Monthly Archives: May 2011

Out of the “Office” this Week: Vacation to Gatlinburg, TN

My family and I are going on a vacation to beautiful Gatlinburg, TN this week.  We have three graduations in the family to celebrate–Aimee graduating with her master of fine arts, Rob with his bachelor’s degree, and Emily with a high school diploma.  I’m happy for all three!

Also, today is my sixth anniversary of being married to the best woman in the entire world, my wife–Jody Lynn Tucholski!  God has supplied the perfect mate for me to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of my life.  I’m very happy to share this crazy little life with her!

I don’t know if I’ll have Internet access while I’m down there.  So, it may be a while before I respond to comments or e-mail.  But I’ll get there, I promise.

Happy trails all, and congratulations to all members of the class of 2011, especially my amazing in-laws, Aimee, Rob, and Emily!

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On Harold Camping and the Rapture (May 21, 2011)

Harold Camping predicted that the Rapture will occur, with certainty, on May 21, 2011.  Well, it’s May 22, 2011, and we’re all still here.  Why?  Because Mr. Camping ignored Scripture to get where he did.

Chief among texts ignored by Mr. Camping was Matthew 24:36-44:

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.  For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

In other words, we simply don’t know when the Judgment is coming.  But, we can be assured in the words of Jesus that he will return.  Therefore, we should stay vigilant and live as though it could happen at any time.

But this gets better and better.  Mr. Camping arrived at the date using numerology, which  means he ignored the texts condemning sorcery, and Deuteronomy 4:19:

And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

Since Mr. Camping has ignored or rationalized so many Scriptures, then one more shouldn’t be a problem for him.  This next one is a doozy.  He now has to explain to us why, in light of Deuteronomy 18:20-22, that anyone should remain his follower:

“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, orwho speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.” And if you say in your heart, “How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?”— when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

Camping predicted the date of the Rapture, said it was a certainty, and it didn’t come to pass.  Therefore, he has met the biblical definition of a false prophet, and we need not pay him any mind.  Why should anyone continue listening to him?  I await his reply.

Did Anybody Do Anything Wrong? (User Poll)

I’m going to present two scenarios to you, and I would like to put to a vote which of the two scenarios should cost the counselor his job.  After I get some discussion, I’ll give you my take on the matter (in a future blog post): Read the rest of this entry

Fallacious Argument Against Homosexuality

Author of Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire, Jennifer Wright Knust has written an article on CNN’s Belief Blog that uses a really fallacious argument against the sin of homosexuality.  Several fallacious arguments, actually.

Okay, every argument she presents is fallacious, but I’m not going to get into that right now because I’m going to be reviewing her book in its entirety very shortly.  I need a break from atheism, so I thought I’d briefly turn to liberal Christianity.

The argument I wish to highlight is:

“I love gay people, but the Bible forces me to condemn them” is a poor excuse that attempts to avoid accountability by wrapping a very particular and narrow interpretation of a few biblical passages in a cloak of divinely inspired respectability.

You may as well say “I love murderers, but the Bible forces me to condemn them.”  “I love liars, but the Bible forces me to condemn them.”  “I love rapists, but the Bible forces me to condemn them.”  The Bible doesn’t force you to condemn anyone; the fact that what they are doing is against God and nature is why you condemn them.  Not every single human behavior is (or should be) acceptable.

No, the Bible has specific reasons for condemning homosexuality.  (Bookmark that article; I’ll be referring to it throughout my review of Dr. Knust’s book.)

The hole?  The argument assumes that homosexuality is natural, perhaps even desirable.  But, history tells us that is not the case.  Few (if any) cultures accepted homosexuality.  Some turned a blind eye (the Greeks and the Romans, for example, “trained” young men by letting an older man “adopt” him and do sexual things to him), but it wasn’t just “normal” in any but the most depraved societies.  Marriage has always been between the sexes, a man to a woman (or sometimes man to women or woman to men).

If Dr. Knust wants homosexuality to be okay, she has to prove that it is.  Her argument is just another reason why Christians can’t have a meaningful debate about homosexuality.  We’re just backwards bigots, don’t you know?

An Interesting Philosophical Conundrum

The Christian band Texas in July is going on tour with numerous other acts to raise money for a website called sexetc.org.  According to Bryan Kemper, this website is staunchly pro-abortion despite purporting to present a “balanced view.”  In fact, it only provides links to organizations that encourage abortions, and derides pro-life organizations in blanket statements.

Basically, the site promotes values contrary to Christianity and shouldn’t be supported by persons who call themselves Christians.  Yet, Texas in July is a very vocal supporter.

A commenter to Kemper’s article, Jordan W., raises an interesting philosophical question:

As if any of you -author included- knows what’s best for the band. It’s pretty clear that this tour is serving the purpose of getting their name out there and promoting One Reality. I love this band, and I am a faithful Christian as well. Who are we to judge what they do? If you want to actually support the band, support them by going to shows.

Need I remind you that August Burns Red went on this exact tour with The Human Abstract a few years back? Cmon now, be supportive and quit your judging.

Kemper didn’t even touch on a philosophical response to what was raised here, but I wish he would have.  He talked about the practical implications, responding that Texas in July was actually raising funds for sexetc.org, where the other Christian bands mentioned weren’t specifically doing that.  Jordan kept up the “Stop judging!” reply, which isn’t really what Kemper was doing.  He was, as he put it, “It is not about being offended, it is about calling out an injustice.”

But, the broader and more philosophical question not pondered is, “Can I do what’s best for me, even if it spits on the face of the God I claim to serve?” Read the rest of this entry

Is the Problem Upper Management or the Supervisors?

In a recent blog post, James Swan spoke of a young child who was denied a First Communion because he didn’t understand what it meant.  Swan says that’s ridiculous, since 70% of Roman Catholics don’t understand Communion.  He says that this is problem of the Magisterium (upper management).

Is it?

I don’t think so, not for a second.  Upper management, in the case of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope and the Magisterium, have taught consistently what Communion is and what it means.  I was taught, in second grade, about transubstantiation.  This should be taught today in all of the churches.

I don’t know if it is, and with good reason.  I was taught in a Catholic school that homosexuality is perfectly normal and masturbation is a natural part of growing up and those that do it shouldn’t be ashamed in the least.  One of my teachers even recommended Playboy as the porno mag that we should look at if we were curious.

Our religion books never referred to the First Person of the Trinity as “the Father” or by the male pronoun.  One of the more astute students asked our teacher why, and the teacher (different than the one above) told us that God was neither male nor female, and thus shouldn’t be referred to or thought of in those terms.

Official Catholic teachings?  Nope.  Not in the least.  The Catholic Church has always taught that homosexuality is a sin, that masturbation is “intrinsically disordered,” and that the First Person of the Trinity is God the Father.

So, if the teachings on sexuality and conception of God were really far off, then it isn’t much of a stretch to imagine that the teachings on the Eucharist were equally appalling.  This isn’t a function of upper management, as Swan accuses, but of the folks in the trenches who are teaching people contrary to official Catholic teachings.

Yes, I just defended the Roman Catholic Church.  Move along.  Nothing more to see, here!

Back on YouTube!

When I saw this video from my now not-so-secret YouTube crush, Angie the Anti-theist, I wanted to respond because it touched on issues that I have dealt with in conversations with another atheist on Twitter.

Exposure to culture, in this case a song like “All Bees go to Heaven,” isn’t the same as indoctrination.  Indoctrination is forced acceptance of a particular viewpoint, through various brainwashing tactics.  Mere exposure to heaven in a song doesn’t mean that you’re indoctrinating the poor lad to believe in Christianity.

Here’s the video:

Twitter Facepalm: @biblealsosays

I’ve been engaging a Twitter “twit” who goes by @biblealsosays.  In one of our conversations, he insisted that he knew the Bible better than any Christian, especially me.

After reading a recent tweet from him, I respond (with all due respect to Brian Van Hoose): “You are wrong, now let me tell you why!”

The tweet in question:

https://twitter.com/#!/BibleAlsoSays/status/64852405308768256

How could Billy Graham possibly know that?  Likely, Billy read this:

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Cor 15:35-49)

That’s pretty clear.  And it’s in the Bible that @biblealsosays insists he knows better than Christians like Billy Graham!  The Bible unequivocally states that, in the Resurrection, we will receive new bodies–bodies that aren’t corrupted by sin like the ones we wear now.

So, kids, our lesson today is as follows: “Please read carefully that which you wish to criticize.  Otherwise, you run the risk of looking really stupid.”  Class dismissed.