XFiles: Plan B

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 14.)

Next up on Geisler and Turek’s agenda, the Seven Things Jesus taught about the Bible (i.e. the Old Testament). As I said before, they’ve strayed pretty far from their thematic declaration that it takes more faith to be an atheist: this section could have been preached from any conservative Christian pulpit on any given Sunday morning without even mentioning apologetics.

Let’s begin with the first Thing or two. According to G&T, Jesus taught that the Old Testament:

1. Is Divinely Authoritative—When tempted by Satan, Jesus corrected him by quoting from the Old Testament… Why would Jesus so confidently quote from the Old Testament if the Old Testament was not authoritative? He must have considered the Old Testament to be a source of truth in order to dismiss his most powerful enemy with it.

In fact, on ninety-two occasions Jesus and his apostles supported their position by saying, “it is written” (or the equivalent) and then quoting the Old Testament. Why? Because Jesus and his apostles considered the Old Testament Scriptures to be the written word of God, and thus the ultimate authority for life.

For once, I agree with Geisler and Turek. Jesus did indeed teach that the Old Testament was the ultimate authority for life. What Geisler and Turek fail to realize, however, is that this is not a good thing.

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XFiles ++Friday: Jesus at the NAE

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 14.)

It’s been a long time since Geisler and Turek have even attempted to pretend they’re proving that atheists have more faith than Christians, and by Chapter 14 they seem to have forgotten their theme completely. We’re in full-on Sunday sermon mode now as they devote an entire chapter to telling us that we should take their word for it that we should take the Bible’s word for it that we should take Jesus’ word for it that we should take the Bible’s word for it. There’s not the slightest tinge of any consciousness of the circular reasoning involved in using Biblical accounts of Jesus’ alleged endorsement of Scripture as the basis for claiming the reliability and authority of the Bible. God said it, they believe it, that settles it—and therefore it takes more faith to be an atheist. QED.

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XFiles Friday: Simplicity or consistency

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 13.)

One of the tricks that trinitarians use to try and mask the flaws in their theology is to claim that the doctrine is so mind-bogglingly complex that we shouldn’t even try to understand it, let alone reconcile it with itself. As Geisler and Turek were saying about the Trinity last week,

It may be beyond reason, but it’s not against reason.

That doesn’t mean the Trinity can be completely understood. After all, no finite being can completely comprehend an infinite God. But we can apprehend the Trinity just like we apprehend but do not completely comprehend the ocean. When we’re standing on the beach, we can apprehend that there’s an ocean in front of us, even though we  can’t completely comprehend its vast magnitude.

Some Muslims charge that the Trinity is too complex. But who said that truth must always be simple?

I personally have not heard any Muslim arguments alleging that the Trinity is too complex to understand, but Geisler and Turek certainly are trying to make that allegation. And it’s false. The problems with the Trinity are not due to complexity, but due to the fact that the doctrine makes several simple statements that are supposedly all true even though they plainly contradict one another.

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XFiles Friday: Is versus Has

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 13.)

It’s time to dig into the Trinity itself, and Geisler and Turek want us to know up front that we’re most certainly not dealing with an unreasonable dogma here.

Despite what some skeptics may say, the Trinity is not illogical or against reason. Saying that there is one God and three Gods would be illogical. But saying that there is one God who has three persons is not illogical. It may be beyond reason, but it’s not against reason.

Gotta love the bit where they say the Trinity is beyond reason rather than against reason. In other words, if trinitarians contradict themselves, that doesn’t mean they’re actually wrong, it just means we’re too stupid to figure out a way to resolve the contradiction. It’s an IOU for the rationalization they’d like to be able to come up with, but can’t. And God’s the one that’s supposed to pick up the tab!

G&T are partly correct: depending on how you define “God” and “person,” it might not necessarily be illogical to say that one God can have three persons. If God is a category, or a species, or an organization, He/They/It could have any number of persons as members. There is one humanity that has many persons, one Republican party that has many persons, and so on. The illogical stuff doesn’t kick in until you start trying to claim that this is anything other than frank polytheism.

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XFiles Friday: Yes and no

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 13.)

Gullibility is when you believe whatever people tell you even though common sense ought to expose their words as false because they conflict with reality and/or contradict themselves. This week, Geisler and Turek are going to tell us that Christianity contradicts itself, but we should believe whatever they tell us anyway.

[I]n Matthew 24:36, Jesus claims he doesn’t know the date of his own return when he declares, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Now how can Jesus be God if he… is limited in knowledge?

The answer… lies in a proper understanding of the Trinity. First, let’s state clearly what the Trinity is not: the Trinity is not three Gods, three modes of one God, or three divine essences. The Trinity is three persons in one divine essence. In other words, there are three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—who share one divine essence.

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XFiles Friday: Answering objections

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 13.)

Geisler and Turek have spent Chapter 13 trying to convince us that Jesus flat out claimed to be God, thus leaving us with no choice but to embrace him as Lord, or else to denounce him as a liar and/or lunatic. Their preferred response, of course, is to proclaim him as God, and today they take some time to deal with various objections to the deity of Christ.

The first objection they take up, ironically, is the question many skeptics ask: if Jesus is God, why didn’t he come right out and say so. Geisler and Turek have been trying to persuade us that Jesus did come right out and say so, but if that were the case, then the best answer to this question would be to simply quote the words of Jesus in which he directly said, “Yes, I am God the Son, second Person of the Trinity, eternal deity incarnate in the flesh of man.” But they can’t. So they give us four other answers instead, and the first one is rather a beaut.

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XFiles Friday: He who is without sin

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 13.)

It’s almost time for Geisler and Turek to do their “answering the critics” schtick, but before we get to that, there’s just one or two loose ends they’d like to tie up. According to G&T, Jesus proved his deity by “three unparalleled proofs,” namely fulfilled prophecy, a sinless life, and resurrection.

We’ve already given evidence regarding the messianic prophecies, Jesus’ miracles, and his resurrection. But what about the idea of Jesus being sinless? Jesus himself said, “Which one of you convicts Me of sin” (John 8:46, NASB)? Moreover, his disciples, who spent three years with him day and night, claimed that Jesus was sinless…

Because of course it would never have occurred to those disciples that their own authority was derived from Jesus’ perceived authority, and therefore it was in their own best interests to make Jesus sound as virtuous and authoritative as possible. Right?

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XFiles Friday: Liar, Lunatic or Liberal

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 13.)

Last time we looked at what Geisler and Turek called Jesus’ “indirect” claims to deity, a rather disappointing demonstration for the most part, with several of their key examples turning out muddled and self-contradictory, and even non-existent. This week, they try to offer some more practical examples of things Jesus allegedly did that only God could have done, followed by their ace in the hole: C. S. Lewis.

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XFiles Friday: The Indirect Deity

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 13.)

Last time we looked at what Geisler and Turek claimed were Jesus’ direct claims to be God. Considering that one of these “direct claims” consisted of Geisler and Turek asking themselves why Jesus was crucified if he didn’t claim to be God, I think it’s fair to say that they didn’t argue their case as well as they might have. But in any event, they (and we) are moving on to what they call Jesus’ “indirect” claims to deity.

By “indirect,” they mean that they, as apologists, have to work a bit harder to make Jesus’ words sound like claims to personal divinity. Jesus didn’t come right out and say, “Yes, I am God the Father, and you need to worship Me and no other person” (and if he had, that would be quite a problem for Trinitarians!), but according to Geisler and Turek, he left specially coded clues for Trinitarian Christians to ferret out and interpret. Let’s pick a representative sample, and have a look.

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XFiles “Friday”: Is Jesus God?

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 13.)

I may be a day late getting this posted, which is ironic considering how anxious Geisler and Turek were to get to this one question. Is Jesus God? Well, frankly no, but they’re going to try and make it sound like he is anyway.

As we have seen, the Old Testament predicts the coming of a Messiah who would be born a man but somehow be God as well (Isa. 9:6). Jesus is the only known person who meets the predicted qualifications of the Messiah. But did he claim to be God?

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