencies that so many of these people tend to think exactly alike. It looks like Baker has gone from blindly believing Christianity to blindly believing atheism. I do appreciate that he does show some kindness to Christians in the end. I hope he eventually sees the real Christ in real Christians.

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



Book Plunge: Obsessed with Blood Part 4

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

In this chapter, Baker looks at the topic of Original Sin. Well, we’ll see how much he stays on topic. He starts it off with talking about what the sin of Adam and Eve was. His reply? Seeking knowledge.

Well, no.

For one thing, this tree was in the center of the garden, which would make it the most important tree of all. The term good and evil is not meant as knowledge, but more as a merism in Hebrew thought. It meant that they wanted wisdom on their own terms, not on the terms of God. They wanted to be in charge. They wanted to rule the garden on their own.

Seeking knowledge was not the problem. It was how they were seeking it.

He also says he spent years following God’s plan for his life and found it to be a myth. Once again, I have to say I get tired of so many of my fellow evangelicals talking about God’s plan for your life. If God has a personalized individual plan for your life, let me assure you you have already ruined it, as have I. No. I can tell you the real plan God has for your life. It’s easy. His plan is to conform you to the likeness of Christ if you are willing.

Now all historians gather around and prepare for a laugh:

Throughout history, medical science, astronomy, philosophy, sexuality and even art, have all been adversely affected by Christian thinking.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (p. 66). Kindle Edition.

I always refer atheists on this to go to Tim O’Neill and his History for Atheists series. There is so much misinformation in these simple sentences that I can only recommend the great myths series. There is a constant problem ex-Christians have that they go from blindly believing what they believed before to blindly believing whatever else is said on the other side. He can also check out Dominion by Tom Holland.

Contrary to what modern Christians are led to believe, the Bible really does describe the earth as being flat with the sun and moon revolving around it. For centuries, this is a belief the church upheld so vehemently they actually killed blasphemers who thought otherwise. Strangely it is not something they cling to quite so vehemently anymore. The Bible’s support of slavery, which will be discussed in different book; is also a teaching they distance themselves from.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (pp. 66-67). Kindle Edition.

The first myth on O’Neill’s page is the flat Earth myth. We will deal with slavery in the other book if it is read, but I can say based on Tom Holland that the reason he opposes slavery is because he has absorbed background Christianity. There is nothing on the basis of atheism that can lead to the idea that slavery is inherently wrong. (I would actually argue that anything is evil or good for that matter.) Naturally, Baker has no citations for any of these claims about Christian history.

Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in 1590 for going against Bible theology and correctly declared that the earth rotates around the sun – heliocentrism. Galileo also defended heliocentrism and the belief the earth was not as described in the Bible. The Church responded by threatening Galileo with torture and confining him to house arrest until he died.

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (pp. 67-68). Kindle Edition.

No citations again. No. Bruno was not burned to the stake for heliocentrism but for various heresies and for all the idea of Bruno being a scientist, his scientific works are never cited. One can only wonder why…..

The Galileo affair is not an open and shut case. The church really had no problem with Galileo believing in heliocentrism as long as he treated it as a theory. It didn’t help that he wrote a dialogue depicting the pope as a simpleton. Also, the evidence for his claim was good, but it wasn’t sufficient yet. Again, O’Neill has several articles on Galileo if Baker wanted to peruse them, but I suspect he won’t, despite his claims that he loves seeking knowledge.

Without a doubt, science and culture have all been suppressed due to the ridiculous belief that the Bible is more than just a collection of ancient stories, but the actual inspired word of God.[xxxii]

Preacher, Ex; Baker, Barnaby. Obsessed with Blood (The Crazy Things Christians Believe Book 1) (p. 70). Kindle Edition.

Oh look! He has a citation! What great source did he cite?

None. He just referred to 2 Tim. 3:16 on the belief in Scripture being the inspired word of God.

I am not surprised.

We will continue next time.

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


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: 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)







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)