What Are Ya Gonna Believe?

Today we have another great article at the Christian Post, which describes itself as “the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website.” They have a comments icon, but it doesn’t lead to any comments. Their headline is Are You a Victim of Bible-Bashing? It was written by Dan Delzell, pastor of the Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.

We’ve written about the rev’s wisdom a few times before — see, e.g.: Science and Religion: The Battle of Two Kings, and also Creationist Wisdom #649: Evolution Is Faith, and also Beware the Folly of Scientism. Here are some excerpts from the his latest, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Do you find it difficult to view Scripture as the infallible Word of God rather than the personal opinion of man? Do you struggle to accept the fact that the Bible is true and completely trustworthy? If so, you are likely the victim of Bible-bashing. [Egad!] Sadly, many people have been hoodwinked by critics who present false information about Scripture.

Have you been hoodwinked, dear reader? Then pay attention. The rev says:

Victims of Bible-bashing are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to grasping the spiritual dynamics all around them. Attempting to discern the truth about God and salvation is next to impossible if you believe the Bible is a flawed document. The alternative of course is to accept this simple fact: “All Scripture is God-breathed.” [scripture reference]

[…]

Isaac Newton said, “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” [Wow!] In addition to being one of the most influential scientists of all time, Newton also understood that the Word of God transcends science because science is incapable of providing you with eternal salvation. While science is definitely a blessing from our Creator, it is far below theology in the grand scheme of things. Science cannot tell you how your sins can be forgiven or how you can be reconciled to God.

Science is so limited! The rev tells us:

If you make the decision to underestimate the significance of the Bible, it is only natural to try to fill the void with something else. And many choose to make science the king of their soul. [The Fools!] Sadly, science has a very poor track record of keeping anyone out of hell and delivering their immortal soul into the perfection of paradise. In fact, there is not one soul in heaven today who was brought there by scientific knowledge or reliance upon science. … Science is clearly unable to provide you with supernatural power, divine revelation, and the forgiveness of your sins.

Fantastic! And persuasive too. He continues:

So that brings us back to the Bible. If you have fallen into a pit created by Bible-bashers [The horror!], you can either choose to remain a victim or you can become a believer. … God gave you free will when He created you. This means that among other things you get to choose how to view the Bible. And the testimony of millions of believers over the centuries is that they were transformed after accepting the Bible as the Word of God rather than the opinion of men.

Why would anyone ignore the testimony of millions of believers? Let’s read on:

When you stand before God on Judgment Day, you will see why the message of the Bible is by far the most relevant and critical communication ever given by anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Just as the Bible transcends science, God transcends our finite and limited thinking. You and I are not all-powerful or all-knowing. The sooner we come to terms with this fact, the closer we get to accepting God’s Word with the faith of a child. That is, the faith quick to receive and believe the message of eternal redemption in God’s love letter to His children.

Your Curmudgeon is overwhelmed! And now we come to the end:

If you have been led astray by false information about the Bible, you can make the decision today that you will no longer be a victim of Bible-bashing. So will you take this step of faith and begin to take God’s Word seriously, or will the Bible-bashers have the final word on the destiny of your soul?

Okay, dear reader, the rev has clearly presented your choices. So what’ll it be — godless science, or The Truth?

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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38 responses to “What Are Ya Gonna Believe?

  1. I have little interest in disputing one’s beliefs about the Bible, but I would like to point out this:

    All Scripture is God-breathed.

    The King James Bible tellls us in 2 Timothy 3:16–3:17:

    “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”

    That gives us a pragmatic description of the meaning of the Bible. The Bible is “profitable”. There are at least three classical defintions of “truth”:
    1. Pragmatic
    2. Coherent – that it hangs together logically
    3. Correspondance – someting is true when it corresponds with reality

  2. Michael Fugate

    only about righteousness, not science not history?

  3. docbill1351

    A friend of mine used the “Bible bashing technique” to smash a ganglion cyst on his hand, but I think he actually used a biology textbook because he would not have owned an actual Bible. Oh, the irony!

  4. “Do you find it difficult to view Scripture as the infallible Word of God …..?”
    No, impossible.

    “Do you struggle to accept the fact that the Bible is true and completely trustworthy?”
    No, I recognize without any struggle it’s not a fact at all.

    “Attempting to discern the truth about God and salvation is next to impossible if you believe the Bible is a flawed document.”
    No, it’s easier. It just takes four words: there is no god.

    “And many choose to make science the king of their soul. ”
    Not me. I don’t have a soul. However I do recongize the fact that science has helped me a great deal more than the Bible or any rev. So a long time ago I decided not to bash the Holy Book, but simply ignore it.

    For those who haven’t had enough creacrap fun yet:

    http://www.gigcity.ca/2018/06/15/so-a-geologist-walks-into-a-creationist-museum/

    Found via PZ’s blog.

  5. @Michaelk Fugate
    Yes, literally so.

  6. I think is is significant that although the King James bible says ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God’, the fact is that in both appearances of the word ‘is’ in that verse, the word is italicized, which means that the word ‘is’ does not appear in the original Greek versions. So the verse could (should?) read ‘All writings which are given by inspiration of God are profitable . . .’. It says nothing about what writings those might be.

  7. @Harvey
    There is a discussion in Wikipedia in the article “Biblical inspiration”.

  8. One of the writer’s statements made can be markedly improved by truncation: “In fact, there is not one soul in heaven today”. I dropped the part that wasn’t actually applicable.

  9. Pastor Dan;
    “(S)cience has a very poor track record of keeping anyone out of hell and delivering their immortal soul into the perfection of paradise. In fact, there is not one soul in heaven today who was brought there by scientific knowledge or reliance upon science.”

    …and does the good pastor have solid evidence that the track record of religion is any better?

    Perhaps some editing is in order:
    “In fact, there is not one soul in heaven today. who was brought there by scientific knowledge or reliance upon science.

  10. My apologies to Cynic. We were writing the same thought at the same time. (Great minds think alike, so they say.)

  11. No apologies are needed – it just indicates that we think along the same lines.

  12. The Rev’s talks about “Bible bashing” but really indulges in a bit of science-bashing. The exception, of course, is Newton who we are assured is smugly sitting in heaven as we speak.

    But in this case, science is a red-herring. The Rev regards the Bible, and not Christ, as the means of redemption. But this is unfortunate news for the 70+% of the world population who follow a non Christian, Bible-based religion. Science plays no role in their salvation since they are all doomed anyway.

  13. Holding The Line In Florida

    Sounds to me like the Rev is afraid he might have to get a real job for a living instead coughing up vast quantities of bovine feces.

  14. Wait: let me get this straight. The rev thinks we’re victims of Bible-bashing, then proceeds to bash us over the head with the Bible.

    Is he merely semantically confused, or has he simply lost his mind? Is a bear a Catholic? Does the Pope sh…..oh, well, you get the idea.

    He must mean “Bible-bashing” in the most literal sense, as in us Darwinist creeps who have the temerity to actually criticise it. I can’t believe I’m trying
    to fathom his meaning here.

    If the rev just shot me in the abdomen, and then offered to drive me to the hospital, that might make more sense.

  15. Isaac Newton said, “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.”

    He also cast horoscopes for money, which in a fundamentalist-ruled Britain would have gotten him burned at the stake.

  16. Dave Luckett

    Newton was a Unitarian, meaning that he rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. Nearly all Christian denominations consider that to be heresy, and contumelious heresy damns a soul to hell.

    What do you call it when you aren’t a victim of what the Rev calls “bible bashing”? That is, nobody dissed the Bible to you, it’s just that you read it and were repelled by it. As I was and am repelled by that fact above – eternal torment for a thought crime! Surely Jesus would have had something to say about that, I thought. So I read the Bible, and found that he did. Matthew 5:27-30. He thought it was right.

    It was reading the Bible that convinced me that it was wrong, Rev. Didn’t need any more than that.

  17. Dave Luckett

    Harvey, you are right about the koine Greek of the epistle but more.

    This is supposed to be Paul writing to his follower Timothy, but most of the concepts, church structure and ecclesiastical ranks and even vocabulary are far more reminiscent of the third or fourth century than the first. Ever since the eighteenth century, and certainly since the advent of text criticism, the authorship and date has been strongly disputed. For one thing, where Paul talked about the scriptures he meant the Jewish scriptures. He certainly didn’t mean the Christian Gospels, three of which certainly and one of which probably, were written after his death. Nor could he have meant his own letters – I mean, c’mon. So the passage that says scripture is “God-breathed” isn’t referring to itself. Except among fundamentalists, of course, who say that it’s in this here book with “Holy Bible” wrote plain on the cover, so it’s in the Bible, QED. Yes, well.

    True, the Greek reads word for word, in the original order, “Every scripture God-breathed and profitable for reproof…”.(God-breathed” is one word, “theopneustos”). Some translations insert the English participle “is” after “scripture”, some invert the word order. As you say, which is chosen affects the meaning.

    What it certainly doesn’t say is that all scripture is to be taken literally. It does NOT say that God cannot breathe reproof, etc, by tale, analogy, parable or fable. So there is no warrant there for insisting that the tales of Genesis are to be read as literal history.

    That idea, of course, is what the Rev is pushing, out of the myopia and ugly antipathy to science that is the result of a training in a Christian madrassa. But to do it, you have to have a comprehensive ignorance not only of science, but also of what the Bible actually says, where it comes from, and what it is.

  18. @Dave Luckett
    Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7 several
    times that the instructions he was giving were “not of the Lord” but were his (Paul’s) opinion. There are other places in the Bible where the text refers to a source other than Divine inspiration.

  19. Doubting whether Newton really wrote in the style of a 21st century self-improvement manual, I checked out the quotation. Not in Wikiquote, and the only sources I could find were apologetics or pinterest, with no references to a source.

  20. Ross Cameron

    ‘Science is clearly unable to provide you with supernatural power, divine revelation, and the forgiveness of your sins.’ Bet every time the Rev gets sick, he heads for a doctor and avails himself of –that`s right–science.

  21. The only refence I could find to the bible at Newton’s page in Wikiquote was:

    We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure remarks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever.
    Anecdote reported by Dr. Robert Smith, late Master of Trinity College, to his student Richard Watson, as something that Newton expressed when he was writing his Commentary On Daniel. In Watson’s Apology for the Bible, London 1806

    Note that even this is third hand

  22. @Paul Braterann
    Thank you. It is a good idea to check the authenticity of a quote before replying to it. Those citing the quote ought to respect their audience by giving enough information to verify it.

  23. @Ross Cameron
    There are people who do avoid doctors and rely on faith.
    But I note that this writer turns to technology to get his message out. How can he deny that the technology of the printing press, radio, or computer has brought the word of salvation. Indeed Paul relied on the technology of navigation.

  24. @Tom S: there is an entire echo chamber of creationists repeating each oter’s misquotations, as in the notorious DMS Watson example, transmitted over generations: https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/creationism-and-evolution-an-open-letter-to-a-misleadingly-quote-mining-minister/ (thanks, Curmudgeon, for allowing me to self-publicise)

  25. @Paul Braterman: Did you ever receive a reply to your email to Tron Church?

  26. @tedinoz, no. If I had, I would have published it.

    Armondikov traces the butchery of Watson to CS Lewis, with further compressions and elisions later. One could apply cladistic analysis if one had enough variants, but I fear a missing link

  27. Paul Braterman says: “Doubting whether Newton really wrote in the style of a 21st century self-improvement manual, I checked out the quotation.”

    That is good procedure, because we’ve learned from long experience that it’s unwise to trust a quote by a creationist. Sometimes it’s too much work to bother with, but the general rule is to trust nothing they say.

  28. @SC
    Agreed. Much of the time, it seems not worth the work, for even if the quote were authentic, it wouldn’t weaken the case for evolution. And those of us who accept evolution don’t accept it because Darwin said so – we know that he made mistakes, that our knowledge has improved a lot.
    Yet the work that went into the Quote Mine Project was worth it IMHO.

  29. I’m late to this party, and several others have already made the essential point–but I’ll throw in my two drachmai’s worth anyway:

    The πᾶσα γραφὴ [pasa graphe] at 2 Tim 3:16 absolutely does not mean “all Scripture”, as per the KJV, but “all writing.” It is in deliberate contrast to the words in the previous verse, 2 Tim 3:15, where reference is made to ‘ἱερὰ γράμματα οἶδας’ [hiera grammata oidas] “the sacred writings you have known hitherto”–that is, the Hebrew Old Testament. So Timothy, who after all is sending epistles to early church organisations, is claiming that writings other than the canonical Old Testament may be profitable for teaching–including Timothy’s own epistles.

    What the koine Greek lacks is punctuation (a later innovation). The construction at 2 Tim 3:16 is similar to something like:

    All men, being single, should take wives.

    which is not the same as claiming “All men are single and should take wives”, which is demonstrably false.

  30. Addendum to above, by way of full disclosure as well as deference to our Curmudgeon’s personal tastes:

    I love the KJV for its poetry, and acknowledge it was a monumental achievement in literature which indeed reflected the best available scholarship of its day.

    But we have learned a great deal since the days of King James…

  31. Just a couple of minor differences with @Megaonyx
    The Epistle is titled “to Timothy”, not written by Timothy. (Supposedly written by Paul, but probably written well after the death of Paul.)
    The Scriptures known to the Early Greek-speaking Christians were probably something like the Septuagint – the Greek version including more than the standard Hebrew text whch was to become the Masoretic Text.
    The text of the King James Verson has become very influential in setting the standard for literary English. I don’t know how much its dependence on the Textus Receptus and earlier English versions would be the best available scholarship of its day – maybe, I don’t know.

  32. @Tom S: Busting fake quotes matters because it shows the perpetrators as at best careless with reality, at worst downright lying, on evidence that even a hardened Hamite would be unable to deny

  33. Michael Fugate

    What I find humorous is that when you point out what the Bible actually says, people like the good rev will attempt to tell you it doesn’t say that in one sentence while then claiming it does say that, but it was a different time and place in another sentence. Take for instance, slavery or the status and role of women and marriage. The Bible becomes a book that says what an individual wants it to say. Just look at the current US Admin trying to use the Bible to justify separating immigrant families.

  34. @PaulB: “Busting fake quotes matters because it shows the perpetrators as at best careless with reality.”
    As a general rule this is totally correct, but the list of all the times creationists are at odds with reality is so long that one minequote (or other lie) more or less hardly makes any difference anymore. In all those years I have wasted time with creacrap on internet I haven’t met one single creacrapper who didn’t lie. Them taking over those lies from others is no excuse, because even if I pointed them out to them they always refused to withdraw them.
    A few days ago you asked how to get through their thick skulls (my words, not a literal quote). I have no idea.

  35. @FrankB, I think fake quotes are a special case. Someone who knows little science might in good faith repeat, say, nonsense about how do we know animal footprints in the Grand Canyon’s Conocino sandstone weren’t caused by animals fleeing the flood, but when it’s a matter of “here’s what the creationst Rev said DMS Watson said, and here’s what Watson actually did say”, there’s no escape route

  36. Thanks to all for adding to my simplistic understanding of the passage in II Timothy!

  37. @ TomS: Yup, my bad: my post was sloppy. Thanks for corrections!